GRADINA – Archeological site on Jelica

Region of Dragačevo is rich of small arceological sites, such are medieval towns in villages Lisa, viča, Vučkovica, Ostra but beside them there is one the most important archeological finding named Gradina.This site is settled between Čačak and Guča, on the Mountain Jelica and considered as th biggest locality in this part of Serbia.

Gradina is mentioned for the first time, by Janko Šafarik. This recognized scientist performed research in little town Guča and its area, during the 1865. He described

Gradina as site with remains of walls (1 meter height), and leavings of the towers and building, mostly made by limestone and mortar.

Šafarik wasn`t the only scientist who was attracted by this important finding. Austrian archaeologist Kanic was researhing remains also, and concluded that Gradina is fortress from ancient time. He made sketch of basic, which still has been used for exploring.

Dr Mihailo Milinkovic, professor of University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philosophy, took over research of Gradina, using probe for studying and these explorations have been performed until today.

Milinkovic considered that is permanent residence and shelter from early Byzantine period (7th century AD). According his notes Gradina is settled in period of migrations (during the reign of emperor Justinian), primarily as protection of tribe attack (Avars, Germans and Slavs). One little Avars arrow , found in this site, confirms this assertion.

Gradina is divided in two parts: Uptown and subjacent town.

Uptown had 3,5ha extensive area and hexagonal shape. On the top of the hill was tower, which basic had diameter of 25m. This part of Gradina is damaged less then lower part, because Uptown was unapproachable for attackers. Within walls were three churches. One of them was built on the lofty part of the hill with view at both sides of Jelica. There are remains of graveyards from the 6th century AD, Many sculptural objects are found in this place what indicates that Gradina was Episcopalian center.

Subjacent town consists many remains of churches, baptistery and frescoes. Also, here is discovered basic of the building with residential function, with many objects like decorative figures, stone wares, cutlery, pots of clay… Ornate amphoras are interesting, because it shows merchant links with Mediterranean. Remains of pillars are with embossed patterns, with motifs of ivy and vine. It was unusual for Illyrian tribes.

All these discoveries show us increased level of development of crafts and economy from that time.

Justinian`s goldfinc is especially salient. It dated from 6th century AD and shows us presence of rich class of citizens.

All in all, we can say Gradina was military, church and craft center.

For scientists was interesting one fibula, brooch, also found in site. Fibula is glued with patch of clothes. It assumed that belonged Germans, who were residents of Gradina, too. This is unknown jewellery for other sites. Only in Istria is found similar one. Some reamins, like posthumous remains, belong Roman tribes.

Bastioms were wide approximately 1,5m. In their structure are founs trace of glass. Obviously this glass was used for making walls, like mortar (prepared in special objects).

The best preserved is one building, where are found the biggest number of remains. It consists of three chambers. During excavation was observed ash, that testifies there was a fire. Maybe, that was the main reason of annihilation. Probably fire was broken during some of the attacks.

Archaeologists were found trenches, precisely mural tromb in small slope. This hasn`t been explored enough.

Most of graves belonged children, because here is found few small sceletons. This is the placee where is excavated lot of jewellery, whole specimen or parts of them. Mosstly bracelets. This jewellery was buried together with deceased.

Tombs look very simple, without coffins. There are examples of double entombment.

Nonetheless, it`s important to mention the discovery od Basilica, settled southwest part of the hill. Near Basilica is located many graves. This Basilica originally was with one nave, today we can see three naves in its basic. The front of Basilica is faced at East. There are traces of ceramics in walls and base of Basilica. There are Tables of rocks, written on Latin. Many objects are found here, like bronze bell, casrophagus, and one object with unknown purpose eith 4 sprockets.

Based on all of the above we can say Gradina is one of the biggest site from Early Byzantine period. This is with exceptional importance for Guča, Dragačevo, even for Serbia. Explorations still haven`t increased enough to show us clear picture and complexity of this settlement that`s why we don`t know many answers about migrations, influence of tribes and chronology of historical events.

Today, Gradina is under protection as very important monument, because the site is multilayered, so we can see remains from prehistorically to medieval period.

Unfortunately, this place is crashed and desecrated in 1950s. Then was made the main road Guča – Čačak and many others small roads in Dragačevo. Builders of roads used material from Gradina.

The main table, with originally name of settlement was stolen or used also for building roads. Only part of remains exists today and most of them is kept in Museum of Čačak.

GRAD – Archeological site on Ćava

Between two villages Lis and Turica, only 5km southwestern of Guča, is archeological site, ruin, named Grad (Town).
This fortification is settled on the top of the hill Ćava (667m elevation), above the left bank of the river Bjelica.

The position is very approachable and ably chosen, forasmuch circumstances from that period. This settlement is built on the hill for security and controlling lower parts.
Grad is dated from 6th Century AD, and belongs Early Byzantine Epoch, before overrun of Slavs tribes.
Milan Stanić was the first person who mentioned Grad, as archeological site, as note in so-called “Folk Calendar of Dragačevo”, in 1870. This is important archeological project in that time.

The next note about this site was built by Felix Kanic, famous writer. In his observation Grad was defined as Roman castell – watchtower, used for security of Roman transport network from that time.

Famous Serbian ethnologist Jovan Erdeljanović also researched facts about Grad.

Later explorations are based on probe excavation, perform by Desk for medieval archeology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade and Institute of archeology from Belgrade. They found many remains, and the most important are parts of church and workshop. There are walls of height 2 – 3m.

According objects, found in ruin, there were performed many types of crafts.
The church was with one nave and represents one of the oldest monument from the Early Byzantine time.

Fortification consists two parts: Uptown (area of 155x50m) and Suburb (area of 140x210m). Defended area was diffused 4ha. Suburb had function to guard whole area.

More approachable part is one northern part of the hill Ćava. There are ruins of two towers, as the Gate of Grad.

There are many objects, found and excavated in this site, foe example, pots, osseous combs and the most important thing, goldfinch forged with face of emperor Justinian, In Constantinople, dated from period between 542. and 565. AD.

From the top of Ćava citizens could see Gradina on mountain Jelica, with air route of 9km.

Beside these sites, there are many others in Dragačevo, near Guča ( Ostra- Sokolica, Viča-Stojkovića gradina etc.).

Today, we can say that it hasn`t payed attention enough from people of Serbia, because the importance of these sites is immeasurable. The first reason is insufficient exploring, then dereliction.

We are using the opportunity to mention beautiful landscapes with rich nature, what is the one more reason why citizens of Grad chose this part of Serbia for their settlement.