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Archaeological Excavations at Galovo in Slavonski Brod

Kornelija Minichreiter

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Since 1997 the Institute for Archaeology from Zagreb has conducted systematical archaeological excavations in north-eastern part of Slavonski Brod on a piece of land called Galovo on cadastral unit no. 6207/4 in the Brod Cadastral Municipality, in zone “E” of the town, which is under archaeological protection; excavations take place every year within the framework of the research project entitled “Prehistoric Identity of Northern Croatia” (code number: 0197001) under the leadership of K. Minichreiter, Ph.D. The excavations are being documented according to the latest archaeological methods concerning stratigraphic units.
The depths of finds are marked by absolute heights and finds in the field according to trench, quadrants, stratigraphic units and depths. After being unearthed, archaeological goods are sorted according to their type: special finds (clay goods and lithica) and samples (bones, charcoal, earth). After being sorted, descriptions of them are entered on special forms. Each year upon conclusion of works, the facilities are preliminary protected by covering them with a foil and a thin layer of earth.
In the archaeological excavations conducted so far, two prehistoric sites from different periods were unearthed on an examined surface of 2,200 m2. In the surface layer the remains of a Late Bronze Age necropolis with cremation burials of the Barice-Gređani group (ca 1200 BC) were found, and beneath it, at depth of approximately 90 cm below the surface an early Neolithic settlement of the Starčevo culture - Linear A phase (ca 5700-5300 BC) was unearthed. At the StarËevo site a part of the settlement was discovered, in which a ritual-burial area with burials of the most prominent members of the tribal community was separated by wooden fences. Although burials within the settlement, between living and working pit-dwellings, were normal in the Starčevo culture, in Galovo for the first time an enclosed burial area was discovered, in which the pit-dwellings with the dead and the cult facilities were separated from the rest of the settlement. Thus a so far unknown way of organizing life of the tribal community in the early Neolithic was discovered. In the excavated part of the settlement two construction phases were discovered for the first time. In the older phase, the western part of the ritual-burial area occupied a much larger surface in the settlement, as it can be seen according to the position of two wooden fences that separated the residential part of the settlement from the part reserved for burials. Wooden fences enclosed two pit-dwellings and a small pit with burials, and three cult facilities, where rites in the honor of the dead took place.
In an earlier phase, the settlement spread towards the pits with the burials, thus decreasing the surface of the burial area. Above the western cult facility and its northern, arched wooden fence that lost its function by new construction three large pit-dwellings were built. Respecting the tradition and the significance of the eastern cult facility, the group of new pit-dwellings was constructed semicircularly around it, and not in the north-south direction, which was a rule in the settlement when constructing other pitdwellings. In this younger phase of expansion of the settlement, a new short wooden partition was constructed in order to divide the ritual area from the dwelling area, thus - more symbolically than actually - separating the two spaces.
Fieldwork in 2004 continued in part of the Starčevo settlement on a surface of approximately 200 m2 (sets of trenches from C/14 to J/14 and partly from H/15 to J/15) that in its western and southern side was a continuation of the past excavation. In the part of the settlement to the south-west of the pit-dwelling N 155/156, in which a workshop for the production of clay and textile goods was situated, and west of the pit-dwelling N 205/206, a row of 14 holes of wooden columns was discovered, positioned from north to south at regular intervals of approximately 40-50 cm. In the north, the row of columns continues to a large pit, and the holes of wooden columns south-west of pit-dwelling N 155/156. To the west of this straight row a group of 54 columns was discovered, sunken close to each other at irregular intervals, their cross-section forming a semicircle. The second object, which we believe was a shed (from N 671/672 to 711/712) was unearthed in the north-western part of the field. In sterile soil, sequences of holes of broader wooden columns were entrenched, arranged so that their outline forms a rectangular (oriented NW-SE) with sides of 5 m. Among the moveable archaeological goods, fragments of coarse pottery were found, decorated with various motifs of plastic bands with fingerprints.
The surfaces of coarse pottery were additionally ornamented by pulling over sheaves of twigs, incising thin lines like a network (rhomboid motif), as well as by horizontal, diagonal and vertical sequences of fingerprints. Several marginal fragments of large pots were decorated by fingerprints. Of special finds, fourteen clay objects were unearthed, comprising two small idols, the feet and the corner parts of censers and several clay artifacts of undetermined function. Clay idols and censers suit the typology of special artifacts unearthed and published up to the present. Lithica finds are numerous also in this part of the excavated settlement: cores, blades, sharpening stones, plates, endscrapers, etc. The remains of animal bones - goat, sheep, cattle, pig, deer and dog - point to various eating habits, cult rites and the beginning of the domestication in the territory of southern Pannonia.

Ključne riječi

systematic archaeological excavations, settlement, ritual-burial site, Starčevo culture, Linear A, Early Neolithic, Barice-Gređani necropolis, Late Bronze Age, Galovo, Slavonski Brod, Posavina, Croatia

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