Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Late antique basilica in Oborci, the archaeological site

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Status of monument -> National monument

             Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 20 to 26 January 2004 the Commission adopted a






            The archaeological site of the late antique basilica in Oborci is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument is located on cadastral plot no. 1033/2 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. no. 1278/4 (old survey), land registry entry no. 1832, cadastral municipality Oborci, Municipality Donji Vakuf, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The National Monument consists of the archaeological site with the remains of a late antique basilica in Oborci and the movable heritage items found on the archaeological site, which are held in the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo and listed in the inventory registers of the Museum.

            The provisions relating to protection measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of the Federation of  BiH nos. 2/02 and 27/02) shall apply to the National Monument.




            The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Government of the Federation) shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, conserve, and display the National Monument.

            The Government of the Federation shall be responsible for providing the resources needed to draw up and implement the necessary technical documentation for the protection of the National Monument.

            The Commission to Preserve National Monuments (hereinafter: the Commission) shall determine the technical requirements and secure the funds for preparing and setting up signboards with the basic data on the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




            To ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument, the following measures are hereby stipulated:

            Protection Zone I consists of the area defined in Clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision.  The following protection measures shall apply in this zone:

Ÿ          all works on the site are prohibited other than research, conservation and restoration works, including those designed to display the monument, with the approval of the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority),

Ÿ          the walls shall be cleared of vegetation and accumulated earth posing a danger to the structure of the monument and preventing it from being properly displayed,

Ÿ          the site of the monument shall be open and accessible to the public and may be used for educational and cultural purposes.

            Protection Zone II consists of c.p. nos. 1032/2, 1032/3, 1033/1, 1032/1, 1033/3, 1989, 1034, 1039, and 1040.

            In this zone the following protection measures shall apply:

Ÿ         the erection of commercial manufacturing facilities is prohibited

Ÿ         the dumping of waste is prohibited

Ÿ         the rehabilitation, reconstruction and adaptation of buildings that existed prior to 1992 shall be permitted and the interpolation of new residential buildings shall be allowed, subject to respecting the conditions of a maximum height of 6.50 m. to the base of the roof frame, i.e. two storeys, and maximum dimensions of 12 x 10 m, with a roof pitch of 45o, clad with tiles.  Detailed planning documentation and building permits for the construction of new buildings must have the approval of the heritage protection authority.




            The removal of the movable items specified in Clause 1 of this Decision (hereinafter: the movable items) from Bosnia and Herzegovina is prohibited.

            By way of exception to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Clause, the temporary removal from Bosnia and Herzegovina of the movable items for the purposes of display or conservation shall be permitted if it is established that conservation works cannot be carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            Permission for the temporary removal of the movable items from Bosnia and Herzegovina under the conditions stipulated in the preceding paragraph shall be issued by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, if it is determined beyond doubt that it will not jeopardize the said items in any way.  In granting permission for the temporary removal of the items, the Commission shall stipulate all the conditions under which the removal may take place, the date by which the collection shall be returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the responsibility of individual authorities and institutions for ensuring that these conditions are met, and shall notify the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the relevant security service, the customs authority of  Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the general public accordingly.




            All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are hereby revoked.




            Everyone, and in particular the competent authorities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Canton, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the preservation thereof.




            The Government of the Federation, the Ministry of regional planning, the Federation heritage protection authority, and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II to VI of this Decision, and the Authorized Municipal Court shall be notified for the purposes of registration in the Land Register.




            The elucidation and accompanying documentation form an integral part of this Decision, which may be viewed by interested parties on the premises or by accessing the website of the Commission (http://www.aneks8komisija.com.ba) 




            Pursuant to Art. V para 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, decisions of the Commission are final.




            This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption and shall be published in the Official Gazette of BiH.


            This Decision has been adopted by the following members of the Commission: Zeynep Ahunbay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović,  Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.


Chair of the Commission 

Ljiljana Ševo

No. 05.2-2-1044/03-3

20 January 2004




E l u c i d a t i o n




            Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina  and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of  BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a petition for the property in question has been submitted or not.

            At a session held on 1 to 2 July 1999 the Commission issued a Decision to add the archaeological site of the late antique basilica in Oborci, municipality Donji Vakuf, to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, numbered as 201.

            Pursuant to the provisions of the law, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching a final decision to designate the Property as a National Monument, pursuant to Article V of Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.




            In the procedure preceding the adoption of a final decision to proclaim the property a national monument, the following documentation was inspected:

Ÿ          Documentation on the location and current owner and user of the property (copy of cadastral plan and copy of land registry entry)

Ÿ          Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data of war damage, data on restoration or other works on the property, etc.

Ÿ          Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision.


            The findings based on the review of the above documentation and the condition of the site are as follows:


1. Details of the property


            The village of Oborci lies alongside the main Travnik-Donji Vakuf road.  The late antique basilica was built on a small elevation known as Glavica or Crkvina, in the very centre of the village.  The site is exposed to high winds and marked diurnal temperature variations.

