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CURRENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL

CURRENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS IN CROATIA Site name: Brezovljani Place/Municipality: Brezovljani/Sv. Ivan Žabno Head of excavations: Lana Okroša Rožić Institution: City Museum in Križevci Excavation period: 2015 Type of excavation: systematic Chronological and cultural attribution of the site: transition from the Middle to the Late Neolithic ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS AT A NEOLITHIC SETTLEMENT BELONGING TO THE BREZOVLJANI TYPE OF SOPOT CULTURE The Neolithic site of Brezovljani is situated 13 km south of Križevci, close to the town of Sv. Ivan Žabno. It is known as the eponymous site of a special variant of the Sopot culture that shows strong Central European influences pertaining to the Lengyel culture. The first excavations at this site were carried out in 1973, in the western part of the settlement, where the pottery production centre had been located. The City Museum in Križevci has been conducting systematic research since 2002. Archaeological excavations have so far covered the area of 1596 m², and have helped establish the existence of a large, organized settlement dated to the transitional period between the Middle and the Late Neolithic. The northern part of the settlement is assumed to have accommodated a place of worship, while the central part could be characterized as the living and working area. The excavations conducted in 2015 offered additional information on the layout of the central, workshop area. Of great importance among the excavated objects is the sunken kiln SU 461. It is oriented in an east-west direction, and consists of a daub structure of an irregular, damaged, horseshoe shape, measuring 1.70x1.90 m in its western part. A reinforcement in the shape of a ring about 4 cm wide and up to 8 cm high was partly preserved along the rim of the structure. A slope of yellow, oily, compacted soil can be noticed in the southeastern part, leading to a pit that is 1.30 m deep. The kiln has been excavated to a length of 2.90 m, which is not its actual length, since the kiln extends beyond the excavated area. It is assumed that it was used as a pottery kiln. Pit SU 460 is located in the vicinity of the kiln, 0.30 m to the west. The pit was 4.80x4.30 m. It contained an exceptionally large amount of pottery with a high proportion of red-painted fragments. Twelve loom weights were also found, as well as a mineral most likely used for the production of the red paint, suggesting that ware and textile had been painted there. Excavations done in 2015 showed that an intensive production of pottery had taken place both in the central and the western part of the settlement. During all of the excavations, an abundance of pottery and numerous chipped stone assemblages have been collected. Among all ceramic artifacts, especially interesting are the anthropomorphic Sé type figurines, as well as fragments of anthropomorphic vessels pertaining to the Lengyel culture, well-known from Hungarian sites. It is important to note that Brezovljani is so far the only Neolithic site in continental Croatia where fragments of the Butmir culture have been found, which makes this site a centre of a wider region that came into contact with what is now central Bosnia and with the Central European cultural circle. Translated by Ema Bonifačić

CURRENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS IN CROATIA Site name: Crkva Sv. Petra kod Vodnjana Position: Gas pipeline route – investor Plinacro (location VU 302) - 1.5 km north of Vodnjan Place/Municipality: Vodnjan, near Pula Field crew: Željko Ujčić – head of excavation; Tatjana Bradara, M.A. – deputy head of excavation; Ivo Jurčić – museum technician Institution: Archaeological Museum of Istria Excavation period: From 11 th November 2009 to 22 nd April 2010 (with some interruptions) Type of excavation: Rescue archaeological excavation Total excavated area: Ca. 500 m 2 Chronological and cultural attribution of the site: Classical Antiquity, Middle Ages, Modern Ages THE REMAINS OF THE CHURCH OF ST. PETER NEAR VODNJAN The remains of the church of St. Peter (Crkva Sv. Petra) are located 1.5 km to the north of Vodnjan, at the crossroads of Roman centuriations, which have been preserved through the tradition of dry-stone walls that enclose the local vineyards and olive groves. The westers façade of the church faces the eastern dry-stone wall of a crumbling Roman communication (north-south network) leading towards the village of Sv. Kirin. Some older locals still remember walking to school down this old Roman road. The first church (11.00x17.50 m) was oriented to the east, with a rounded pilaster apse tiled with brick – also known as opus spicatum. After the demolition of the first edifice, a new church with the same layout (tiled with shale) was built; however, the rebuilt apse had no pilasters. Even though pilasters were popular during the Late Antiquity, the influence of the early medieval period is visible in the pillar with a pre-Romanesque capital (the mullion) located in front of the façade. The latest architectural phase is evident in a small church with a rectangular layout (15.50 m long), reduced to the area of the central nave (4.20 m wide) with a flat back end without the old apse. Only the eastern part of the latest edifice has stood the test of time. The partitioned intercolumniation of the older three nave church is unclear. The historically recorded San Pietro delle Sette Porte seems to point to the fact that there are seven walled up arches (2x3 segmental, and the altar arch) in a similar fashion to the nearby church of St. Quirinus (Sv. Kvirin). The Early Christian and medieval churches are often the guardians of forgotten Roman edifices and witnesses of derelict villas around the landscape. However, the church of St. Peter does not reflect the continuity of life in the settlement, but rather the tradition of death, because it lies on a Roman necropolis. A total of 13 typologically distinct graves from Classical Antiquity, Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages have been examined. The remains of a Roman urnfield necropolis have been excavated to the east of the Roman road, i.e. in the western area of the church. According to burial typology, six cremation burials belong to the lower social class. The charred bones of the deceased were placed into a circular burial pit in red soil (Grave 6), carefully collected into urns (rough ceramic vessels – Graves 11 and 12) or a ceramic urn was placed into the cremation pit (Grave 7). To the north of the church, parallel to the old Roman road, lies a larger elongated cremation burial with distinct remains of charred wood. This is a place where the deceased were both burned and buried (bustum). Finally, they were carefully covered by layers of shale (Grave 4). Several bronze chains and an illegible coin have been found in this grave only. Some other cremation pyre remains (grave goods) that have been found in the graves include the following: mostly fragments of Roman ceramic vessels, two oil lamps (Graves 7 and 12), a number of iron nails, a copper key and a part of a lock. Lachrymal vases – glass and ceramic lachrymals, which have been found on top of the grave (Grave 7) or placed on top of the bones in an urn (Grave 12) - bear witness to the loved ones’ grief for the deceased. A cemetery with inhumation burials, dated to the Late Antiquity (Graves 2, 3 and 5), is located next to the eastern dry-stone wall and is parallel with the Roman road. The grave structures are ossuaries made of shale held together by lime mortar. Two medieval ossuaries (Graves 8 and 10) are located just outside the south outer wall of the edifice; they are parallel with the church. Translated by Luka Boričević

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