Tombs under stećci

The monument stećci are primarily the tombstones. Under every one of them, remains of humans who once have lived during late Middle age period. Many graves were dug and destroyed due to belief that the treasure was being hidden in its depths. Basically, findings in graves are rather rare occurrence.

On the other hand, skeletons provide exceptional source of answers to many questions about medieval life in Bosnia and Herzegovina that could not be found in written archives.

The graves can reveal the exact age of the tombstone through the radiocarbon dating analysis of skeletons, revealing the exact information about the age of the tombstone.

Is There Any Gold There?

The most common question that the curious ones oftentimes ask the archaeologists while exploring graves under the tombstones stećci is whether there was some „gold“ in there. This exact question and the curiosity of natives and many foreign visitors of old Bosnian land resulted in opening and robbing graves under the some of the most important tombstones stećci, thus inflicting unmeasurable damage to our cultural-historical heritage. kulturno-historijsko naslijeđe.

The first cases of this vandalism were executed during the Ottoman Empire rule, continued during the Austro-Hungarian monarchy mostly by their soldiers, and unfortunately occasionally continues up to the present day. The tombstones stećci suffered severe damaging for the same reason.

The legends in tradition spoke stories of the evil lurking in graves and tombstones. Curiosity and greed overcame fear of ominous inscriptions and folktales.

Pagan Tradition

The truth is that there are some interesting and valuable findings in tombs, but they are generally rather rare. First of all, one has to be aware of the fact that the tombstones stećci come from Christian background and Christianity in its postulates did not approve of placing objects in graves. This practice is actually pre-Christian i.e. pagan tradition.

Highlighted Findings

Some of the most prominent tomb findings are: the fragments of textile with the Kotromanić royal coat of arms from Arnautovići near Visoko, Mirko Radojević's cape from Koposić near Ilijaš, glass cups from Biskup near Konjic, Carina in Sarajevo and Veličani near Trebinje, silver belt form Bila near Travnik and jewelry from Arnautovići near Visoko and Čipuljić near Bugojno.

Grave Architecture

The sepulchral architecture under the tombstones stećci is diverse and extends from placing the deceased in the plain and simple grave to the constructing complex graves resembling small, primitive mausoleum.

Undoubtedly, the simplest form of funeral is placing the body of the deceased in an oval or rectangular shaped grave with no sepulchral construction whatsoever.

The remains of a wooden caskets, precisely iron axle and nails, were discovered in many tombs. Particularly interesting are the one discovered on Pavlovac near Sarajevo and the other on Kopošić near Ilijaš.

The sepulchral constructions were usually made of stone, varying from one simple piece to the completely stone-built tombs.

Stone Sarcophagi

The massive stone sarcophagus resents the extraordinary type of stone construction. If tombstones stećci make unique phenomenon of the Medieval Europe than stone sarcophagus are equally exceptional

Spread exclusively across the area of Central Bosnia, the late Middle Age sarcophagus represent most prominent, most elaborated and most complex form of sepulchral architecture of the tombstone stećci covered area.

Being highly expensive, this type of sepulchral equipment was used exclusively by the wealthiest members of the medieval society. They are found on the area of Jajce, Sarajevo, Travnik and Zenica.