Historical information

            During the Roman period the region was known for its busy life.  The Roman road from the Vrbas valley for Turbe and Travnik passed through Oborci.  The inhabitants were mainly engaged in agriculture and iron smelting.  About 500 metres from the basilica, the remains of Roman buildings were found which probably belonged to a farm of some kind.  There were finds of slag iron in a number of places, two very close to the basilica.

            The archaeological material from a tomb chamber found inside the basilica suggests that the region was exposed to the cultural, and perhaps also the political, domination of the Ostrogoths. The austere fixtures of the basilica reveal that it served a village community.        

            The site was vandalized for the first time in 1930, when local people searching for buried treasure destroyed the eastern part of the apse and the altar area.  In 1943, a bunker was built on the archaeological site with deep trenches, used to survey the nearby road.  When this was done most of the cultural strata were buried and the west wall was damaged.

            In 1956 the site was again badly damaged by the construction of a detached house.  The owner of the land on Crkvina dug out foundations on part of the ruins of the basilica and tomb chamber, and only later notified the relevant authorities.  That same year, research and conservation works were carried out.


2. Description of the property

            The basilica has rectangular ground plan, measuring 15.45 x 19.72 m, lying as usual east-west.  It consists of a vestibule (measuring 10.67 x 4.20 m) and a nave which widens at the presbytery into wings and ends in a semicircular apse with subselia.  The south wall of the vestibule has an entrance to two adjoining premises the purpose of which is not known.  There is a similar area on the other side, entered from the north wing.  The north side wall is longer than the south, and together with the apse encloses a small room that was also entered from the north wing.

            There were two columns between the nave and the presbytery, probably belonging to the triumphal arch of the altar railing.  All that survives of the column on the north side is the base, and of the one to the south part of the column itself.  The base consisted of a plinth 62 cm long, with the transition to the column effected not by a torus and trochilus but merely a conical transition.  The base and lower part of the column were made of a single piece of stone.  This is typical of 5th and 6th century architecture.

            The foundations of the basilica were of stone laid in several courses one above the other.  River pebbles and stone from a nearby quarry were used for the walls. Only a few of the stones are roughly cut.  The stone was not laid in precise courses, and in places the stones are set vertically.  Blocks of tufa were used for the corners and the door jambs between the two rooms to the south.  The walls are 60 cm thick, except at the south end of the west wall which is 50 cm thick.  The mortar used as bonding in the walls consists of lime and ground tufa. Part of the plaster has survived on the lower part of the inside wall of the apse, neatly applied and without a final coat.  The plaster consisted of a large quantity of lime and some sand and belonged to the original building, the floor level of which was 57 cm lower than the one found during excavations.  Both inside and outside the apse a large quantity of tufa blocks was found measuring between 25 and 30 cm long, of varying widths and 5 to 6 cm thick.  Judging from their shape, they must have been part of a vaulted structure, probably the dome of the apse.  The wider faces of the blocks were coated with red (cinnabar) liquid mercuric oxide of 6,5 to 8 cm.  This coating was probably intended to protect them from precipitation.

            During the excavations, two floor levels were discovered.  The original building had a single floor level throughout, with a thickness of 10 cm.  The floor structure was poorly prepared and its poor quality led to its disintegration.  It consisted of a layer of tufa and a little lime.  At a later stage the floor was covered over in the nave and presbytery and a new floor was laid throughout the basilica, consisting of a stone base layer, a coating of lime and tufa sand (10 cm thick) and a final coat of a mixture of solid lime mortar (1 cm thick).

            The windows have not survived; all that was found were a few shards of thin window pane, from which it is impossible to guess at their shape or arrangement in the building.

            The basilica probably had timber ceiling joists.  The thick layer of soot from burned timber covering the floor of the basilica when the excavations were carried out suggests that the roof frame was also timber.  No shards of tegula or imbrex were found, suggesting that the roof cladding was of shingles (Đ. Basler, Naše starine VI, 61).

             Traces of stone subselia were found in the apse, remaining to a length of 1.80 m and consisting of two rows of stone bonded with mortar. The benches were 40 cm wide and 45 cm high.

Tomb chamber           

            Four masonry tomb chambers were found inside the basilica.

            Chamber I (measuring 2.30 x 1.65 x 1.53 m) was in the vestibule, by the entrance to the basilica.  It was constructed of blocks of tufa, vaulted over and roughly plastered.  The chamber lay north-south.  To the north was a covered entrance passageway 1.35 m long and 0.57 m wide.  On both long sides of the chamber was a masonry kline (a couch on which the deceased was laid).  The excavations revealed two burials, both in the gap between the klines.  As well as the skeletons, six metal clasps from a coffin were found in the layer of mortar and soil.

