Virje – Volarski Breg/Sušine
Settlement, town, county: Virje, Koprivnica-Križevci County
Site type: settlement, melting workshop
Period: prehistory, Late Antiquity, Early and High Middle Ages
Type of excavation: systematic
Institution: Institute of Archaeology (2008, 2010, 2012, 2013) in collaboration with the Koprivnica Municipal Museum (2012)
Excavation manager: Dr Tajana Sekelj Ivančan (2008, 2010, 2012, 2013)
The archaeological site Volarski breg lies on the right, adjacent to the road running from Virje towards Molve in the Koprivnica-Križevci County. The entire area, composed of three very low hills, abounds in surface archaeological sites suggesting that the site, known from as far back as the 1980s, was occupied in several historical periods.
The site attracted the attention of archaeologists once again after ploughing in 2007, when dark spots became visible in the soil, and clusters of broken red daub, slag and ceramic nozzles surfaced to the ground, which indicated that there was more to the site than just a place of habitation. The excavations carried out in 2008 uncovered the remains of a metal workshop with melting furnaces and pits from the Early Middle Ages. The remains of five furnaces for melting iron ore were documented in situ, as well as five round pits with burnt bases, a semicircular feature—presumably the remains of a fence—as well as a number of timber post-holes.
Based on the observed positions of the surface finds from 2008 located north of the trench, it was concluded that this position, too, contained the remains of furnaces and structures, which were immediately endangered by intensive farming. Due to this, an excavation was carried out in 2010, which uncovered the remains of an early mediaeval settlement and a melting workshop. When the investigations at the same position resumed in 2012, they uncovered an area with large archaeological features of a circular plan with a burnt base, filled with discarded slag and daub from the workshop. It seems that their primary function was for making charcoal, indispensible in the process of melting iron ore.
A survey of the surrounding area in 2012 uncovered another position with identical surface finds, upon which minor test excavations were immediately carried out at this new site, called Sušine. The excavations yielded the remains of a settlement from the High Middle Ages, as well as a part of a workshop complex, most of which was covered by the waste dumped from the workshop. A radiocarbon analysis of charcoal collected from contexts investigated in 2010 and 2012 showed that this part of the site contained melting workshops from Late Antiquity. A geophysical survey of a part of the site at Sušine was carried out in 2013. Based on these results, an area of 300 m2 was uncovered. The excavation in the workshop complex uncovered the peripheral parts of the workshop with the remains of furnaces, which probably extended further. A significant part of the area was covered with a dump from the workshop. In the north-western part of the trench, the excavations revealed an elongated prehistoric feature that abounded with ceramic finds from the La Tène period, while in the smaller trench we investigated parts of an early mediaeval settlement.
The total area investigated so far at the archaeological site Virje – Volarski breg/Sušine is 2811 m². There are plans to continue the geophysical, as well as archaeological investigations in 2014.
- SEKELJ IVANČAN, T., Primarna obrada željeza: primjer talioničke radionice u Virju, predavanje: Znanstveni skup Hrvatskog arheološkog društva i Gradskog muzeja Bjelovar: Arheološka istraživanja Bjelovarsko-bilogorske županije i okolnih krajeva, 3. – 7. 10. 2016., Bjelovar 2016: 5-6.
- SEKELJ IVANČAN, T., Iron production in Croatia, with special regards to Virje – Volarski breg (8th-9th century), lecture: International symposium: Archaeological remains of the Early Medieval ceafts, with special regards to the iron production and smithing (8th-10th century), September 21, 2016, Szeged 2016: 6-7.
- MEDARIĆ, I., MUŠIČ, B., SEKELJ IVANČAN, T., Geophysical and Archaeological research on Late Roman Iron-smelting site at Virje (Croatia), poster: 22nd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, Vilnius, Lithuania, 30th August - 4th September, 2016.
- SEKELJ IVANČAN, T., The smelting of iron ore throughout different historical periods – Virje: a case study, poster: Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, Glasgow, 2.-5. September 2015.
- SEKELJ IVANČAN, T., MUŠIČ, B., Geofizička i arheološka istraživanja na nalazištu Virje – talioničkoj radionici iz vremena kasne antike i ranog srednjeg vijeka, 3. međunarodni znanstveni skup «Dani Stjepana Gunjače. Hrvatska srednjovjekovna povijesno arheološka baština. Međunarodne teme, Split, 22. – 24. listopada 2013.g., Muzej hrvatskih arheoloških spomenika, Sažeci predavanja, 11-12.; Starohrvatska prosvjeta III. ser.- sv. 41, Split 2014, 177-184.
- MUŠIČ, B., SEKELJ IVANČAN, T., MEDARIČ, I., MORI, M., Geofizikalne in arheološke raziskave metalurške delavnice na Sušinah v Virju (Hrvatska), Arheologija v letu 2013, dediščina za javnost, Zbornik povzetkov, Strokovno srečanje Slovenskega arheološkega društva, Ljubljana, 6.-7. ožujka 2014.g., (ur. Matija Črešnar, Bijan Djurić, Petra Stipančić), 42.
- SEKELJ IVANČAN, T., Pregled dosadašnjih arheoloških istraživanja na lokalitetu Virje – Volarski breg/Sušine, Podravski zbornik 40, Koprivnica 2014: 158-166.
- SEKELJ IVANČAN, T., Virje – Volarski breg, rani srednji vijek, 8.-9. st. Naselje i talionička djelatnost, u: Katalog izložbe, Robert Čimin, Zaštitna arheologija višeslojnih nalazišta Virje – Volarski breg (2008., 2010) i Delovi – Grede 1 (1982.), Koprivnica 2011, 18-21.
- SEKELJ IVANČAN, T., Arheološka istraživanja ranosrednjovjekovne radionice za preradu željezne rudače na lokalitetu Virje- Volarski breg, Anali Instituta za arheologiju V, Zagreb 2009, 65-70.
- SEKELJ IVANČAN, T., Talionička djelatnost u okolici Molva u ranom srednjem vijeku, Zbornik radova sa znanstvenog skupa Molve – ljudi, selo i okoliš u dugom trajanju (1658.-2008.) u povodu 350-te obljetnice osnivanja današnjeg sela Molve, Molve 2010, 30-45.