Roman-Era Mirrors from Velika Mrdakovica

Toni Brajković

Only three Roman mirrors, that is their parts as none of them is complete, were found in the long-term excavations of the necropolis and settlement at the archaeological site of Velika Mrdakovica. We may say that two examples belong to common and popular forms (groups A and K in G. Lloyd Morgan’s typology), while one is atypical, exhibiting more luxurious craftsmanship, with closest analogy in the area of Germanic barbaricum - in the Hildesheim hoard. All mirrors from Mrdakovica belong to the period of the 1st and 2nd centuries AD and in addition to other finds, they stand as witnesses to lively trade exchange of the population of Velika Mrdakovica primarily with northern Italic production centers, but also with other parts of the Empire.

Stomorija – Miri (Kaštel Novi), an example of spatial relations within settlements in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Tonči Burić

In the paper the author substantiates the presence of two different concepts of spatial articulation of agrarian settlements in Kaštela in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. They were both formed in the complexes of villae rusticae that had been organized in Late Antiquity on the foundations of the early Roman villas. They differ from the latter in the size of accompanying estate, and in physical terms in much better preservation of architectural remains, since these villas continued to be used in the Middle Ages. In each of them a Christian sacral structure was built in the 6th century at the latest in the process of Christianization of pagus in the Salonitan ager. In the first, somewhat more common version of spatial articulation within a late antique estate (villa rustica), a Christian place of worship was erected in the residential and economic hub of the villa (St Martha – Stombrate, SS Cosmas and Damian – Dolac in Kaštel Gomilica). While the first version is common across the province of Dalmatia, the one in the case of Miri – Stomorija is most likely an exception caused by the local terrain features. In both cases these late antique complexes grew into medieval estates (curtes, predia), and then into medieval villages.

The Guardian Ancestors. Burials at Bronze Age fortified Sites in the Adriatic Area: Coppa Nevigata and the Istrian Hillforts

Giulia Recchia, Alberto Cazella

Around the mid-second millennium BC, some inhumations and disarticulated bones were buried in the area of the fortification lines at the Coppa Nevigata settlement (northern Apulia). This funerary custom appears to be anomalous in the context of Bronze Age southern Italy. On the other hand, such a burial location near to a fortification wall mirrors the funerary evidence from Bronze Age hillforts (castellieri/gradine) in Istria, a region that indeed had close relationships with northern Apulia. Evidence from other European regions is also taken into account, in order to evaluate to what extent this phenomenon was a distinctive trait pointing to interaction between the south-western and north-eastern Adriatic and what their nature was. European contexts offer only generic similarities, whereas the consistency of funerary practices at settlements in the Adriatic
area, based on a close association with defensive lines, appears to be far from random.

Liburni and the Caput Adriae Region in the Early First Millenium BC – Discussing the Liburnian two-part bow Fibulae

Biba Teržan

The article examines two-part bow fibulae (of the Osor type, variant A, or II according to D. Glogović), which formed a part of female attire in the region of Liburnia during the 9th and 8th centuries BC. Given their bow shapes and long, decorated pins these fibulae can be related to the two-part bow fibulae with conical helices also of the Osor type. Therefore, it can be presumed that the two-part bow fibulae discussed here originally formed part of headdress decorations or elaborate hairstyles as well. Special attention is given to the presence of such fibulae at the site of Škocjan, both at the necropolis and within the hoard of Mušja jama. As the site in question is fairly distant from the main Liburnian region, the attested examples both of single-looped bow fibulae with two knobs and of two-part bow fibulae are interpreted in relation to Škocjan as a “sacred
place” of supra-regional importance.

Aerial Archaeology as a Method of Identifying the formation of Cultural Landscape in the Karst Area

Vedrana Glavaš, Neda Kulenović, Igor Kulenović

Visibility traces that represent subsurface context, such as soil marks or crop marks, are common phenomena for detecting archaeological sites by using aerial archaeology as one of remote sensing methods, through the medium of oblique aerial photography. Various discussions and use of aerial archaeology method in general are mostly limited to regions with continental climate that contain an abundance of cultivated soil. Remote sensing methods reveal archaeological sites in karst landscape mostly as surface structures, and not as subsurface archaeological context that is represented or mediated by soil marks and crop marks. Results of the aerial survey of Velebit mountain, a part of the North Dalmatian plateau and the Obrovac plateau in Croatia are presented in this paper. Analysis of oblique aerial photographs was conducted with the aim of systematization of visibility indicators for the archaeological sites in the Dinaric karst landscape. Visibility indicators that enable discovering archaeological sites depend on karst relief, sub-Mediterranean climate and scrub vegetation. It has been determined that archaeological sites can be recognized by indicators such as shadow, texture, colour and vegetation by using the method of aerial archaeology. Defined indicators in cultural landscape in the karst area that were used for detection of archaeological sites are rarely represented independently. Archaeological sites are usually visible owing to combination of several individual indicators.

