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Archeological rescue Research in the Church of St. Blaise in Dubrovnik’s historical Core

Ivica Žile ; Ministarstvo kulture Uprava za zaštitu kulturne baštine Konzervatorski odjel u Dubrovniku

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 965 Kb

str. 185-194

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Archaeological rescue research in the Church of St. Blaise was entrusted to the Conservation Department in Dubrovnik, based on a programme compiled on the basis of archival sources and previous scholarly breakthroughs and the results of archaeological research inside the perimeter of the historical core of the city of Dubrovnik. Thus, archaeological rescue research was conducted by means of a system of ribbon-like test trenches 2 meters in width (east, west and south), from the eastern to western doors of the baroque church (the assumed dimensions of the first church) to the foundational structure. During research conducted along the church’s façade (west), the remnants of residential architecture were found; this structure was demolished during construction of the church. The parallel wall toward the church façade was found at the height of three rows of stone, while the two adjunct walls had the opposite orientation, preserved only at the level of foundations, submerged into the church’s foundation structure. A stone boundary marker was found next to its northwestern end. Two letters, SI, are carved into its face and near the top of its southern side. Based on archival data from 1258, which mention a stone boundary marker with that same signature, this discovery may be interpreted similarly, and it can be chronologically classified into the Romanesque period at the latest. Over and above the aforementioned, it is exceptionally important to stress that this is the first discovery of a stone boundary marker recognized by means of archival research, and its archaeological discovery has given it a third dimension – its until now unknown appearance. During research, the church’s façade wall was uncovered to the height of one row of stone, subdivided by four pilaster-strips. Morphologically, the wall exhibits the characteristics fixtures of Romanesque unity. The south-west corner pilaster-strip of the church façade, in contrast to the others, is considerably more massive due to reinforcement of the connection of the structure’s two walls. The discovery of the corner pilaster-strips indicated the need for a wall test trench at the connection between the baroque foundation structure (formerly the covered Luža) and the remainder of the Romanesque/Gothic church façade. The side of the north-west pilaster-strip formed just like the south-west one was found during the test dig. The southern church wall, in contrast to the façade, is subdivided by six pilaster-strips, of which the first and last (corner) also belong to the church’s façade and rear. The rear of the church is formed by three apses, of which the one in the middle is more prominent than those on the sides. Besides the corner pilaster-strip of the southern apse, the initial quadrant of its stone lining has also been preserved, while imprints in the plaster testify to its remains on all apses. Upon location of the church’s back wall, the very complex test excavations in the inside eastern church area of the sacristy were halted, because research outside led to discovery of the layout of the Romanesque/ Gothic sacral building. In cooperation with the statics and geomechanical engineers, five more test trenches were dug: three along the western and two along the eastern church wall. Two of these test trenches were made along the façade and rear of the baroque church (stairwell landing) to allow for discovery of the remainder of the Luža. Research has shown that its remains were torn down due to acceptance of Gropelli’s design for the baroque church. The extent to which Dubrovnik’s residents missed the Loža is reflected in the fact that a “surrogate” was made, for its capitals were placed next to the base of the newly-erected church not only as its memento, for they were founded in the cultural tenets of the Mediterranean way of life (all forms of socializing and the gambling of the time). At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the heads and column bases were moved to the museum collection. Given the impossibility of ascertaining the depth of the church’s foundations by manual excavation of the test trenches, despite the use of sump pumps, primarily due to the groundwater level already at 80 cm below street level, research reached a depth of approximately 2 m. During works a great deal of ceramic materials (plates, jugs and bowls) were gathered which were ascribed to the Gothic/Renaissance periods. Numismatic and glass artefacts from the same periods were found.

Ključne riječi

historical core of the city of Dubrovnik; Church of St. Blaise; Luža; stone boundary marker

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