APVLVM (nowadays Alba Iulia, Romania ) had an extraordinary urban development and a complex history, having a favorable geographic, economic and commercial position (near the ancient Marisos River – nowadays Mures River), close to the auriferous region Alburnus Maior, in Apuseni Mountains, and on the line of the imperial road which connected the capital of the province (Colonia Ulpia Traiana Dacica Augusta Sarmizegetusa ) with the other cities from the interior of the Carpathian arch.
The roman life in Apvlvm is connected with the permanent presence of the XIIIth Legion Gemina (106 – 275 A.D.) which build a fort on the third terrace of the Mures River.
The southern gate of the XIIIth Legion Gemina’s fort – porta principalis dextra – represents the most important archaeological attraction from the Roman period. After the first excavations from 1984-1985 it was systematically researched between 1994-2002. The entrance belong to the double-gates type, with a middle pillar and flanked by towers. The gate was partially reconstructed and included in the circuit of The Route of The Three Fortifications.
The most important aspect is the urban duality of this Roman centre. For the IInd and IIIrd centuries A.D., the epigraphically and archaeological evidence, attested two settlements (conventionally named Apvlvm I and Apvlvm II).
Apvlvm I was initially a vicus in the territory of Colonia Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa and under Marcus Aurelius (after 160 A.D) became a Municipium Avrelium Apvlense. During Commodus (180-192) the municipium received the important urban statute of Colonia Aurelia Apvlensis.
VOTIVE STATUE OF LIBER PATER DISCOVERED IN COLONIA AVRELIA APVLENSIS (IIIrd century A.D.)
Apvlvm II – around the legionary fort developed the civil settlement – cannabae Legionis XIII Geminae – which will evolve at their turn towards the vrbs statute, becoming under Septimius Severus (193-211 A.D.) a municipim Septimum Apulense.
During Roman period in Apvlvm was placed the headquarters of the province governor – Praetorium consularis Daciarum Trium. The old excavations of A. Cserni began in 1888 and led to the discovery of Roman baths and public buildings belonging to the praetorium. The current archaeological research in the area were held in 1992-1994, 1996-2001, 2003, 2007-2010 and confirmed the existence of the governor buildings.
In Apvlvm were attested both funerary rites, cremation and inhumation, in two necropolis. The Roman necropolis from Dealul Furcilor – Podei is situated on the southern side of the Roman fort, between the two towns. Untill present, during the archaeological researches (rescue excavations mostly) were discovered over 500 Roman graves from the IInd and IIIrd centuries A.D. The necropolis from Statia de Salvare is located on the northwestern part of the civil settlement of the XIIth Legion Gemina’s fort.
© Discover Urban Archaeology! Apvlvm 2007 – Exhibition Catalogue, Alba Iulia, 2008.
A Small Copy of Rome. The Urban Centre Apvlvm (Alba Iulia), V. Moga, Alba Iulia 2009.