Doclea excavations have started in the second half of the nineteenth century. Publishing of so called “a glass of Podgorica” in 1873 brought a great interest of European scientific audience. The glass was found somewhere on Doclea site, most likely in a tomb of west necropolis nearby Lovište. This glass, or to be more precise a glass plate with engraved early Christian illustrations, was redeemed by collector Vasiljevski. With the rest of his rich collection the glass plate got into a prominent museum of Saint Petersburg – Ermitazh, and it is still kept there.
The first description of the town and its necropolis was given by French consul Priko de Sent-Meri after he visited Doclea in 1879. In his report, apart from architecture description, he depicts around thirty tumuli that can be found within town walls. After his descriptions, F.Saski made first map of the town in 1882. The first archaeological excavations on Doclea site were led by Pavle Rovinski, in five campaigns from 1890 – 1892, ordered and supported by king Nikola I. The greater part of the town was explored. The plan of Rovinski was to begin with archaeological excavations along the main street decumanus by starting from the main gate on the west, so he could explore the most significant buildings of ancient Doclea. J.A.R. Munro, and his English team of archaeologists continues the research in 1893. They discover early Christian complex and Middle Ages church in the eastern part of the town. As a synthesis of these excavations and perceptions on the site, Piero Sticoti publishes the most comprehensive monography about Doclea Die römischen Stadt Doclea in Montenegro in Vienna, 1913. These researches described the beginnings of archaeology in Montenegro.
The researches continued after World War II from 1954 to 1962, when the main focus was on necropolis research and revisionary excavation of the town’s architecture. During these excavations, so called southest necropolis was examined which dates from the beginning of the first century to mid forth century. The west necropolis dates during forth and fifth century. A large number of artifacts found in the tombs (Now kept in the Museum of Podgorica) tell about the wealth and intensive cultural and trade relationships between Doclea and the rest of the Roman empire. After necropolis research the book Ancient Doclea – Necropolis was published.
Inside the town areal during the postwar period, the revisional excavations were done, reexamination of the forum, civil basilica, thermae and early Cristian buildings. The results of these researches are still not completely available.
In the recent years, the archaeological excavations on Doclea site were led by PI Museums and Galleries of Podgorica. This organization led excavations of a smaller scope in 2005. Excavations of a larger scope happened from 2009 to 2011.
The theme of archaeological excavations is headed towards so called object IX, which is situated on the east of the forum, nearby the main street- decumanus, on its north side. In 2005 campaign, the works have been focused on the square net which is put in parallel with the street, by digging square against the square, dimensions 5x5m (chess positions). The work on the object IX was continued in 2009 when it was assumed that the object represents temple complex which used to be in the center of the town and had the exit way towards the main street. Since the rooms within the object were treated like units, the excavations on the square net were withdrawn. The conservation of the walls was finished during the same year. The following excavations in 2010, had the target to reveal entirely the temple’s cella and to finish digging of the room 3-IX that was initiated years ago. In the area of temple’s cella, the floor construction with mosaic remains was discovered; in the atrium – paved rock slabs with sewage chambers; in room 3-IX the remains of late ancient workshops for metal and glass product manufacture. This campaign prospered in getting most of the data that helped determine the size and chronological scope of the temple. By the aspects of the cella and remains of the stone plastics, the temple could be sorted as prostilos type. One part of the object IX reveals the remains of newer objects which are not clearly defined.
Campaigns from October to November 2009, and September to October 2010, presented very significant results. The architectural complex was discovered, which consists of a capitol temple and atrium which is blocked from the south by a few rooms. The research of the room 3-IX indicated that the part of the object was ‘continually’ used from I to VI century.
Apart from the excavations, in February and March of 2011, for the first time, the analysis of the movable materials from the ancient town was done. This helped depicting the life within the room 3-IX. Same year, in July, the excavations continued. This time, the excavations focused on older objects around the temple complex, and were certainly dated into II century. The picture of the life in ancient Doclea was completed.