The Episcopal Complex at Golemo Gradište, Konjuh, North Macedonia
The Balkan Heritage Foundation and the Department of Archaeology at New Bulgarian University organized the BEMA Online Seminar in Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology on Saturday, March 04, 2023. Guest lecturer Dr. Carolyn S. Snively (Professor Emeritus of the Department of Classics at Gettysburg College and Co-director of the Konjuh Archaeological Project), presented on the following topic: “The Episcopal Complex at Golemo Gradište, Konjuh, North Macedonia”
The site of Golemo Gradište is located in the territory of the village of Konjuh, in the Republic of North Macedonia. In Late Antiquity, the anonymous city stood in the province of Dardania.
The site consists of three main parts: the northern terrace, the acropolis ridge, and an uninvestigated space south of the acropolis. Excavations since 2005 have focused on the northern terrace of the site. The episcopal complex stood there, centrally located within the lower town. It included three buildings, the basilica with baptistery, the northern residence, and the square building that later connected the first two.
The Northern Residence was a peristyle house, rare in the 6 th century. The finds included numerous pithoi and other pottery vessels as well as agricultural implements. Two rooms within the residence served as shops or workshops; other rooms attached to the residence indicate a commercial function as well.
The Episcopal Basilica, dated to the mid-6 th century, appears to be a fairly standard three-aisle basilica, with apse, narthex, a baptistry and associated rooms at the south, and other annexes at west and north. Unusual features, however, include a kyklion in the apse, a very large presbyterium, two ambos, barriers between nave and aisles, and an unidentified horseshoe-shaped structure in the nave.
The square building that connected residence and basilica, perhaps constructed in the early 7 th century, provided an atrium and main entrance to the basilica. The series of rooms along its east and west sides, with the exception of a kitchen, were stripped of furnishings and abandoned, leaving their function and that of the square building unknown.
Although medieval material has been identified at the site, and a literary source describes a town there in the third quarter of the 14 th century, the Late Antique settlement was apparently abandoned and destroyed in the 7 the century.