Slovenska cesta: Emonski FORUM / The Roman Forum

Srce vsakega rimskega mesta je bil forum (mestni trg), ki je bil osrednji kraj za trgovanje, obenem pa tudi versko in upravno središče. Na forumu so lahko prebivalci Emone in obiskovalci opravljali daritve v templju, se udeleževali javnih shodov, tu so se srečevali člani mestnega sveta, na tem mestu sta stala arhiv in mestna zakladnica ter številne trgovinice in lokali. Na forumu je bilo mogoče videti tudi kipe cesarjev in pomembnih emonskih meščanov, vsem na ogled pa so bili postavljeni tudi državni zakoni.

Del izkopavanj, ki ga bomo v naših predstavitvah imenovali “FORUM”, predstavlja ograjeno območje med Gregorčičevo ulico in Rimsko cesto. V obdobju antične Emone je bil to prostor, na katerem se je cardo maximus (glavna povezava v smeri sever-jug) dotikal vzhodnega roba foruma in vodil do križišča z glavno mestno ulico, decumanus maximus. Sam forum je bil v preteklosti že deloma raziskan, v Jakopičevi galeriji pa si je možno ogledati del temeljev bazilike in rotunde, ki ju je v šestdesetih letih prešnjega stoletja raziskovala dr. Ljudmila Plesničar Gec.

Tako kot že prejšnja dva dela, CARDO MAXIMUS in DECUMANUS, je bil tudi del FORUM do neke mere podvržen sodobnim uničenjem. Na srečo je večji del ostal nedotaknjen in tu smo pod sodobnimi nasutji odkrili plasti, ki razkrivajo, kaj se je na tem prostoru dogajalo v srednjem in novem veku. Najprej smo naleteli na novoveško cesto, ki je sicer potekala po isti trasi kot današnja Slovenska cesta, a je bila od nje precej ožja. Pod cesto smo odkrili njivske površine, ki jih lahko pripišemo srednjeveški in zgodnjenovoveški Ljubljani. Pod “temno plastjo”, ki je vezana na stoletja propadanja rimskega mesta, smo odkrili najmlajše plasti Emone: del stavbe, ki je že spadala k forumu, in del ulice cardo maximus.

Kljub temu, da je bil odkrit le manjši del stavbe znotraj insule, vemo, da je imela na tem delu okrasni tlak iz zbite malte in drobcev opeke. Zid, s katerim je stavba mejila na ulico, je bil zgrajen v zadnjih obnovah forumskega prostora. Takrat je bila zgrajena tudi stopnica, ki je s ceste omogočala dostop do foruma. S tem, ko so zgradili zid, so spremenili izgled prostora med arkadami, ki so potekale ob cesti. Pod arkadami je bil prostor za pešce, ob robu pa so se nizale trgovinice in lokali.

Prostor se je skozi stoletja kar precej spreminjal. Tam kjer so bile kasneje arkade, so prej stale lesene stavbe. Zaenkrat še ni jasno, kaj je bil njihov namen, gotovo pa so bile povezane s forumskim prostorom. Ob teh stavbah je potekal zunanji pločnik za pešce, ob njem sta ležala obcestni jarek in cesta iz zbitega proda. Nenavadno odkritje zadnjih dni je tudi debela plast malte, ki se je pokazala med sloji rimskih cestišč. Posebej zanimivo je dejstvo, da so se v njej ohranili drobci lesa. Plast je najbrž povezana z večjimi gradbenimi deli na forumu ali v okolici, ko je območje ceste nekaj časa delovalo kot gradbišče. Poleg malte smo na tem področju namreč odkrili kupe kamenja, mivke in gline, ki so jo uporabili za tlake.

V prihodnjih dneh pričakujemo odgovore na vprašanje, zakaj so se plasti cestišča na nekaterih delih tako pogreznile, da so nastale prave luknje. Gotovo so razlog različne starejše jame, ki so bile kasneje prekrite in pozabljene, a so emonski komunali vedno znova povzročale preglavice zaradi posedanja cestišča. Kaj več o tem v naslednjem poročanju, še prej pa sledi poročilo iz novega dela, imenovanega DECUMANUS MAXIMUS.


The heart of every Roman city was a forum (a town square), which was a focal location for trading, as well as the religious and administrative centre of the city. The inhabitants of Emona and its visitors could perform offering rituals in the temple and visit public meetings. Furthermore, the members of the city council would meet in the forum, where the city’s archives and treasures were situated. The forum also contained statues of emperors and important citizens of Emona, and state laws were displayed there for everyone to see.

The part of our excavations referred to as “FORUM” in our weekly reports, represents a fenced area between the “Gregorčičeva ulica” street and “Rimska cesta” street (“the Roman road”). In antiquity this was an area where the cardo maximus (the main connection in the North-South direction) passed next to the eastern part of the forum and led to the crossroads with the main city street, decumanus maximus. The forum itself had already been partly excavated in the past. The foundations of basilica and rotunda, the two Roman public buildings excavated in 1960 by Dr. Ljudmila Plesničar Gec, are partly presented in the “Jakopič Gallery”.

Similarly to the two previous parts, CARDO MAXIMUS and DECUMANUS, the FORUM part was also partly damaged when modern and early modern infrastructure was set. Luckily, most of the archaeological layers remained intact allowing for the discovery of layers which reveal the use of this space in the Mediaeval and early modern periods. First we discovered a road from the Early Modern Period, which had the same course as “Slovenska cesta” street, but was narrower than its modern day successor. Under this road we discovered fields from the Mediaeval and Early Modern Period Ljubljana. Finally, under the so-called “dark soil”, formed in the centuries after the Roman city was abandoned, we found remains of the final period of Emona: a part of a building connected with the forum and a part of the cardo maximus street.

Even though we only discovered a smaller part of the building inside the insula, we know it had a decorative floor (terrazzo), made of mortar and pieces of orange bricks. A wall of the building that represented the border between the building and the street was built during the last renovation of the forum area. At that time a step, which enabled people to access the forum from the street, was also built. The construction of the wall significantly changed the appearance of the area under the arcades running along the street. Under the arcades there was an area for pedestrians, and at its edge shops and taverns were stretched out.

The area changed significantly throughout the centuries. Where the arcades were built in the later periods, wooden buildings first stood. The purpose of these buildings still remains unclear, however they were certainly connected with the forum. The outer pavement for pedestrians lay next to these buildings, alongside the road ditch and the road of solid river pebbles next to it. An unusual discovery of the last few days was also a thick layer of mortar found under the layers of Roman roads. The fact that pieces of wood were preserved in the mortar is especially interesting. This layer was probably connected with some major construction works on the forum or in its vicinity, and the area of the road functioned as a construction site at least for a shorter period. Apart from the mortar we also found piles of stones, sand and clay, which were used as a building material.

Searching for the lost objects on the oldest road which was later turned into a construction site (a thick white layer in the cross-section of the layers in the back). After the construction works were finished, a road was established in the same area. The course of the road remained the same, but many renovations took place. The dark layer with bigger stones in the cross-section represents the so-called “dark soil”, while the brighter layer above it represents fields from the Mediaeval and Early Modern Periods.

In the following days we expect to answer some of the most intriguing questions, such as why the layers of the road sunk so much in certain parts and caused the formation of big holes. We are almost certain that the reason were different older pits, which were eventually covered and forgotten, ultimately causing many problems to Emona’s public utility. More about the discoveries from this part in the next report, but first there will be a report from the new part, called decumanus maximus.

avtor: J. Furlan