Previous research on the site
Further to initial research undertaken by A. Keramopoullos and D. Samsaris, mostly consisting on epigraphic finds or small-scale rescue excavations, the sole truly significant excavation in the area, which furthered the study of its topography in a substantial way, was the excavation undertaken by Thanasis Papazotos (ADelt 43, 1988 [Meletai] 195ff). Digging a number of Early Christian basilicas and parts of the city's fortification, Papazotos was able to identify the archaeological site in the outskirts of Argos Orestikon with a city known as Diokletianoupolis, which apparently was situated in the area before the Emperor Justinian moved it to a more suitable site (see also, A.S. Petkos, Diokletianoupolis: Guide to the Site, Veroia 2008). Papazotos himself discovered on the nearby site of Paravela a building, safely datable to the time prior to the reign of Emperor Diocletian. The building, though dug by Papazotos in exemplary fashion, has never been published and has not been duly incorporated into accounts on the area, even though it could shed light to some crucial questions.
The building preserves only scant traces of its groundplan, owing to its fragile make and the fact that in the Early Christian period it was replaced by the so-called "Basilica C" and a burial monument. The Roman building consists of two rectangular parts: one is an atrium (52,40 × 33,20 m.), furnished with a portico along (presumambly) its four sides. The other space is smaller (17,60 × 12 m.), adjacent to the NW side of the atrium. Its long sides are lined with built benches and a semi-circular niche along the NW wall. The remains of a built base originally carrying a life-size statue were found inside the niche; its only surviving piece so far is a marble fragment of a left hand holding a laurell branch - presumably an Apollo - found in front of the base.