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Viminacium - City Reborn Open Access

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AbstractThis paper proposes the creation and design of a visitor center at the Viminacium archeological site in Southeastern Europe, present day Serbia. Viminacium was a major urban and a military center from the Roman era; at the height of its development, it had a population of over thirty thousand inhabitants, making it one of the largest cities in the Empire. A comparable city today would have more than a million inhabitants.Although parts of the Viminacium archeological site were discovered almost two centuries ago, extensive excavations began relatively recently - about two decades ago, and have been ongoing ever since. The excavations yielded an extensive array of artifacts and information that accumulated on site and in the local museums in recent years. As the excavations progressed, so did the interest in Viminacium. Thus, there is a clear need for a visitor center that will act as the anchor point for the entire archeological site. The proposed center would enable visitors to receive and take part in a uniquely tactile experience of life in a reborn Roman city.The analysis presented in this paper is based on extensive research of Roman urban centers, both on the Apennine peninsula and in the provinces. This research was supplemented by research of cultural, social and anthropological characteristics of Roman society and its citizens. Furthermore, an extensive research of visitor centers on major archeological sites from this era was conducted. The research focused on reviews of major historical and archeological books, scientific and research papers, site visits and interviews. The analysis and gathered data suggest that a truly engaging, interactive visitor center should attempt to reconstruct and vividly recreate all aspects of life in a Roman city, with special attention paid to the everyday life of its citizens. Therefore, through a variety of content offered by the center the Vimiancium visitors of today would effectively become the Viminacium residents of the past. The center should differentiate from other similar centers by focusing less on public history, marked by politics, decisive battles and emperors, and more on lesser known private history - culture, customs and life of Viminacium's ordinary citizens. The Viminacium Domus developed in the proposed manner should significantly increase the interest in Viminacium as one of the most attractive archeological finds from the Roman era in Serbia and Southeastern part of Europe. The lost city of Pompeii today has more than two million visitors annually. Thus, a well-organized, multi-functional visitor, cultural and knowledge center effectively becomes a condititio sinne qua non (an essential condition) for the future development of this new European and world cultural treasure.

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