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Results of Archeological Research at the Church of St. George in Župa dubrovačka

Marta Perkić ; Ministarstvo kulture Uprava za zaštitu kulturne baštine Konzervatorski odjel u Dubrovniku

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 11.392 Kb

str. 63-122

preuzimanja: 947



Župa dubrovačka is a valley surrounded by hills several kilometres east of Dubrovnik. During the era of the Dubrovnik Republic, it was a component of the Astarea – Dubrovnik’s extra-urban territory, which in history constituted a vital transit tie between this part of the coast and the interior. The Church of St. George is located on the southern slopes of Malaštica Hill, which on its northern side forms the boundary of the Župa Valley and also demarcates the border with Bosnia-Herzegovina. A Roman-era road passed through the church’s immediate vicinity, which once connected the most important Roman era settlements in Župa: Spilan and Gradac. The church was not preserved in its original form and today’s church was built in 1976 using the same stone materials, so numerous spolia, largely pieces of stećaks (monolithic tombstones) and grave stones, and several fragments of architectural sculpture – attributed to the Early Christian and pre-Romanesque periods – are built into its walls. Based on this, it is assumed that the site and church, otherwise first mentioned in documents dating to 1321, are in fact much older. The church parcel consists of three terraces, divided from each other by dry stone walls, and during research conducted in 2006/07, most of the lower terrace was examined. The periphery of the medieval cemetery was uncovered, and a total of 28 graves were defined which exhibited stone grave architecture made of irregular and undressed stone slabs. In all graves the same burial method was observed: the deceased was laid on his/her back with hands over the chest or pelvis in a very narrow earthen pit which was lined with stone vertically-placed stone plates, and the grave was then covered with the same type of slabs, normally in two layers. In two cases double burials were observed: in grave 9 a mother and child were buried together, and in grave 12 two infants. Subsequent burials in the same grave pit were recorded in three cases, wherein only the skull of the older deceased was normally dislocated and placed next to the head of the subsequently interred body. Most of the graves are oriented north-westerly/south-easterly, like today’s church. Accessories and pieces of apparel were very rare in the graves. A silver miliaresion of the Byzantine emperors Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus and Romanus I Lecapenus from the tenth century was found in grave 7, while an eggshell was found in grave 12. The only apparel item found was a semi-circular iron buckle in grave 21. Among the more notable items found outside of graves, there are 4 Byzantine copper coins from the latter half of the eleventh century and first half of the twelfth century, and a tegular fragment with an engraved Glagolitic inscription. Based on the script style, the inscription can be dated to the eleventh century or the early twelfth century at the latest. This is the second discovery of Glagolitic writing in the southern part of Croatia, and it constitutes vital physical evidence of the presence of Glagolism in this area and the existence of the so-called southern route of dissemination of the Glagolitic script from Bulgaria and Macedonia. A considerable quantity of pottery, fragments of roof tiles (tegulae and imbrices), animal bones and shells, and some metal items and glass were found. In the eastern part of the test trench, the remains of two walls of a Roman-era structure were found, almost entirely destroyed by the excavation of graves which were here adapted to the orientation of the walls. Even though the remains are insufficient to discern the purpose of this structure, they serve as important evidence of the Antique phase of the site which, until this research, was assumed on the basis of two pieces of an Early Christian door lintel built into the church walls as spolia. The pre-Romanesque phase was assumed on the basis of two fragments, also built into the church walls as spolia. These are a fragment of a pilaster or door jamb with wave motifs forming circles with crosses inside them, and a fragment of a capital on which only the lower part of the corbel was preserved, decorated with moulded acanthus leaves. A door jamb fragment, similar to that from St. George’s, came from the Church of Holy Sunday in the neighbouring village of Buići, and on it the above described motif flows into a simple cross with broadened ends. Since this fragment lies unattached in the church, there is some question as to whether it belongs to the Holy Sunday Church given the great similarity to the fragment from St. George’s, and perhaps it in fact comes from the latter church. Based on the aforementioned, this part of the cemetery at the Church of St. George can be roughly dated from the latter half of the tenth century to the latter half of the twelfth century, and the great value of what has been discovered demands further examination of the entire site.

Ključne riječi

Župa dubrovačka; Church of St. George; early medieval cemetery; Byzantine coins; Glagolitic inscription; pre-Romanesque sculpture

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