The interdisciplinary project Frontier Studies. Investigation into identity and cultural contacts in the border area of ancient Macedonia is concerned with the formation and institutionalization of identity in Antiquity in the context of cultural interaction in geographically sensitive regions. The case study focuses on the region of the Ochrid Lake which extends across the borders of modern day Albania, Greece and Northern Macedonia. This region was a crossroad on the borders of the Ancient Greece since the prehistory, where cultural transfers flowed to Central Europe (including Christian missionaries to Great Moravia). Due to the past armed conflicts in the Balkans and difficult economic situation the area was not systematically examined in the past 25 years. Only few older and random archaeological finds can give us a glimpse of the complexity of the cultural contacts and transfers in the past. Among the most important are tombs at Trebenishte and Ohrid (7th-5th c. BCE) featuring golden masks and imported funerary goods, similar to the finds from Macedonia in the time before Alexander the Great. Later Roman finds further attest continuation of the multicultural communities in the region that was traversed by the famous Via Egnatia, that connected southern Italy with the Black Sea and later with Constantinople since the 1st c. BCE until the Late Antiquity.
The archaeological investigations that started in 2017 encompass field survey of local archaeological, architectural and epigraphical monuments. For the second phase of the project intensive survey and prospections of the selected archaeological sites will be supplemented by geoarchaeological research intended to shed light on the historical developments and to reconstruct the ancient landscape.
The project is undertaken with cooperation with the National Archaeological Museum in Skopje, Northern Macedonia and the Commission for Ancient History and Epigraphy of the German Archaeological Institute in Munich, Germany.
Dr. Marek Verčík, ÚKAR
Mgr. Petra Tušlová, PhD, ÚKAR
Pero Ardjanliev, M.A., Skopje
Dr. Saskia Kerschbaum, AEK DAI