The mediaeval settlement of northern Croatia in the light of archaeological sources

The basic assumption that the project aims to prove is that certain regularities exist in the selection of positions for habitation throughout the Middle Ages, influenced by the natural and geographical substrates and socio-political events. 1. Certain sites exhibit a continuous multi-centennial habitation with a clear vertical stratigraphy on one—the most convenient—position, on which often an urban community developed over time. 2. Certain mediaeval sites lying along major watercourses show that settlements shifted to neighbouring positions, exhibiting recognizable horizontal stratigraphy. During the Middle Ages, such sites often exhibit an image of settlements of rural character. 3. In certain socio-political and economic circumstances, fortified towns are built along important transport and natural routes, coupled with the creation of several surrounding villages with a central cemetery and church. The basic goal is to reconstruct the way of life of the mediaeval population in the area of several selected micro-units in northern Croatia, from three aspects, namely, the life of the rural community; the life or the urban community and the relationship between the sacred and the profane (and defensive) in them; and the functioning of the fortified town in relation to the surrounding villages and cemetery with a church. The selected archaeological sites, excavated by means of contemporary stratigraphic archaeological methods, which exhibit the mentioned discernible regularities in appropriating space over several centuries of the Middle Ages, will be compared with sites from the broader area of northern Croatia, as well as the sites from the territory of the neighbouring countries. In the previous archaeological investigations in Croatia, mediaeval sites were dated very broadly. In contrast to this, we shall use the typo-chronological analyses of movable and immovable materials to date them with greater precision, in an endeavour to come closer to the achievements in Central Europe. The area of Central Croatia will be observed in the context of the cultural heritage of the Central European area, in which we would distinguish the original features specific only for northern Croatia. The established regularities may also be applied to other micro-units in the broader area of northern Croatia, in order to identify as yet unknown archaeological sites, or to determine in terms of function and chronology the many known, but still indeterminate sites that yielded chance surface finds, which are by and large kept in the museums in northern Croatia.

Tajana Sekelj Ivančan

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