A Contribution to Understanding Spiritual Culture of the Neolithic Communities of the Eastern Adriatic

Kristina Horvat Oštrić

The paper presents a ceramic artifact found in the second half of the 20th century in Islam Grčki, in the vicinity of the Neolithic site of Graduša – Lokve. It was a stray find, presently housed in the Regional Museum in Benkovac. Decoration technique and
motifs suggest dating to the Middle Neolithic, that is the Danilo culture. Mentioned chronological and cultural framework is supported by analogies from the Adriatic region, that allow attribution of this object to the spiritual culture of the eastern Adriatic Neolithic communities.

Animal Husbandry and Ritual at Vrčevo Hillfort in the Bronze and Iron Ages

Maja Grgurić Srzentić

The paper presents the results of the zooarchaeological analysis of osteological remains of domestic and wild animals from Vrčevo hillfort in Ravni Kotari. The samples were collected in the 2012 archaeological excavations when several occupation layers were defined as evidenced by the finds of floors and hearths. The finds, as well as the results of the first radiocarbon analyses confirmed the continuity of the settlement from the Middle Bronze Age until the end of the Early Iron Age and the beginning of the Late Iron Age. The results of the zooarchaeological analysis indicated that both periods were characterized by continuity in sheep and goat breeding while possible change was evident in cattle breeding. It seems that dogs had special importance for the Bronze Age community as suggested by ritual practice.

Bioarchaeological Analysis of Skeletal Remains from Nadin Necropolis

Tisa Loewen, Kenneth Nystrom, Martina Čelhar

This contribution presents the results of the bioarchaeological analysis of human skeletal remains from excavations at the Nadin necropolis, focusing on the reconstruction of population demographics and pathological conditions. This site has represented a methodological challenge for traditional individual-level skeletal analyses because the primary architectural unit in the necropolis, parcela, contain commingled and fragmentary elements with evidence of repeated use, multiple inhumations, and cremations. Therefore, landmark-based methods for the determination of MNI have been applied in the analysis of skeletal remains from the 2013 and 2015 excavations. This allowed a more accurate construction of the demographic profile for the site in combination with estimates from previous reports. The minimum number of individuals for the Nadin necropolis, combined with the previously published MNI from within the space delineated as parcela (“cela”) 1 (n=45), is estimated to be 196. These data also show a higher count of subadult remains (51%, n=99), compared to reports for other Iron Age sites in the region. Based on paleodemographic evaluations of the connections among younger age cohorts in skeletal collections, fertility, and population size, high infant and child mortality suggest population growth.

The Numismatic Evidence of the Mongol Invasion in the wider Split Region in march, 1242

Mato Ilkić, Dejan Filipčić

In this paper the authors reinterpret a number of long known hoards from central Dalmatia containing mostly communal coins of Split, associating their hiding with March 1242, when Bela IV, king of Hungary and Croatia escaped to the Adriatic chased by
the Mongols. The Mongol invasion could also explain certain individual coin finds from caves in southeastern Lika and northern Dalmatia that could have been used as temporary shelters for the local population.

Iadodian and Liburnian Antropomorphic Pendants

Andrej Preložnik

The newly proposed typological scheme of Iapodian and Liburnian anthropomorphic pendants allows for a fresh look at – and new findings about – this interesting ornament type. The original, earliest and most broadly distributed pendant type appears to be that of Prozor, with analogies also on the opposite side of the Adriatic, in present-day Italy. It spread across the Iapodian and Liburnian territories, from where individual specimens reached Bela Krajina and eastern Dolenjske. They can be dated to the period from the eighth until the sixth century. In Lika, earlier forms were worn sewn on certain parts of the attire, for example caps and/or belts, while later ones were worn as pectorals. Liburnians probably also wore them as earrings. Of course, it is not excluded that individual specimens were used as separate objects, such as amulets, especially outside the Iapodian territory. It is a geographically very limited type of ornament; however, only this one fits into the scheme of potnia theron form pendants, represented on the 7th century Apennine Peninsula in several forms.

Tumuli research in Dobropoljci in 1960 in the Light of Recent Discoveries

Zrinka Serventi, Jure Šućur

In 1960, the Archaeological Museum in Zadar, led by Šime Batović, conducted archaeological excavations of the Jaruv hill fort and eight tumuli in Dobropoljci. Since the research is known only through a short report, the authors on this occasion publish the remaining research documentation, which is kept in the museum, and, on the basis of this research, correct certain interpretations, at the same time giving the broader context of these findings based on recent discoveries about burials.

