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CURRENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS IN CROATIA Site name: Običaj, Lisarica and Križa-Mandalina mirila Place/Municipality: Tribanj / Starigrad Program heads and institutions: Lepa Petri, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Conservation Department in Zadar; Marjana Marasović, Tourist Board Starigrad Paklenica Contractor: Ivan Matak, Ljubotić Excavation and recovery period: autumn 2013 – spring 2014 RECOVERY AND PRESENTATION OF MIRILA (MILESTONES) AROUND LJUBOTIĆ The funerary practices related to mirila or počivala (milestones) are a cultural characteristic of the hinterland of the eastern Adriatic coast extending from Bukovica and Ravni Kotari, across the littoral slope of Velebit, to the villages below Kapela and Senjsko Bilo. These funerary practices involved putting up mirila, memorial stones for the deceased of a community. A mirilo was used to mark the place where the deceased lay or rested for the last time when the funeral procession stopped on its way to the cemetery. The temporary dwelling places of mountain shepherds, to which they seasonally went with their sheep and goats, were several kilometres away from the cemeteries. The deceased was carried on a bier by groups of two to four men. Several groups of carriers took turns in this demanding task, and the change could take place only at specific points on the way to the cemetery. The plateaus along the way used for this purpose were called mirilišta (milestone places of discovery), and they were frequently located on mountain passes. Aside from being used as places for the funeral procession to rest, they represented sacred resting places where the soul of the deceased lingered. At a mirilište, every deceased member of a community was laid on the ground and measured, which preserved the information about the true height of the deceased. In this way, a permanent and authentic memory of their physicality was created. This is why mountain communities treated their mirilišta like cemeteries, and in some cases considered them even more important, because according to folklore, only the body was buried in the grave, while the soul remained at the mirilo. Throughout 2013 and 2014, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and the Tourist Board Starigrad Paklenica continued the program of recovery and presentation of mirilišta around Ljubotić, a village with a cemetery shared by all the hamlets in the western area of the Municipality of Starigrad. It is an archaeological site with three mirilišta that contain approximately 250 individual mirila. Translated by Katharina Matić

CURRENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS IN CROATIA Site name: Nin, Vir, Vrsi Position: Nin-Gradina (Nin-Hillfort), Vir-Rtina- Školjić, Vrsi-Zečevo Place/Municipality: City of Nin, Vir Municipality, Vrsi Municipality Head of excavations: Marina Dubolnić Glavan, PhD Institution: Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Institute for Historical Sciences in Zadar Excavation period: (29 th March – 8 th August, 2016) Type of excavation: Field survey Total excavated area: 1.5 km 2 Chronological and cultural attribution of the site: Prehistory, Classical Antiquity, Middle Ages, Modern Ages Archaeology/Ethnography FIELD SURVEY OF THE RURAL LANDSCAPE OF THE CITY OF NIN AND ITS BROADER SURROUNDINGS The excavation documented the remains of a material culture which bear witness to the transformation of the cultural landscape of Nin and its surroundings. Earlier excavations, carried out in the period of 2012-2013, covered an area of around 20 km 2 . 2016 saw three excavation zones covered by a planned field survey. The Gospa od Zečeva medieval sacral complex was documented on the Zečevo peninsula (Vrsi). Several spolia and a Roman epigraphic monument were found on the property of the church. The Zečevo landscape is dominated by various remains of dry-stone architecture connected with sheep and goat breeding, and a number of shallow stone excavations were documented as well. The area surrounding Prezida bay was divided by a partially submerged long wall, perhaps a Roman milestone. The eastern-most part of the island of Vir constitutes an archaeological zone with an extraordinarily well preserved classical landscape centred around a Roman and medieval road (via communis). The land and seabed around Gaz and the small island of Školjić feature architectural remains of several Roman finds, probably belonging to a larger villa maritima. Numerous remains of drystone architecture documented near Rtina may be part of yet another Roman rural complex. The narrowest part of the island of Vir, next to Prezida bay, was parted by a long wall, possibly another boundary wall from Classical Antiquity or the Middle Ages. The dominating position of Gradina na Kosi above Bokanjačko Blato, located on an area belonging to the town of Nin, was researched. The hillfort site encompasses an irregularly shaped circular area surrounded by a massive dry-stone rampart. According to coarse ware finds, the hillfort is dated to the Iron Age. Occasional finds of Roman tegulae and architectural remains indicate that the site might have been in use during the Classical Period as well. Remains of an Italian blockhouse from the first half of the 20 th century are located within the borders of the hillfort. The site of Gradina was of strategic significance in the Nin and Zadar hinterland throughout history. Translated by Filip Medar

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