Affordable Access


Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments; [email protected]
Publication Date
  • Agricultural Science
  • Archaeology
  • Earth Science


This paper presents an attempt to determine the structural disposition of an early mediaeval village (villae) on the basis of archaeological finds, historical documents and toponymy. The model for such researches was the village of St. Juraj (George) of Putalj, later Sućurac, one of many mediaeval villages situated on the slopes of mountain Kozjak not very near the coast. These villages placed along the border of the fertlle Kaštelansko polje in the 15th and 16th centuries, threatened by Turkish assaults moved to the coast around newly bullt feudal fortresses (Kaštela). In this way present day seven Kaštelas were born, seven rural settlements of central type, so different in their structural disposition from their original predecessors. One of them is also Kaštel Sućurac which was built on the coast near the fortress of the Split archbishop. Its predecessor was the village Sućurac (villa Suzzuraz) named after the church of St. Juraj of Putalj, so that the earlier name of the village was villa sancti GeorgU. The idea of village (villa) comprises the teritoriai community of rural type which has administrative and fiscal character. The settlement of such a type was divided in smaller settlements, hamlets (vici) on the basis of social structure (tribal organization) and geomorphological characteristics of the territory as well as natural sources necessary for life (water, agricultural land, woods, pastures). The vici were not mentioned in documents, since village (villa) was the basic fiscal unit. Such themes were not sufficiently treated in scholarly literature on the subject, so that some archaeological sites on the territory of the village of St. Juraj (necropoles, churches) were supposed to belong to separate settlements and were even considered to move from one site to another. The phaenomenon of removal of villages and foundation of the new ones is well-known in the mediaeval history of Europe, but is usually took place on vast areas and bigger distances. It can hardly be expected on a small territory of mediaeval Sućurac which was surrounded on all sides by other villages. The fact that only one village (villa sancti Georgii, that is villa Suzzuraz) was registered in documents seems worth mentioning. Archaeological sites up to now supposed to be separate villages, are now explained as a net of hamlets (vici) -cfr. map. Two early mediaeval cemeteries belonging to Croato-Dalmatian culture (9th -llth centuries) are known on the territory of villae Suzzuraz. They are Gajine and Orišine which both lack cult structures and neither outlasted 11th century. The third necropolis is found around the pre-Romanesque church of St. Juraj from the 9th century. On the basis of scarce evidence the necropolis is dated to the 11th till the 15th centuries, in spite of certain weak indications suggesting earlier date for some burials. The fourth cemetery found around the church of Gospe na Hladi could not be dated earlier of l5th century. Gajine and Orišine cemeteries belong to two hamlets (vici) of villa Suzzuraz. Another vicus could expected around St. Juraj. if future excavations bring to light burials earlier than 11th century. The vicus near Gospe na Hladi did not yield any early mediaeval finds, thus suggesting that it was used in the later Middle Ages, because of demographic growth. The precise sites of settlements can hardly be accurately located, since they were not excavated. That is why they are only marked as possible locations on the map. The fact that all cemeteries, except that of St. Juraj, were out of function from the 11th century on seems worth mentioning. The same is with cemeteries in some nearby villages like Bijaći and should be given due attention in future excavations. The key to the problem should be looked for in socia-religious relationships in the Middle Ages which in the 11th century Croatia and Da1matia lived through one evolutive phase of its development.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.