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Gradišče above Bašelj

The hilltop settlement of Gradišče in the foothills of the mountain Storžič had an exclusive value in the Early Medieval Carniola. Uncovered layers with numerous iron objects and ceramic fragments from the period between the end of the 8th century and the beginning of the 10th century were found at the place.

  • Personalities

Personalities

Rajko Ložar

Rajko Ložar (1904–1985) Fig. 21, director of the Ethnographic Museum in Ljubljana and an archaeologist by education, was active also as an art historian, ethnologist and literary critic, and he was a prominent figure in the country’s cultural life before the Second World War.25 In 1939, Rajko Ložar, a curator of the National Museum, led the first archaeological excavations at Gradišče above Bašelj and described them in his report ‘Gradišče above Bašelj – a new stronghold of Old Slovene Culture’. Due to war circumstances, however, the report remained in typescript.26 Ložar also wrote an extensive study on the finds that came into the National Museum. The chapter on pottery was published 27, but the chapter on metal and glass artefacts remained in handwriting and has been held by the Institute of Archaeology of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.28

Fig. 21: Rajko Ložar (on the right) at excavations in Novo mesto in 1941. Credit: National Museum of Slovenia

Fig. 21: Rajko Ložar (on the right) at excavations in Novo mesto in 1941. Credit: National Museum of Slovenia

The warrior from Gradišče above Bašelj

Based on the many items of military equipment, the image of the warrior from Gradišče above Bašelj has been reconstructed.Fig. 22 Considering the number of well-made and richly decorated pieces of equestrian equipment (stirrups, bridle bits, strap dividers, mounts and saddle buckles), mounted warriors represented an important force in the fight against enemy.

Fig. 22: Reconstruction of the warrior from Gradišče above Bašelj. Credits: National Museum of Slovenia, Miha Knific with collaborators, Tomaž Lauko

Fig. 22: Reconstruction of the warrior from Gradišče above Bašelj. Credits: National Museum of Slovenia, Miha Knific with collaborators, Tomaž Lauko

Paul the Deacon

Paul the Deacon (around 720–799), Latin Paulus Diaconus, born in Cividale del Friuli, Lombardy, died in Montecassino, Benevento, was a Lombard historian and poet, whose Historia Langobardorum is the principal source on his people. In the ‘History of the Lombards’ he wrote about the Lombard duke (dux) Ratchis and his army, who invaded the territory of Carniola, the homeland of the Slavs (Sclavorum patria). That was the first mention of the name Carniola, the land where Gradišče above Bašelj was located.

The inhabitants of Carniola

The inhabitants of Carniola (Carniolenses) lived in the land which most likely included the present Gorenjska region, the Cerkno Hills, and a part of the Notranjska region, and was described already by the anonymous geographer from Ravenna. The Frankish royal annals mention the inhabitants of Carniola, who lived along the Sava river, and who joined the rebellion of Ljudevit Posavski, until they were again subdued by the Franks in 820.

Members of the ruling class

Members of the ruling class fled to Gradišče above Bašelj in the restless period at the end of the 8th century and in the 9th century. Their presence is attested by many skilfully forged and decorated iron objects, as well as luxury bronze and gilded pieces imitating Carolingian models. Fig. 19

References

25 More on his life and work:
Gabrovec, Stane, ‘Rajko Ložar (1904–1985)’, Arheološki vestnik, 38, Ljubljana, 1987, pp. 435–441.
Ložar Podlogar, Helena, ‘Rajko Ložar – upravnik Etnografskega muzeja 1940–1945 (Rajko Ložar – Director of the Ethnographic Museum)’, Etnolog, n. v. 13, Ljubljana, 2003, pp. 97–107
Slavec Gradišnik, Ingrid (ed.), ‘Pretrgane korenine. Sledi življenja in dela Rajka Ložarja (Displaced Roots. The life and work of Rajko Ložar)’, Opera ethnologica slovenica, Ljubljana, 2005

26 The report was published by Timotej Knific in Zbornik Občine Preddvor:
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. 55–67

27 Ložar, Rajko, ‘Staroslovansko in srednjeveško lončarstvo v Sloveniji (Early Slavic and Medieval Pottery Production in Slovenia)’, Glasnik Muzejskega društva za Slovenijo, 20, Ljubljana, 1939, pp. 180–225

28 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