[In his January 8,
letter to Don
Matteo Musina, Pietro Kandler
referred to hillforts as castellieri or gromazze in Italian and as
gradine or gradishte (gradište) in Slavic.]
The first scientific work to describe gradine as
prehistoric settlements is thought to be that written by
Richard Francis Burton,
then British consul in Trieste, under the title 'Notes on the Castellieri or
Prehistoric Ruins of the Istrian Peninsula' and published in London in 1874, in
Anthropologia (Italian translation:
Burton 1877). Travelling alone or
with local researchers who directed his attention to the phenomenon
(Tommaso Luciani, Antonio
visited a number of Istrian gradine.
In his opinion, evidence that the remains were prehistoric
rather than Roman included the finds of pottery, stone weapons, and tools,
dry-stone ramparts surrounding the settlements, and inside, levelled-off
plateaux and distinctly black soil. He noted that the
gradine were sited on the tops of isolated hills and
on the edges of promontories, overlooking deep valleys, which had been
artificially levelled and surrounded by ramparts. He drew ground plans and
showed the details of construction of
near Labin (Burton 1877: T. 8) and of Monkaštel
near Červar (Poreč)
(Burton 1877: T. 5-6). He visited many other sites, which he described
separately. [Harry Fokkens, Anthony Harding, The Oxford Handbook of the European
Bronze Age, OUP Oxford, 2013.]
By specific authors:
Recent media articles:
Barban (Barbana) -
Bronze Age hillfort.
Beram (Vermo) -
one of the oldest continuously populated settlements
in Istria. Explorations of the prehistoric necropolis on the south
slopes of Beram have shown with certainty that during the Iron Age a
settlement already existed here. A conical hill above a fertile
valley was an ideal place for a hillfort type settlement which
lasted until 8th century B.C., surrounded by a simple rough wall
following the terrain configuration. Over the ruins of these walls
Roman forts and medieval castles were later built. A radial street
pattern founded in some ancient times has been preserved in Beram to
this day. The Beram necropolis
was explored in 1883 by three archaeologists, each working independently
another: Carlo Marchesetti, Karl Moser, and
Andrea Amoroso; who,
combined, explored over 170 graves, and deposited their findings in
the museums of Vienna and Trieste.
Brijuni (Brioni) Island - fortified
Bronze Age settlement on the homonzmous hill north of Verige Bay,
with preserved walls, entrance and necropolis. The hill-fort
population buried their dead under the stone tumulus in a grave of
stone slabs. Such graves with skeleton burials in a bent position
were found on the surrounding hilltops Ciprovac, Antunovac and
Rankun. In the middle of the Bronze Age (14th century B.C.) which is when the
necropolis at Gradina is dated, cemeteries were located along the
settlement fortifications, and beside individual burials in stone
graves there are also family graves.
Brtonigla (Verteneglio) - a picturesque hilltop medieval town on the
foundation of the prehistoric hillfort.
Buje (Buie) - hillfort of St.
Červar Porat (Cervera) - remains of a hillfort are
above the town.
Ćunski (Ciunschi), on Lošinj Island.
- Dvigrad (Duecastelli).
Ilovik (Asinello) Island
- on the hill of Straža.
- near Muggia.
Krkavče (Castel S. Pietro / Carcase) - just outside the village, remains of a prehistoric hillfort and the famous Carcase stele, on which has been carved the figure
of a man, said to date from the La Tène period (2nd
to first century B.C.).
Non lontano dall'abitato paese si possono vedere i
resti di un castelliere preistorico e una famosa stele, detta di Carcase, su
cui è scolpita la figura di un uomo e che si vuole risalga all'età di La
Thene (II-I sec. a.C).
Kunci (Cunzi) -
near Labin (Albona).
Labin (Albona) - a Liburnian hillfort of which
nothing remains visible. 308 Meters altitude.
Marcana (Marzana) - ruins of a hill fort
and ancient graves on Ovcjak hill, west of the village.
Medulin (Medolino) - prehistoric hillforts can be
found on the hill Vrčevan and Cape Kašteja (Punta Kateja).
Montursino - near Vodnjan
Mordele (see Picugi / Pissughi)
- near Poreć, this former hillfort also lies
next to Mali Sveti Andeo Stone Circle, a tholos (see below), but was
destroyed when the Venetians quarried it.
- now Vizace.
Nova Vas (Villanova del Quieto) -
approx. 3.9 km SSE of Brtonigla (Verteneglio).
Ausgrabunden auf dem
Castellier von Villanova am Quieto in Istrien (Deutsche).
- Pićan Pedena).
- Picugi (Pizuge / Pizzughi) - near Poreč
Pula (Pola) - developed out of a hillfort dating 18th-10th
- Roč (Rozzo).
Sv. Katerina (Santa Caterina) Island
the archipelago of Rovinj (Rovigno).
- Uvala Maric - 3 tumulus / zigurat / mound - on the
estate of the Dragonera Roman Villa close to the coast.
Veliki Sveti Anđelo
(Monte S. Angelo) - near Poreč
Vrčin (Monte Ursino) -
Castelliere dell’età del Bronzo, nei pressi di Dignano d’Istria.
All’esterno del suo vallo principale esisteva un sepolcreto
gentilizio formato da 20 tombe a cassetta, ricavate da lastre
calcaree. Le tombe erano circondate da muretti di pietre
quadrangolari, che limitavano una specie di piattaforma, riempita di
pietrisco e terriccio. I cadaveri erano rannicchiati, in posizione
- Žamask (Zamasco / Zumasco) - near Motovun (Montona).
- Zrenj (Sdregna / Stridone) - in nearby Salez (Sale) is the
large hillfort of St. George (Opatija).
Regions near Istria:
Trsat (Tersato) Hillfort
Claustra Alpium Iuliarum (http://www.ars-cartae.com/claustra/claustra.htm)
The Trsat hillfort
is just a few steps from the Church of St.
George and bears witness to the rich past of the
city of Rijeka (Fiume) which spread over both banks of the
Rječina (Fiumara) River. It dates back to the Illyrian
tribe of Yapod in prehistoric times, was passed on to the Romans who built their
fort on this site, and
passed on to
numerous owners, each of whom left their individual mark on the fortification.
The appearance and usage of the hillfort was shaped through the centuries by the Frankopans, the
Habsburgs, the Captains of Bakar and lastly by Count Laval Nugent.
The hillfort has a unique view of the town and Kvarner Bay.
During the summer, it is the today the cultural and artistic center
of Rijeka, hosting art exhibitions, concerts, theatrical
performances and other types of entertainment. An audio-cassette about
the history of the hillfort is available on the site.
prehistoric monument consisting of two or more upright stones supporting a
horizontal stone slab found especially in Britain and France and thought to be a
tomb / burial chamber):
- Tramuntana - near Beli, Island of Cres / Cherso
Tholos / cairn: a round building of classical Greek date and style, or a circular
tomb of beehive shape approached by a horizontal passage in the side of a
Mali Sveti Anđelo (Piccolo S. Angelo) - near
Maklavun - near
village of Brajkovici, Šosići, and Rovinj
Tumulus / zugurat / mound:
- Barbarija (Barbariga) - eight tumuli, near village of Toranj,
on the estate of the Dragonera Roman Villa close to the
- Pula, contrada Valdenaga - Sull'altura detta «monte
di Lezzo»... due grandi tumuli, uno sulla cima del monte,
l'altro più a settentrione. [per
Bernardo Schiavuzzi, "Attraverso l'agro colonico di Pola",
- Stinjan (Stignano) - per
Bernardo Schiavuzzi, "Attraverso l'agro colonico di Pola",