Medieval Jewelry and Burial Assemblages in Croatia

A Study of Graves and Grave Goods, ca. 800 to ca. 1450


Author: Vladimir Sokol
The Croatian medieval archaeological heritage from the 8th to the 15th century consists mostly of jewelry (earrings) findings from cemeteries. This book uses vertical and horizontal stratigraphy, on the basis of around 20,000 burial assemblages from 16 cemeteries (out of several hundred so far excavated in Croatia), to establish relative and absolute chronology of jewelry and burial architecture divided into three horizons and four phases in comparison with materials from neighboring regions of Europe.

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Vladimir Sokol, Ph.D. (2003), is an archaeologist, and the founder and longtime director of the Museum of Prigorje in Sesvete-Zagreb. He has published monographs ( Hrvatska arheološka baština od Jadrana do Save (2006), and Rimski metal s Kuzelina (1998)) as well as many articles on Late Antiquity and the early medieval period in Croatia.
"[This book] is focused on analysis of so-called 'Old-Croat' medieval cemeteries on the Adriatic coast and deep hinterland, with the author aiming to redefine the existing chronologies of those cemeteries through assessment of grave architecture, cemeteries and grave assemblage - with earrings a particular focus.
This is a poorly known field as most of the existing literature is written in Croatian, and so this book, if anything, is important for making this field accessible for a wider reading audience. Sokol offers a meticulous analysis of 16 selected cemeteries, revealing an excellent knowledge of the sites and the existing (Croatian) literature." Danijel Dzino, Macquarie University, in: Medieval Archaeology, 61/1 (2017), pp. 194-195.

Abbreviations x
Introduction 1
part 1
Graves and Material Culture
1 A History of Research 5
The Beginning of Excavations—The First Finds 5
First Classification of Artefacts 5
Modern Research 7
Recent Research (1989–2012) 13
2 Cemeteries and Material Culture 17
Spatial, Temporal and Cultural Characteristics 17
Key Cemeteries 17
3 Cemetery Stratigraphy and the Classification of Material Culture 30
Methodology 30
Cemetery Analysis 31
Relative Chronology and the Interpretation of Groups 82
4 Cemetery Horizons and Material Culture Phases 88
Cemetery Horizons 89
First or Early (Pagan) Horizon (±795–850/855) 89
Second or Middle (Christian) Horizon (}850/855–1090/1110) 93
Third or Late Horizon (±1090/1110–1450) 95
5 The Development of Material Culture: Earrings and Their Evolution 99
PHASE I: Early or Pagan—±?795–850/855 99
PHASE II: Classical—± 850/855–1000 102
PHASE III: Interim ±1000–1090/1110 107
PHASE IV: Late (ca. 1110–1450) 110
6 Grave Architecture 114
General Remarks 114
Interpretation and General Remarks
1 Croat Burial Rites and Belief System 123
Material Culture and Non-Christian Spirituality among Croats—Its Duration and Cessation 124
2 Stone Cists: Late Antique or Early Medieval? 126
3 Burial Customs 129
4 Burial Horizons and Churches 132
5 Cemeteries between the Mountains and the River Sava 136
part 2
1 Earrings as Grave Goods 141
List Sites with Earring Finds 142
2 Medieval Earrings in Croatia 144
Omega-shaped Earrings (no. “1”) 144
Plain Links 144
Plain Links with Pseudo S-loop and Clasp (no. “2”) 144
Plain Links with Thinner Hoop and Spiral Cone Ending (no. “3”) 145
Links with Three Interlaced Pendants on the Lower Part of the Hoop and Spiral Hoops on the
Links (no. “4”) 152
Earrings with Grape-shaped Pendant with Filigree Ornament (no. “5”) 153
Earrings with Stylized Ear-of-wheat Spike (no. “6”) 158
Plain Links with Thinner Hoop, with Loop and Clasp (no. “7”) 159
Ancient-looking Earrings with Oppositely Placed Buds (no. “8”) 159
Ancient-looking Temple Pendants with Three Rings on the Link and Filigree Ornament
(no. “9”) 166
Ancient-looking Earrings with Floral, Omega-shaped Ornaments (no. “10”) 167
Triple-beaded Earrings or Temple Pendants with Bell-shaped Calotte (no. “11”) 167
Finely Cast Grape-shaped Earrings (no. “12”) 174
Filigree Earrings with Almond-shaped Pendant (no. “13”) 174
Earrings with Single, Smooth Beads (no. “14”) 175
Tetra-beaded Temple Pendants with Filigree Ornament (no. “15”) 175
Earrings or Temple Pendants with Single Beads with Filigree Ornament (no. “16”) 186
Earrings or Temple Pendants with Intricately Fashioned, Single Beads with Filigree Ornament
(no. “17”) 186
Earrings or Temple Pendants with Single, Smooth Beads (no. “18”) 187
Earrings or Temple Pendants with Twin Beads Decorated with Filigree Ornament (no. “19”) 187
Plain Links with Straight Open Ends (no. “20”) 193
Earrings with Single, Round Beads (no. “21”) 193
Earrings with Three Round Beads (no. “22”) 202
Temple Pendants with Single, Bi-conical Beads between Two Loops (no. “23”) 202
Temple Pendants with Three, Bi-conical Beads Arranged in a Y-shaped Pattern (no. “24”) 202
Earrings Made of Thin Interwoven Wire (no. “25”) 203
Earrings with Thicker Links and S-shaped Ends (no. “26”) 212
Earrings or Temple Pendants with Three Joints (no. “27”) 212
Earrings with Three Joints Decorated with Filigree (no. “28”) 213
Earrings with Filigree and Granulated Ornament (no. “29”) 213
Earrings with Three, Equally Sized, Round Beads Decorated with Filigree (no. “30”) 222
Triple-beaded Earrings with a Larger Central Bead and Filigree Decoration (no. “31”) 223
Table of Absolute Chronology for Earrings—31 Basic Types 229
Conclusion 232
List of Cited References 237
Index of Proper Names 251
Index of Geographical Names 253
All those interested in medieval Croatia and medieval Europe, especially archaeologists, historians and art historians. The book will be useful for university programmes in archaeology, history and art history.