Sibenik City Museum – Croatia : Velika Mrdakovica

Name of archaeological site: CRKVINA (Biskupija)
Type of archaeological site: church
Location: near by City of Knin

The village Biskupija is located about five kilometres southeast of town Knin. Judging by the number of excavated ruler churches, the area of modern Biskupija was one of the centres of the early medieval Croatian state. The largest and most significant among the ruler churches was the church of Saint Mary at the site Crkvina. Prior to the construction of the church, during the 8th and early 9th century, it was the location of a cemetery with rich burials of warriors-horsemen with Carolingian equipment. Successively, the basilica dedicated to Saint Mary was built in the first half of the 9th century. The church had three naves, with masoned rectangular columns and three rectangular inscribed apses. A three-part anteroom (the so-called westwerk) with a bell tower was added on the west side. In the 11th century, Saint Mary became a cathedral, i.e. the seat of the Croatian bishop, with the first known bishop being named Marko. A large number of relief-decorated stone fragments found during archaeological excavations of Crkvina shows that the liturgical stone furniture has been changed several times; here the altar rail with the image of the Virgin and the ciborium (baldachin above the altar), exhibited at the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments in Split, stand out as exceptionally significant examples of pre-Romanesque sculpture. The three-nave basilica was probably burned down at the end of the 12th or during the 13th century. Soon afterwards, above the former basilica, a small single-nave church of the same saint titular was built, which today can be recognized only in the foundation walls placed between the columns of the older basilica. Today, the Church of Our Lady, built in 1938 according to the design of Ivan Meštrović, is located immediately beside the site.

Name of archaeological site: BRIBIRSKA GLAVICA (Bribir)
Type of archaeological site: settlement
Location: near by City of Skradin

Bribirska Glavica is one of the most important archaeological sites in Croatia, with over 2500 years of the settlement continuity. The excavations began in 1910 and, up to date, one third of the settlement area has been revealed (total area within the defensive walls is about 72.000 m2). In addition to the architectural remains from the various historical periods presented in situ, a museum collection was also open at the site. Bribirska Glavica began its life in the 1st millennium BC (in the Iron Age) as a fortified settlement of the Liburnian tribe Varvarinae. At the turn of the era, the settlement named Varvaria evolves into a Roman town. In the 1st century, a massive defensive wall was built, which is today best seen on the eastern side, along the access road. In the Middle Ages, however, the town was known under the name Brebera, and was particularly significant in the 12th and the 13th century as the seat of the powerful dynasty of Šubić. Among the members of the Šubić family, Paul I had risen the most on the political scene. He was honoured Ban of Croatia by the king of Hungary, and was later also awarded with the title Lord of Bosnia. The presented remains of the Gothic church of Saint Mary and the Franciscan monastery, that were destroyed in the Ottoman attacks in the 16th century, are dating from that period. At that time, due to the intense war conflicts between Venice and Ottomans, life on Glavica ceases, and a new village modern Bribir is soon to be formed.

Name of archaeological site: PRIŽBA (Srima)
Type of archaeological site: twin church
Location: near by City of Šibenik

In a valley in the hinterland of the village Srima, an Early Christian twin church complex, belonging to the type of sacral architecture called basilicae geminae (“twin churches”) was discovered and explored during the eighties of the last century. They are two connected single-nave churches, where the northern church was built first, and the southern one was then annexed. In both churches the sanctuary area (presbytery) was located within the semicircular apse, and from the rest of the church it was separated by a stone altar fence whose base is visible in the floor. The altar fences were decorated with characteristic Early Christian relief ornaments. The northern part of the complex houses a baptistery that was first executed in the floor in form of a cross-shaped indentation with an access staircase, to finally reach the shape of a circle. The twin churches in Srima were built during the 6th century, and the stone furniture was modified for the last time in the 7th century.

Name of archaeological site: VELIKA MRDAKOVICA
Type of archaeological site: settlement
Location: near by City of Vodice

The archaeological site Velika Mrdakovica is located in the hinterland of the town Vodice. At the top of the eponymous hill with a great view on Adriatic islands, Dinara and Velebit mountain chain a settlement was inhabited around 1000 years (7th century BC – end of the 1th century AD). Latest excavations at Velika Mrdakovica has began in 2011. and it last till today. It was a very prosperous Liburnian and Roman city (Arausona). At necropolis and settlement we have find many luxurious and rare items from prehistory to Roman times. New archaeological excavations wich took a place in 2014 during a EU project „Preparatory and archaeological works on the archaeological site Velika Mrdakovica / Pripremni i arheološki radovi na lokalitetu Velika Mrdakovica“, HERA-FB2-W-02/14, revealed about 1500 m2 of settlement area, with a series of rooms streets and passages.The excavated part of the settlement (around 20 percent of total area) is located right next to the main city entrance, and a segment of the monumental city walls is also defined. This archaeological site is highly visible and very interested tourist destination.