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Archaeological Excavations at the Old Town (Stari grad) Site in Ivanec

Juraj Belaj

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 3.058 Kb

str. 61-66

preuzimanja: 772



The town of Ivanec is located on the road leading from Varaždin through Lepoglava to Krapina. There was a medieval castle, called the ‘Old Town’, in its present-day center, on a hilltop near the parish church, until the middle of the twentieth century. Historical documents indicate that an organized settlement certainly existed in the territory of Ivanec even before the “free municipality of St. John” was first mentioned in 1396. It would have been unusual indeed if the Knights Hospitaller of the Bela Preceptory did not have a fortified site at the boundary of their large estate, and this on one of the routes leading from their hostile Teutonic lands. Historical sources mention the castle of Ivanec as late as at the end of the fifteenth century, when the ban, or viceroy, John Corvinus owned it, but the castle was probably inherited from the Knights Hospitaller. The Chapel of St. John the Baptist was located near the castle. Historical sources first mention it as late as 1649, but already then as “very old” and derelict. Its founders were most likely the former feudal lords of this land - the Knights Hospitaller. Due to an obvious lack of written sources, the Town of Ivanec initiated excavations at the site Old Town of Ivanec, conducted by the Institute of Archaeology since 1998. The excavations continued in 1999, 2002 and 2004. The excavation soon uncovered the most recent layer of the Old Town rather flat beneath the surface, with some visible earlier phases of construction. Most of the gathered finds originate from the late Middle Ages and later, more recent periods. These are primarily fragments of pottery, tiles (among them many ornamented, originating chiefly from the Renaissance), various metal artifacts, fragments of worked stone, glass, etc. Various coins from the sixteenth century and later were found, as well as products made by artisans (such as pipes, keys, etc.).
The medieval Chapel of St. John the Baptist was discovered in the courtyard of the Old Town. It has an east-west orientation, with a rectangular sanctuary, slightly narrower than the nave, and with diagonally constructed heavy pillars. In front of the entrance to the Chapel a porch was unearthed with the remains of columns and an extraordinarily well-preserved pavement. In the Chapel and near its sanctuary, numerous graves were found, among them those having chain links with an S-loop found at the head of the diseased. In the environs of the Chapel, with its specific architecture, individual cultural layers were found, which were largely destroyed by subsequent burials. In the exceptionally black, rich layer, but also in the other excavated layers, pottery fragments were found, ornamented with wavy lines, their texture and decoration suggesting that they were made prior to the thirteenth century.
Many artifacts from various periods of history were discovered, that altogether testify to the continuity of life in the examined area. In mixed layers that were successively dug by periodic burials, we found a significant number of fragments of prehistoric (Late Bronze Age and late La Téne) pottery. In the foundations of the Chapel a fragment of a Classic-era stela was found, built in as a spolium, as well as a fragment of a capital, probably of Romanesque origin, and several Roman bricks or tegulae.

Ključne riječi

Ivanec, Knights Hospitaller, Chapel of St. John the Baptist, Old Town, Middle Ages, architecture

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