Research archive

    Uzdolje, church of St. John

    The archaeological site is located on the southern side of Kosovo polje, at the northern part of the Promina foothill, precisely in the area of the village Uzdolje in the mediaeval Knin-county, which name it carries (Vzdolye, Vsdoglie, Ozdolya, Usdolia, Susdoglie). Due to the find of the partly reconstructed entablature of the altar screen with the engraved year 895 and the name of the Croatian Duke Mutimir-Muncimir, which is considered to originate from this site, it is often mentioned in archaeological literature as St. Luke’s graveyard and church. Based on information from written historical sources and by identifying the work of late mediaeval masters at the discovered remains, it has been determined that it refers to the church of St. John, which was reconstructed in 1458.

    Today, the remains of the mediaeval church are bordered by the present-day Eastern Orthodox cemetery, which has been developing there for the past hundred years. During the occupation of the Knin region, the site was excavated. After its liberation, the Museum HAS explored and preserved the remains of the one-nave church with a semicircular apse in the east. Its length was 12,20 m and its width 6,5 m. The internal parts of the sidewalls were marked with three pairs of pilaster strips in a “T” layout on each side, while the external parts were characterized by buttresses that were added afterwards.

    Pre-Romanesque stone monuments of different architectural ensembles are standing out in the collection of finds. This proves that there have been several interventions in the structures’ interior during the Middle Ages. The most significant one among them is the entirely preserved beam with the engraved name of the county-ruler Ivan (John). The absence of fragments that match the entablature with the name of Duke Muncimir raises questions about the true origin of this monument.

    Thirty graves, which were buried in several different layers, were explored inside the remains of the mediaeval church, but also in its surrounding area. The age determination of the burials is determined by tombstones, exemplars of coins of the Croatian-Hungarian king Louis of Anjou, a silver ring decorated with engravings, gilded three-beaded, but also plain bronze and silver earrings with joints, as well as fragments of majolica and rough-textured pottery of local production.