Fragment of a Funerary Mensa from the Site of Galovac – Crkvina

Ante Uglešić, Josipa Baraka Perica

The paper deals with a fragment of a funerary mensa recovered in the archaeological excavations of the site of Galovac – Crkvina near Zadar. It is a rare example of this type of find in our region. Analogies can be found in funerary examples of northern Africa. It is associated with the Roman pagan burial, and possibly north African import from the 3rd – 4th centuries.

The Beginning of Seasonal Herding in Dalmatia

Stašo Forenbaher

Dairying in general, and the production of fermented milk products in particular, are farming strategies that often involve the seasonal movement of herds. Recently published analyses of fatty acid residues on pottery and oxygen isotope analyses of ovicaprine teeth indicate that herders from the northern Dalmatian coast began to move their flocks to summer highland pastures in the second half of the 6th millennium BC, roughly at the same time when they began to make cheese. Results of that research, carried out on archaeological remains from lowland Neolithic villages, are supported and supplemented by the available evidence from highland sites located on Velebit Mountain. Seasonal vertical movement of shepherds began around the middle of the 6th millennium BC, about five centuries after farming first appeared in northern Dalmatia. This change in herd management strategy is roughly contemporaneous with other changes that reflect an intensification of subsistence practices. The spread of farming into the hinterland of Lika may be directly related to the beginning of transhumant  pastoralism.

Sveti Juraj - Lisac Underwater Site and Salt Production at the end of the Bronze Age

Pio Domines Peter, Mate Parica

The seaward view from above Sveti Juraj, which is located on the Velebit coast, about seven kilometres south of Senj, is dominated by the small island of Lisac. The proximity of the mainland and relatively shallow depth of the strait have attracted the attention of researchers and led to assumptions about the island’s connection to the mainland in the past. The paper presents the results of an underwater survey, which confirm the existence of archaeological potential under the surface of the strait. The site includes traces of maritime structures in the form of a communication embankment and an artificially created plateau. An analysis of ceramic artefacts suggests that significant spatial activities in the Lisac maritime landscape probably occurred during the Late Bronze Age. In processing the collected artefacts, the greatest attention was paid to briquetage finds.
The term refers to a repertoire of products made of fired earth — supporting pillars and vessels — used in prehistoric salt production through forced seawater evaporation. The large quantity of fragments of these items strongly suggests a production site. In this context, the character of the site, the correlation between spatial characteristics of the location, as well as the requirements, needs and technological aspects of salt production through briquetage are discussed, with reference to the possible implications of this activity on contemporary social and economic frameworks at the microregional level.

Belt buckles of the Nadin type

Marina Ugarković, Martina Čelhar

In the attire of many prehistoric, and later historic communities belt was an important functional, and also decorative element, that often had distinct symbolic function. Its form, selected material, craftsmanship and elaborate ornamental system could have communicated various messages regarding social, economic and symbolic aspects. In the area of the eastern Adriatic and its immediate hinterland, and in particular in the Liburnian region, during the last two centuries BCE, a specific type of belt buckles became a prominent and popular piece of attire. These were cast trapezoidal belt buckles featuring the central motif of a spear/arrow. Collection of extant finds of the mentioned type has been considerably augmented owing to systematic archaeological research of the Nadin necropolis where as many as 44 specimens have been found. They are joined by a certain number of unpublished finds kept in the collections of the Archaeological Museum in Zadar and the Šibenik City Museum. Considering their exceptional abundance and high quality in Nadin, as well as the lack of an elaborate figural narrative that differentiates them instantly from the morphologically akin belt buckles recovered from the Iapodean, Daorsian, Labeatan and Issaean cultural regions, we suggest distinguishing these specific objects into a special type – Nadin.

Devotional Medals from St Dominic in Zadar

Dario Vujević, Karla Gusar

The paper analyses finds of devotional (religious) medals recovered in the excavation in the interior of the church of St Dominic that was conducted by the Department of Archaeology of the University of Zadar. The excavation unearthed post-medieval walled tombs and burials without grave architecture. Among other finds, they contained 29 medals commemorating various saints, the ones featuring the depiction of Our Lady of Loreto being the most numerous. All medals date to the 17th and 18th centuries.

