Research archive

    Klapavice - Crkvine

    The archaeological find spot Crkvine is located two kilometres northeast from Klis along the southern side of the highway Klis-Dugopolje in the village Klapavice. The first archaeological excavations were conducted by Brother Frane Bulić in 1906. The north-eastern part of the complex was explored at this occasion during which a single-nave early Christian church, a water cistern and four mediaeval graves were discovered. Revision excavations at Crkvine were conducted between April and July 2006 during which the existence of two churches was determined; the northern one, which was earlier discovered in the course of the excavations led by Burić, and the southern one with the narthex and the apse set inside the wall. The cistern and baptistery were found on the church’s southern side, whereas two rectangular chambers were revealed on its south-western side. The afore-mentioned chambers are all interconnected. The walls of the complex were erected on the cliff. They were made of semi-treated and irregular carved stone of local origin. The interior of the complex was plastered, as proved by plaster remains that were found on the wall in all rooms. The southern church was even painted. The remains of a plastered flooring can still be recognized in the southern church and in the two chambers on the south-western side.

    Within the scope of these works 25 graves were also explored. The graveyard was, with the exception of a number of graves, located inside the complex of buildings. The grave between the northern apse’ arch of the southern church and the southern wall of the northern church, which was covered by the flooring of the southern church, can be linked to the formation of the entire complex, i.e. it can be dated to the period from the 5th and 6th century. The vaulted crypt and the child’s grave in an amphora, which were found in front of the southern church’s facade, most probably belong to the aforementioned period. The remaining graves were placed there after the destruction of the complex and date to the Middle Ages. Two graves can be chronologically determined based on the find of iron spurs and a single-beaded hair-loop to the 10th century. The other graves that had wreaths of raw stone above the grave are linked to the arrival of the population from the heartland (Bosnia) or the migration of the Vlachs. Venetian coins from the first half of the 16th century were discovered in one of the graves, allowing a rough age determination with regard to their occurrence.

    Although research work has not entirely been concluded at Crkvine, it can be assumed that the graveyard has no consistency in burials. Due to the diverse historical circumstances, it was probably used by smaller communities from the 5th-6th century, thereupon from the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th century and during the 16th century.

    Staff members of the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments that participated in these excavation works are as follows: head Hrvoje Gjurašin; archaeologists Mate Zekan, Maja Petrinec, PhD, Ante Jurčević and Nikolina Uroda, MA; documentalists Silvana Juraga, Maja Marković and Nada Šimundić Bendić; photographer Zoran Alajbeg.