            Chamber II (measuring 2.30 x 1.70 x 1.59 m) was in the north-west corner of the basilica.  It was constructed of tufa, and plastered.  The chamber was reached through a vaulted opening in the west wall. The entrance was 50 cm wide and 52 cm high.  The klines were 53 cm high, 62 cm wide and linked at the base of the chamber by a 50 cm wide wall.  There were two steps by the entrance.  The builder had left the impression of his shoe on the south kline, and the dents left by his knees are also visible in a few places.  The chamber was sealed by a finely worked mudstone slab.  Two burials were found in the chamber. The bones were scattered over the klines and the passage between them.  No gravegoods were found.  The clasps and nails of a coffin were found beside one of the skeletons.

            Chamber III (measuring 2.30 x 1.65 x 1.75 m) was in the south-west corner of the basilica in a small room the purpose of which is not known.  The kline for the deceased were 55 cm hgh, 67 cm wide, and separated by a passage 31 to 35 cm wide.  The kline were slanted to a height of 14 cm at the west end.   The entrance was 69 cm above floor level and square in shape, measuring 55 x 55 cm.  Four burials were found in the chamber. A bronze buckle, iron stylus and knife were found beside one of the burials.  The buckle was decorated on the inner edge and centre of the pin with two rows of punctures.  The stylus was decorated with annular protuberances.  Near the base of the passage in the chamber another silver stylus was found, of simple workmanship and without any decoration.

            Chamber IV (measuring 2.30 x 1.62 x 1.69 m) was built beneath the north wing of the transept at the time the floor in the nave and presbytery was raised.  It was entered from the side room to the north through a round-arched entrance (0.73 x 0.85 m), 60 cm above floor level, and thence by a passage down four steps.  The passage was paved (2.20 x 0.83 x 0.12 m).  This chamber differed from the others in quality of workmanship and the form of the podium for layout out the deceased.  The podium (2.05 x 1.16 x 0.14 m) occupied the space by the north and east walls of the chamber.  It was surrounded by a stone border 2 cm higher than the podium itself.  Three burials were found in the chamber. In the north-west corner the lower part of an earthernware vessel was found lying upside-down; this was made of a moist mass of clay with an admixture of sand, and was of coarse workmanship using a potter's wheel, as could be ascertained from the pronounced ribbing on the interior.  In colour it was dark grey.  The diameter of the base was 9 to 9.3 cm, the height of the surviving portion was 6 cm, and the thickness was 3.5 to 4 mm.

            A cylindrical fragment of cooled iron from a smelting furnace was found on the floor of the vestibule of the basilica.  Iron nails were found in several places.

            The building techniques used in the basilica, the vaulted tomb chambers with access passages and the belt buckle, make it possible to date the building to the 5th or 6th century..


3. Legal status to date

            Pursuant to the law, and by Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monumentsn of SR BiH no: 05-365-1/66 of 12 March 1966 in Sarajevo, the site of Glavica (Crkvina), the remains of the late antique basilica in Oborci, were placed under state protection.

            The archaeological site of the late antique basilica in Oborci is on the Provisional List of National Monuments as the Oborci basilica, under serial no. 201.

            The Regional Plan for  BiH to 2000 lists it as a Category II monument.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works   

            In 1956 and 1959, Đuro Basler conducted protective research.

            In the first stage the excavated walls were protected by a thin coating of cement mortar, with the intention of protecting them from the elements until the research works were completed.  A dry wall was built onto the south wall and part of the apse to a height of half a metre.  In the second stage injections of cement milk were carried out and the joints were mortared.  Ground tufa was used instead of sand.  The terrain was levelled to ensure that water could flow away unimpeded.

            The movable archaeological material was deposited in the premises of the National Museum in Sarajevo.


 5.Current condition of the property

            An on-site inspection in December 2003 ascertained the following:

            As a result of irregular maintenance, the entire site is badly neglected, largely covered over with earth and overgrown with vegetation.  The foundations of the walls are discernible only here and there.




            Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument (Official Gazette of BiH nos. 33/02 and 15/03), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above.

            The Decision was based on the following criteria:

A. Time frame

B. Historical value

C. Artistic and aesthetic value

C.iv. composition

C.vi. value of construction

D. Clarity

D.i. evidence of historical changes

F. Townscape/ Landscape value

F.ii. meaning in the townscape

G. Authenticity

G.v. location and setting

H. Rarity and representativity

H.i. unique or rare example of a certain type or style


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-         Copy of cadastral plan

-         Photodocumentation;

-         Drawings



            During the procedure to designate the monument as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:

-         Basler, Djuro, Bazilika u Oborcima. Arheološka problematika i konzervatorski zahvat. (Basilica in Oborci. Archaeological issues and conservation) Naše starine VI, Sarajevo 1959.

-         Pašalić, Esad, Antička naselja i komunikacije u Bosni i Hercegovini. (Antique era settlements and communications in BiH) Sarajevo, 1960.

The archaeological site, Late antique basilica in OborciRemains of the late antique basilica, photo from 2004Tomb chambers Remains of the north wall

BiH jezici 
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