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Archaeologists gather to discuss emperor’s triumphant monument

The first international symposium at the ancient Roman city of Nicopolis, which took place 18 years ago, was significant for its time, but was confined to bibliographical data. Since then, something has happened to jolt the chronic indifference of the Culture Ministry. Services have gone into action, Nicopolis has become a ministry priority, excavations have begun and the first plans to highlight its monuments have been made. The project has been included in the management fund which deals with major projects, and a special committee has been formed to supervise it. The people of Preveza have become aware of the archaeological wealth they possess, and the number of visitors to the archaeological site has increased. The thousands of finds are a hopeful message in themselves. «We have nowhere to put them all. There are thousands of potsherds alone,» Constantinos Zachos, head of the 12th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and chairman of the Nicopolis Committee, told Kathimerini. «Archaeological research has produced lots of information about the historical development of ancient Nicopolis, new facts about its town planning and art. For instance, we found Roman mosaics and also some remarkable Christian mosaics.» These findings made the second international symposium on Nicopolis, which took place last week, September 11-15, not only interesting but significant. «We’re presenting all the new evidence from the excavations, from Nicopolis’s relations with the rest of the world in late antiquity to its culture, as recorded in works such as architectonic sculpture. Some impressive sculptures have been found, as well as interesting ceramics, and lamps that are being shown for the first time,» Zachos said, prior to the symposium. Currently under way are a series of projects to restore the monuments and research to promote knowledge of Nicopolis. The city was founded by Octavian after his triumph in the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and decisive defeat of his opponents, Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Nicopolis, the city of Nike, or Victory, developed over the next 10 centuries into the leading urban center in northwestern Greece. Fifty archaeologists from Greece and other European countries attended the five-day symposium, shedding light on the secrets and treasures of the immense ruins which have been uncovered in recent years. Consumer boycott