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The Gradišče Fortification near Margečan - Results of Trial Excavations

Juraj Belaj

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 4.827 Kb

str. 56-60

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In autumn 2004, trial excavations of the Gradišče fortification near Margečan in the Ivanec Municipality were conducted over a period of ten days. The excavations were conducted by the Institute for Archaeology in co-operation with the project of archaeology students of the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University in Zagreb entitled Field Survey and Documentation of Gradišče Site on Cukovec. Since historical sources do not mention the fortification, we hoped that the excavation would provide an opportunity to collect archaeological material that would in turn help us date it. In the literature, the opinion prevails that the Knights Hospitaller built it. The size of the fortification is magnificent, with a length of approximately 152 m and an average width of approximately 28 m. It is situated between 328 and 315 meters above sea level, or 128 meters above the Bednja River valley below. Above ground there are not many walls left, as usable stones were taken away from the site.
Best preserved is the rectangular tower in the eastern and lowest part of the longitudinal fortification. The external dimensions of the tower are approximately 11 x 11 m. During trial excavations, several smaller sondages were opened, which revealed the width, appearance and arrangement of the walls at several points. The width of the walls varies, ranging from approximately 150 to 210 cm, depending also on the unearthed segment. The bottom of the foundations is, of course, broader than the wall above it. In two trenches in the eastern part of the fortification, we discovered ruptures in the wall, which was to a great extent removed. In one part we found a ditch that emerged by removal (“robber”) of stones from the wall and its foundations. Therefore, unfortunately, no connection between the fortification walls and the tower was found. Even so, the turn of the wall toward the tower found in the trench to its south shows that the wall was probably linked with the tower at its southern, and most likely also at its northern side. In the tower itself, beneath a relatively thick imploded layer we also unearthed older layers with small finds of pottery and daub. The detected width of the walls, i.e. the foundations of the tower walls, is approximately 230/270 cm. Almost two meters of the height of the internal face of the tower wall was preserved.
After excavation, all wall remains were recorded by a total station, and by subsequently linking the points, an approximate outline of the fortification was made. Unfortunately, the movable archaeological material found in small and mostly flat trenches belongs chiefly to the prehistoric horizon, and it originates from a hillfort settlement built at the early stage of the Urnfield culture. The small amount of medieval pottery artifacts (ten fragments of medieval pottery) is much too fragmentary to be of much help in dating the existence of the fortification. It is still not possible to either confirm or refute the theory that the fortification was built and owned by the Knights Hospitaller. We believe that the continuation of trial trenching in the future might generate at least a part of the expected material.

Ključne riječi

Gradišče near Margečan, Knights Hospitaller, Knights Templar, fortification, Middle Ages, Bronze Age

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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