Modern Era – Today
In 1906, when the owner Edvard Dolenc built a hunting lodge of top of Gradišče, sheltered by high rocks, he came across some individual pottery fragments. Later, while making a garden under the lodge, he found more artefacts and donated them to the National Museum in Ljubljana. While pottery fragments were prevalent among them, there were also some metal and glass objects.20
In July 1939, Rajko Ložar, a curator from the National Museum, started his excavations at the site. The first excavation was made at a high embankment raising near the path, southwest under the lodge. Ložar’s assumptions about architectural remains were proven right. Under the sod, the researchers found a 1.5 m wide wall, in which there was a gate filled with ruins. There was also a stone building leaning to the wall. Fig. 20 21
Rajko Ložar intended to continue with the excavations the following year, but that did not happen. It was only in the second half of the 1960s when Gradišče above Bašelj was included in another research project. This time, the research was conducted by a team from the Museum of Gorenjska, the Institute for the Protection of Monuments in Kranj, and the Kamnik Museum, who performed field research and recorded castles and their ruins in the territory of Gorenjska.22
More and more finds were being acquired illegally by private excavators using metal detectors and thus strongly endangering the site and its expressiveness. Therefore in 1992, a team from the Institute of Archaeology of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts conducted a topographical survey of the site and collected more than 40 finds.
In 1998, a team from the National Museum of Slovenia in Ljubljana, led by Dr. Timotej Knific, conducted an excavation at the endangered site. Its location was near the western wall, where a gate and a stone building were discovered in 1939. The excavation confirmed many of Ložar’s statements and assumptions.23
In the register of immovable cultural heritage led by the Slovenian Ministry of Culture, Gradišče above Bašelj has entry number 5547 (heritage registration number) as ‘Bašelj – the hilltop settlement of Gradišče’. By a decree issued by the Municipality of Preddvor in 2006, the site was declared a monument of local importance. Cultural monuments of local importance are areas or buildings of exceptional cultural value, representing excellent achievements of creativity and crucial or rarely preserved documents of a certain period of development on local level.
Today, Gradišče is mostly covered in vegetation, except on the top of the hill, where there is a small holiday cottage belonging to the present owner. The excavated remains of the wall and the building on the western part can be seen in the terrain configuration, but have not been presented. A macadam road leads past the site towards the Bašeljski preval mountain pass. The site has been included in the so called Gamsova pot (Chamois Trail) theme trail, which begins at the log cabin of the Bašelj Tourist Society, leads past the village of Laško, the Dom pod Lovrencem mountain hut and the church of St Lawrence to Gradišče above Bašelj and then descends into the valley of the Belica river. Offering nice views, the Chamois Trail connects important natural and cultural heritage sites in the area. Beside Gradišče above Bašelj, there are the church of St Lawrence above Bašelj and upper stream of the Belica.24
20 Ložar, Rajko, ‘Staroslovansko in srednjeveško lončarstvo v Sloveniji (Early Slavic and Medieval Pottery Production in Slovenia)’, Glasnik Muzejskega društva za Slovenijo 20, Ljubljana, 1939, p. 184
Knific, Timotej, ‘Arheološko najdišče Gradišče nad Bašljem (The Gradišče above Bašelj Archaeological Site)‘, in Roblek, Tone (ed.), Preddvor v času in prostoru, Zbornik Občine Preddvor, Preddvor, 1999, pp. 55, 58 – 59
21 Ibid., pp. 59 – 60
22 Ibid., p. 63
23 Ibid., pp. 55 – 67
Knific, Timotej, ‘Gradišče nad Bašljem (Gradišče above Bašelj)’, in Božič, D. et al., Zakladi tisočletij. Zgodovina Slovenije od neandertalcev do Slovanov, Ljubljana, 1999, pp. 398–401