V. Ivanisevic 1 / V. Zdravkovic 2 / M. Urosevic 2
(1 Archaeology Institute, Belgrade, Serbia / 2 AVAKUM, Belgrade, Serbia)

Caricin Grad lies on the gentle slopes that descend from Mount Radan towards the Leskovac Basin in a place that is far from the main travelling routes. This is one of the basic reasons why it was not until the end of the XIX century that news was first published about the important remains of a city, lost in the valley of the “Pusta reka”, where the regional borders of three cities meet – Niš, Leskovac and Priština.
The remains of Justiniana Prima, first captured the interest of scholars after the first archeological excavations began, on the eve of the Balkan Wars, in 1912.
The Byzantine emperor, Justinian I (527-565), is believed to have erected it in the vicinity of his birthplace, while he attributed its disappearance from the historical scene to the time of Heraclius (610-641) and the raids of the Slavic tribes.
Wars and economic problems in the fledgling state prevented further archeological research and it was not until 1936 that research was resumed, and it lasted until 1940.
Works resumed in 1947 and archeologists went on with excavation right until 1970 under the supervision of Djordje Mano-Zisi. Throughout this long period the plan of showing the earlier discovered buildings was completed and they were linked up into an architectural whole. A new program commenced in 1975 under the supervision of Vladimir Kondic and Vladislav Popovic. Soon, by 1978, a new program of works was launched and cooperation was established between French and Serbian experts, headed by Noel Duval, Vladislav Popovic, Jean-Michel Spizer and Vladimir Kondic.
In the first stage of cooperation in the period between 1978 and 1984, research was divided into two archeological programs. The first dealt research of the sacral architecture – the Episcopal basilica and its precincts, as well as other churches discovered in the previous decades. The other program focused on research of new, secular monuments. At the aforesaid site a complex was unearthed that was believed to be the headquarters of the military commander – the principia. From 1981 to 1984, a new program of excavations started, aimed at examining the residential area of the city. Before archeological excavations commenced, the team, led by Alain Kermovran carried out electro-magnetic tests in the southern part of the Lower Town, in order to choose a suitable location to start digging. They examined the plateau on the southern approach to the city, as well as the eastern slopes beneath the eastern rampart of the Lower and Middle Town. The first excavations began in the settlement in the Lower Town under the supervision of Jean Michel Spiser and Vladimir Kondic in 1981. These works lasted right until 1990. Work resumed in 1997 with new supervisors, Bernard Bavant and Vujadin Ivaniševic. The new team updated the program to include research that encompassed the entire area of the southwestern part of the Lower Town, with its fortifications – the southern and western ramparts, the southern gate, porticos, a street, the aqueduct. The northern limit has still not been found, which was most probably defined by the position of the large water tank, standing opposite the basilica with the transept.
Besides the program of intense archeological research in 1997, a sub-project was launched which consisted of publishing all archeological finds, including coins from Caricin Grad.
Parallel to the aforesaid projects in collaboration with V. Zdravkovic and M. Uroševic a project was launched under the heading “Computer 3D modeling and presentation of the locality – CARICIN GRAD – JUSTINIANA PRIMA”.