Category Archives: CROATIA

Historic Weapon Unearthed in Croatia

A valuable piece of Croatian warrior heritage found at Krka National Park

LOZOVAC, CROATIA— Archaeology Org reports that an artillery weapon was found in a defensive wall in a tower at the fourteenth-century site of Nečven fortress, which is located in southern Croatia’s Krka National Park.

The bronze object, known as a mačkula, is similar to a mortar and was used to attack fortified settlements. This one is thought to date to the seventeenth or eighteenth century. 

“A mačkula is a weapon that holds a special place in Croatian warrior heritage. During the traditional manifestation Sinjska Alka, every hit „u sridu“ (‘in the middle’) is celebrated by a shot from the mačkula.

Its value is enhanced even more during the ceremony for the winner when several mačkula are shooting from Sinj’s old fortified walls,” Krka NP said in a statement.

The mačkula was found in the defensive wall of the hexagonal tower right from the entrance of the fortress.

Archaeological research of Nečven fortress started back n 2011 and along with archaeological excavations conservation works of the fortress was also carried out. Metal and stone findings were conserved at the Krka NP conservation workshop.

“The mačkula is another valuable finding that will complete the Krka NP archaeological collection and contribute to the valorization of the cultural and historical heritage of our region,“ Nella Slavica, director of the Public Institute of Krka National Park said.

Slavica says that the conservation of the Nečven fortress is a long-lasting project to preserve heritage along with preparatory activities for the future construction of a 462-meter pedestrian suspension bridge over the Krka River connecting Nečven and Trošenj fortresses.

The bridge which will connect the fortresses

The bridge will be a tourist attraction with its fascinating views of the Krka canyon and Nečven and Trošenj Fortresses without causing any burden on the underlying phenomenon.

“Built at the beginning of the 14th century, the Nečven fortress is one of the most valuable monuments of medieval fortification architecture in Dalmatia. It was owned by the Nelipić family for two centuries.

In the 16th century, Nečven was conquered by the Ottomans but a year before the final expulsion of the Ottomans and the liberation of the City of Knin in 1688, Skradin inhabitants took over Nečven fortress and from it guarded the border.

Opposite Nečven fortress above the Krka canyon, the Trošenj fortress has proudly stood for centuries. Both fortresses represent valuable monuments of Croatian cultural heritage.

Nečven and Trošenj fortresses, built and owned by great Croatian families Nelipići and Šubići as part of the medieval defense system, today are valued within Krka National Park,” Krka NP stated.

Nomadic Warriors’ Remains Unearthed in Croatia

Nomadic Warriors’ Remains Unearthed in Croatia

ZAGREB, CROATIA—Archaeology Org reports that the remains of an Avar warrior dating to the late seventh or early eighth century A.D.

Archaeologists have been found in a tomb in eastern Croatia, near the site of the Roman city of Cibalae. The Avars were Eurasian nomads who arrived in Europe in the sixth century A.D.

During archaeological studies at the city cemetery of Vinkovci, which had started before the coronavirus pandemic and resumed these days, and investigating Avar graves, discovered by workers who had been expanding burial plots.

The City museum archeologists have discovered remains of an Avar warrior and a set belt that can be dated to the turn of the 7th to the 8th century, which is, according to Vinkovci city museum archaeologist Anita Rapan-Papesa, a very valuable find.

She said that previously there had been no Avar graves in Vinkovci, but that it was a known fact that there had been Avars in the area.

“When we observe the walled grave we have discovered, it turns out that Avars saw how Romans were buried so they made their own copies of Roman graves,” the archaeologist specializing in the Middle Ages said.

In addition to the walled grave, the archaeologists explored an ordinary earthen grave, where they found a warrior and his horse, with unique bridle ornaments.

Rapan-Papeša underscored that the border of the protected archaeological site in Vinkovci went through the middle of the field where the Avar graves had been unearthed and that they were the westernmost graves in the area of the former Roman city of Cibalae.

There are five more Avar graves to be explored, and as the work on expanding burial plots in the city cemetery in Vinkovci continues, further archaeological research will continue, as well.

2,000-Year-Old Boat Unearthed in Croatia

2,000-Year-Old Boat Unearthed in Croatia

POREČ, CROATIA—According to an Archaeology org report, a 16-foot boat held together with rope and wooden pegs have been uncovered at the waterfront in the city of Poreč, which is located on the western coast of the Istrian Peninsula.

The boat is estimated to date to the first century A.D. “This finding is significant because it is well preserved and has many elements that are very rarely seen,” said archaeologist Bartolić Sirotić of the Regional Museum of Poreč.

The most important archaeological discovery in the last 30 years is that the boat is well preserved and has many rare elements.