New find of an Altar from the Neolithic Settlement of Smilčić

Brunislav Marijanović

The paper discusses a new find of two ceramic fragments from the Neolithic site of Barice in Smilčić recovered in the 2016/17 excavations. The sherds belong to a pottery object that in its morphological characteristics exhibits distinct similarity to roofs of
the ceramic house models recorded at a number of sites in the region of southeastern Europe. As all previously recovered finds were interpreted as a special kind of an altar, the find from Smilčić might also belong to the same group of finds, all the more since a similar find was found in an unknown context in the excavations in 1956/59 and 1962. The find was dated to the Middle Neolithic and attributed to the Danilo culture on the basis of motifs executed on the preserved parts of the walls.

Belt Buckle with Figural Scene from Prozor

Ana Đukić, Ivan Drnić, Slađana Latinović

The paper analyzes a belt buckle of composite construction found at the Iron Age site of Prozor near Otočac. In its form and construction, it resembles belt buckles from the area of the Dolenjska Hallstatt group, dated to the period of the 6th and 5th centuries BC. The buckle consists of an embossed bronze sheet riveted on an iron plate. Attention is also paid to the source of inspiration for decorative motifs on the buckle - horse figures that are characterized by certain realistic quality that is not typical of other, mostly stylized horse depictions from the Iapodean region.

La fonte nella fonte L’Italia fiscia nella descrizione Tabula Peutingerana 4. L,idrografia 4.3. I Fumi a settentrione del Padus. Dal Cleusis al Tiliabinte

Guido Rosada, Luciano Bosio

 I have to explain the double name which this note appears with. Luciano Bosio left us in January 1997, without having the opportunity to publish the first part of an imposing work on a source he loved and frequented, and on which we had worked together. It was a sort of trilogy of the description of Italy as represented in the Tabula Peutingeriana (Roman Italy in the description of the Tabula Peutingeriana should have the title been); a trilogy formed by a volume on the morphological characters, a second one on the anthropic distribution (settlements of different consistency) and finally a third one on the road network, which should have been the most important in consideration of the purpose of the itinerarium pictum. As a moral inheritance of the commitment started with my master of Topography, I have resumed that work, starting from those morphological aspects that characterise our peninsula the most, in particular, in this case, the hydrography. In this note the Padus’s tributarys and Adige, Brenta, Livenza and Tagliamento will be considered specifically. Following the indications registered in the Tabula, these will be compared with the information which can be gathered from other sources, both literary and archaeological ones.

On Roman Empresses and Princesses in the Province of Dalmatia

Ivana Banovac, Ivana Jadrić-Kučan

The personality cult of the ruler, glorification of monarchical power and placing of prominent individuals on a heroic and divine pedestal were social phenomena present in developed civilisations from ancient times. The Roman imperial cult, a religious and political institution based on identifying and worshipping the emperor as a deity and promoting imperial power, served as an instrument for strengthening Roman rule and romanising the newly conquered territories of the Roman Empire. While the focus of worship was primarily Roman emperors, important in propagating imperial ideology were also their wives, as well as other members of the ruling family. Despite not enjoying the same rights as their spouses, Roman empresses nevertheless actively, as well as indirectly, participated in public and political events and used the privileges of their social status to contribute to the shaping of imperial power and Roman society. Drawing on previous research of the social, political and religious characteristics of the imperial cult, this paper will briefly review the social and political power of the most influential Roman empresses and princesses, with an emphasis on the devotion to their cult in the Province of Dalmatia from the Julio-Claudian dynasty to AD 315.

The Hillfort Settlement Bedo-Stine near Žrnovo on the Island of Korčula – Results of a Field Survey

Dinko Radić, Igor Borzić

Continuous work on the archaeological topography of Korčula has recently resulted in locating an Iron Age settlement at the site of Brdo-Stine in Žrnovo at the eastern end of the island. Repeated field surveys of the site resulted in broad determination of its spatial extent, basic organizational components, as well as the character of small finds, testifying to its exceptional archaeological potential. On the basis of the position of the settlement and typo-chronological determination of the collected finds of metal (iron slag), stone (whetstones, millstones, stone anvils) and ceramic (roof tiles, molds,?, amphorae and pithoi), the settlement was preliminary dated to the Late Iron Age/Hellenistic period of an area characterized by very intense overlaying of the indigenous and Hellenistic-Roman components.

Cameos from the Archaeological Museum of Istria

Alka Starac

The paper deals with four cameos from the Archaeological Museum of Istria. One of them portrays the Emperor Nero, two bear portrayals of female heads with Greek hairstyle, and the fourth one depicts helmeted Minerva’s head. On the basis of motif
selection, rendering, and comparisons with published cameos from other collections, we can assume their broad dating and analyze their messages. Cameo with Nero’s portrait can be associated with the workshop center in Rome. It is not possible to establish the workshop center where other cameos were produced.