Field research of the Institute


Torčec – Gradić

Settlement, town, county: Torčec, Koprivnica, Koprivnica-Križevci

Site type: mediaeval lowland earthen fortification

Period: Bronze Age, High and Late Middle Ages

Type of excavation: test, systematic

Institution: Institute of Archaeology (2002 and 2003) in collaboration with the Koprivnica Municipal Museum (2002)

Excavation manager: Dr Tajana Sekelj Ivančan (2002 and 2003)

The mediaeval lowland earthen fortification with a moat filled with water, and a rampart with prominent corners, Gradić or Turkish Hill, lies north of the village of Torčec near Koprivnica, in the vicinity of the confluence of the surrounding brooks, tributaries of the Drava river.

Archaeological investigations distinguished several phases of this site, the most important of which, with the exception of the modest phase dated to the Bronze Age, is the third phase – the construction and shaping of the fortification in the period after 1260. A ditch was excavated around the central elevation and a rampart was formed by piling up layers of earth. After this, the relatively low central elevation was reinforced with a series of square oaken braces set obliquely on its slope. During the construction, the braces were covered with a large quantity of wood, which was then set alight deliberately to reinforce the slope of the central elevation and to prevent its collapse. A little farther east in the ditch, oaken beams with pointed bases were found set vertically into the ground, densely arranged one next to the other, serving as an additional defence of the central elevation. There are hints at the existence of a wooden tower on the central elevation. The interior earthen rampart, whose foundations contained densely packed vertical poles at places interwoven with wood in a horizontal position, was also built during this phase.

The next clearly recognizable horizon of the site belongs to the period from the end of the 14th until the first half of the 16th century (phase four). During that period, the interior ditch was filled up, the central elevation was expanded, while the rampart rose in height. On the eastern side of the fortification, in a series of regularly arranged oaken posts, pieces of the supporting construction of the bridge were recognized, which provided access to the central elevation across the ditch (radiocarbon analysis: end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century).

The late mediaeval horizon of life in the fortification was destroyed by modern-period interventions in the second half of the 15th century or the beginning of the 16th century, when the entire terrain was levelled, whereupon the late mediaeval finds mostly ended in the backfill of the moat.




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