At the very end of the Porec waterfront on the Porta de Mar site, at the intersection of the waterfront with Cardo Maximus street close to the former Kompas building the old wooden boat was found

The first of these boats was located in Pula. This is the third such boat found on the mainland in Istria and the first in Poreč. The boat was made by a sewing technique, which was characteristic of the northern Adriatic area.

“It is a Roman sewn ship from the 1st century AD. The technique of sewing the ship is known from earlier periods, from the time of Histra.

One of the oldest boats of this type was found at the site of Zambratija near Umag. This specimen from Poreč is one of three boats found on land that are not part of an underwater archaeological survey,” Bartolić Sirotić, an archaeologist from the Regional Museum of Poreč, told Jutarnji list before adding.

“This finding is significant because it is well preserved and has many elements that are very rarely seen. These are primarily the formwork, ribs, and keel. In years, it will be possible to make a preliminary reconstruction of the vessel.”

The discovered boat is five meters long, although an archeologist revealed to the Jutarnji list that it was in fact a bit longer. It is 1.70 meters wide and had a sail.

It was well preserved because it was at a certain depth in the soil and could not be penetrated by oxygen. Certainly, a significant role in its conservation was played by the sludge with which it was covered.

“All this preserved it and the wood was not destroyed. We are now conducting research. Every stitch that is made is recorded.

The sewing technique is such that we have ropes that are tied with rope and sewn through holes that insert wooden nails called spots. And after that, the ribs, which are connected with this plate by the big wooden nails, are put on,” Bartolić Sirotić adds.

The archaeologist points out that the very context of the findings is very interesting because Poreč was once an ancient colony.

Excavations also show what the waterfront of Poreč once looked like. It was more recessed and lower than the present. The boat was found at an ancient pier.

A study of the unearthed skeletons revealed that the deceased lived nearly 1,500 years ago and were all boys belonging to different cultural groups.

Ancient Alien-Like Heads Discovered in Croatia

Three Ancient Skeletons have been discovered by the archeologists in Croatia, and two of them had pointy, artificially deformed skulls.

Each of those skulls had been melded into a different shape, possibly as a way to show they belonged to a specific cultural group.

Artificial cranial deformation has been practiced in various parts of the world, from Eurasia and Africa to South America.

It is the practice of shaping a person’s skull — such as through using tight headdresses, bandages or rigid tools — while the skull bones are still malleable in infancy.

Ancient cultures had different reasons for the practice, from indicating social status to creating what they thought was a more beautiful skull.

The earliest known instance of this practice occurred 12,000 years ago in ancient China, but it’s unclear if the practice spread from there or if it emerged independently in different parts of the world.

In this case, archeologists found these three skeletons in a burial pit in Croatia’s Hermanov vinograd archeological site in 2013.

Between 2014 and 2017, they analyzed the skeletons using various methods, including DNA analysis and radiographic imaging— a method that involves using radiation to view the inside of an object such as a skull. 

Their analysis revealed that the skeletons were all males who had died between ages 12 and 16. They all showed evidence of malnutrition, but that’s not necessarily how they died.  

They could have had “some kind of disease that killed them quickly and didn’t leave any traces on their bones,” such as plague, said senior author Mario Novak, a bioarchaeologist at the Institute for Anthropological Research in Zagreb, Croatia. 

The archaeologists didn’t find artifacts in the burial that could have revealed the boys’ social status, Novak said. 

The burial pit where the individuals were found — Hermanov vinograd site.

The analysis also revealed that the three had lived between A.D. 415 and 560, a time that corresponds to the Great Migration Period, which is “a very turbulent period in Europe’s history.

Right after the fall of the Roman Empire, completely new populations of people and cultures began to arrive in Europe and become the basis for modern European nations. “In other words, this period set the foundations of Europe as we know it today,” Novak said.

Indeed, DNA analysis of the ancient trio revealed that one of them had a West Eurasian ancestry, another a near-Eastern ancestry and the third an East Asian ancestry.

The boy who was of near-Eastern ancestry had a circular-erect type cranial deformation, which means that the frontal bone behind the forehead was flattened and the height of the skull was “significantly increased,” Novak said.

The boy who likely came from West Eurasia didn’t have any skull deformation, and the boy with East Asian ancestry had a skull with an “oblique” deformation, which means the skull was elongated diagonally upward.

“We propose that different skull deformation types in Europe were used as a visual indicator of association with a certain cultural group,” Novak said. As of yet, it’s unclear what cultural groups they belonged to, though the East Asian boy could have been a Hun.

Now, Novak and his team hope to find more samples of cranial deformation from Europe to understand this phenomenon on a larger scale.