Municipium Dardanorum

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Roman Period sites in Kosovo
Dardania in Moesia Superior

Coordinates: 43°3′17″N 20°48′36″E / 43.05472°N 20.81000°E / 43.05472; 20.81000 Part of a series of articles upon Archaeology of Kosovo

Municipium Dardanorum[1] or Municipium Dardanicum[2] was a Roman mining town whose life lasted from the 2nd to the 4th century AD, that was connected with the workings of (Metalla Dardanica[2]). Its remains are situated in the northern part of Kosovo, located approximately 27 kilometres north of Mitrovica, about 65 km northeast of Ulpiana in the Municipality of Leposavic, localized in the village of Sočanica in the province of Moesia Superior, later the Roman province of Dardania.


The site is positioned in an excellent geographical place, set between the Ibër and Socanica river flows on one side, and surrounded by Rogozna and Kopaonik mountains on the other side. The surrounding zone used to be rich in precious metals (gold and silver), therefore, due to these natural resources, the occupancy grew from a small settlement to one of the most important ancient urban centers, very active during the Roman rule. When consulting the written sources and the ancient literature, or even the Roman itineraries, there is not even one written word in regard to this sites' existence. Nevertheless, the settlements' ancient occupation was evidenced due to the systematic research and investigations, carried out in 1960-1961 and 1963-1965. Archaeological excavations, carried out in the eastern part of the settlement, where, a Roman Forum, horrea, urban basilica, features of the Roman bath, details of auxiliary objects and the northern necropolis, were discovered. The discovered archaeological material, the overall results, clearly indicate and illustrate the fact that, the Municipium DD, primarily existed as a prehistoric settlement, continued to develop and change to become a typical ancient Roman town during the period from the last decades of the 1st century, until the first part of the 4th century AD. The settlement had all characteristics of a Roman town. The site stretches in approximately 30 hectares.[3]


The most significant structure of the central part of the town is the Forum. It is a rectangular area oriented north-south, its size is 38x25 meters bounded on the east and west side with a row of seven pillars. To the east and west of the forum two rectangular spaces are built, almost identical in size and construction method. These buildings have two entrances. In the northern part of the Forum, around the middle, between the side rooms, on a raised platform of 1.10 meters, is an important temple dedicated to Antinous, the early deceased lover of the Emperor Hadrian. After the death of Hadrian traces that resemble Antinous were erased, and only by sifting through the construction rubble was found a plaque with an inscription dedicated to Hadrian, which shows that the temple in the Forum was built in the period between 136 and 138 AD.

South of the Forum, on a surface of 880 m2 were discovered remains of a basilica measuring 55.00x16.50 meters. The function of the basilica was closely associated with the Forum for it is known that it was used for storage of the products of lead and precious metal excavated at nearby mines at Mount Kopaonik and Rogozna. In the basilica trade and economic activities and transactions, as well as other activities were performed. In the immediate vicinity of the river Ibër was a Roman stone bridge connecting the Municipium DD to Rogozna and the mines on the mountain. The remains of the stone pillars and the bridge are now well recognizable, especially in the middle of the vortex.[4]

The settlement of Municipium DD experienced a revival in the 3rd century AD, at the time of the rule of Diocletian, when he redesigned the Forum, build the basilica, erected a small bath and a range of other facilities, but the life settlement did not last long - a hundred years later Municipium DD loses its significance and disappears from the historical stage.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pannonia and Upper Moesia
  2. ^ a b The Illyrians by J. J. Wilkes, 1992, ISBN 0-631-19807-5, p. 258,"In the south the new city named municipium Dardanicum, was another 'mining town' connected with the local workings (Metalla Dardanica)."
  3. ^ Milot Berisha, Kosovo Archaeological Guide,Prishtinë, Kosovo Archaeological Institute and Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, 2012, Pg.61.
  4. ^ Emil Cerskov, Municipium DD kod Socanice (Dissertationes et monographiae), Museum of Kosovo, Archaeological Society of Yugoslavia, Prishtine-Belgrade, 1970.