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Archeological Locality Vardarski Rid (Vardar Hill) – Gevgelija

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With its position and configuration, Vardarski Rid (The Vardar Hill) really fits the needs of settlement life in almost all prehistoric and ancient periods.

Thus, the higher Hill that is rising dominantly above the plain and the Vardar bed, easily defendable, with steep rocky slopes and a protected approach to the Vardar waters, represents an ideal point for pre-historic settlement since the metal ages. On the other hand, the lower Hill that is rising mildly with sufficient area and in direct relation to a possible road line in its lowest part is fulfilling all conditions for the development of an urban settlement since early historic periods.

The oldest findings from Vardarski Rid (The Vardar Hill) have been incidentally discovered. They witness life during the neolith on a limited space in the lowest southern terrace. The beginning of the continual life is connected with the eastern sides of the Hill. Remains of a settlement have been discovered dating from the very end of the Bronze Age.  In any case, it could be considered documented that the Hill was the location for the initial prehistoric settlement from which in the centuries to come during the whole 1st millennium before Christ, successive settlements will develop and expand. From them also sprang the last historically witnessed old Macedonian town, which existed before the coming of the Romans and the Roman occupation from Macedonia. The cultural layers from the following settlement from the early Iron Age and the first centuries in the first millennium B.C., have been found both on the eastern slope of the Hill and on the valley between the two hills. The following settlement from the mature Iron Age was spread widest. Layers with rich cultural content from the VIII to the VI century B.C. have been discovered over the whole site’s area, on the two hills and the passage between them.

In the following centuries (V-IV century B.C.), with the gradual increase of the role of the Lower Vardar valley or Amfaxitidis the neighboring city centers north from the capital are also developing, down the Vardar Valley, such as: Evropos, Atalante, Gortinija. One of these towns was undoubtedly located on Vardarski Rid.

The remains of this town on Vardarski Rid are concentrated mainly on the Hill. Although taking a lesser space than the previous Iron Age settlement, the discovered buildings and their interior document an economically and culturally strong settlement with all the characteristics of urban life. The great town Stoa, separate works of art and the circulation of different coins at the end of the V and IV century B.C. are the best illustration for that. During the 3rd and 2nd century B.C., the next Macedonian town in line developed and spread over the whole area of Vardarski Rid. On top of the ruins of the older settlement a new urbanized town arose, under new criteria and with different relations, which enabled a fast economic and spatial growth. Numerous buildings have been discovered from this settlement - whole urban town blocks and a rich archaeological material. A special place is taken by around 500 coins from all Macedonian rulers and minting places, from Antigon Gonat to the first Roman coins, which have been discovered in almost all excavated buildings. The life in this town had abruptly ended somewhere around the middle of the 2nd century B.C. and was never more renewed. Many centuries later, during the 12-13 century, on the South Terrace, in the rummages of the pre-Roman settlement on Vardarski Rid , skeleton graves from the Middle Age have been discovered to have been dug in.

Some separate interventions happened on the site in the following centuries, as well, at the time of the Turkish dominion over Macedonia and during the 20th century, until modern times. Over the past two decades, Vardarski Rid has become a picnicking spot, featuring access paths, a large car park, camping site and motel. The camping site is currently not in use. That is where, on the Eastern terrace, the most intensive systematic research is being performed.

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