Saturday, 5 August 2017


From a human perspective, perhaps most noteworthy about the Slana Voda burial (as is the case with the mass graves at Mahrevići and Vir) is the fact that the bodies are of male and female ‘warriors’, i.e. of both men and women, arranged together with their weapons.

 The positioning of the bodies, burial ritual, and accompanying archaeological material at Slana Voda indicate that this a war burial carried out at the middle of the 2nd c. BC (Zotović op. cit.), which coincides chronologically with the first historical accounts of conflict between the Roman Empire and the Illyrian tribes (see ‘Scordisci Wars’ article).

The Mass Grave from Slana Voda

“To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of Empire; they make a solitude and call it peace”.
Chieftain Calgacus

In the year 1971 an extraordinary archaeological discovery was made at the locality of Slana Voda (Salty Water), near the village of Krajčinovići, in southwestern Serbia. A mass burial containing 25 partially burnt skeletons was found, along with a wealth of archaeological material, including pottery, bronze dishes, jewelry, 60 iron swords, and other weaponry (Zotović R. Social and Cultural Aspects of the Burial Krajčinovići –Slana Voda (South-West of Serbia, Middle of II c. BC. In: Acta Terrae Septemcastrensis, VI, 1, 2007. Pp. 199-205).

 The site is remarkable for a number of reasons, foremost among them the fact that it had previously been thought that his part of western Serbia was uninhabited in the late Iron Age, i.e. this was the first archaeological material to be found in the area dating between the 5th c. BC and the Roman period (loc cit.). Therefore, the site provided the first confirmation that western Serbia was indeed inhabited in the pre-Roman period.

  1. the archaeological material from the necropolis from Komini near Pljevlja shows, althought from the early time of Roman conquest, autochtonic elements and the similar archaeological material and in some cases the way of burial with the far away territory of the middle part of roman province of Dalmatia, the territory of Japodi and later on Dalmati,
2. the all archaeological material including also the epigraphic from the period from I-IV c. on the territory of the western Serbia and north of Montenegro shows very long stays of tradition of older iron age (for example jewlery, pottery, clouths), and 3. the epigaphic material shows, especially from the surounding of Pljevlja and Prijepolje, appearence and existing of celtic names. So, on the two necropolis around Pljevlja, socalled necropolis Komini I and II, archaeological material shows that the pottery from the period of I c. AD have the shapes which point on the older tradition of halshtat and latene period (Cermanović- Kuzmanović 1980, 231, 228-229). Also, on this territory there are appereance of the scythian pottery, as well as the possible symbiosis of scythian and ilirian cultural elements on the roman grave monuments, if we speak about the style on the relief presentation on it (Зотовић 1995, 83-88).

Epigraphic material from this territory, which we can marked as a part of the eastern part of the roman province of Dalmatia, shows also the analogy with the epigraphic material from the middle Dalmatian coast, and with them made the group which Katičić named as the unique group of the south-east name's territory (Katičić 1962;1963). The appereance of the grave monuments in the shape of cube with the pyramide, which is characteristic only for the eastern part of the province of Dalmatia (to which also belongs with the similar cultural and ethnic characteristics the territory of the eastern part of nowdays Bosnia and Hercegowina), belongs also to the inheritance of the older mediteranian type of cipus which get another morphological picture in the time of the roman rule (Zotović 1995, 30-39; 199).

Illyrian sica amongst weapons,
Scythian style jewelry
while Snake shaped earrings might be Illyrian considering their cosmology .

The material from the burials is also particularly noteworthy, consisting of mostly Scythian material (with older Illyrian influences to be observed in some of the pottery), and imported Hellenistic pottery and jewelry, which illustrates trade contacts between the Scythian  population in this area and the Hellenistic world. Two further burials across the border in modern Bosnia Herzegovina were excavated in the 20th c. at Mahrevići by Čajniče (Truhelka,  Ć. 1909. Gromila latenske dobe u Mahrevićima kod  Čajniča,  Glasnik Zemaljskog muzeja u Sarajevu XXI, p. 425-442) and Vir by Posušje (Marić, Z. 1962. Vir kod Posušja, Glasnik Zemaljskog muzeja u Sarajevu N.S. XVII, p. 63-72). At both of these sites the burial rituals (positioning of the bodies etc.) and archaeological material uncovered were similar to the Slana Voda burial.

No comments:

Post a Comment