Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Prehistoric hillfort on Grabovik-Zaketuša above the village of Straža, 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 14 to 20 March 2006 the Commission adopted a






The Archaeological site of the Prehistoric hillfort on Grabovik-Zaketuša above the village of Straža, Srebrenik municipality, is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of a prehistoric hillfort. 

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot nos. 352, 353 and 354 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. no. 35/3 and 35/1 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 208, cadastral municipality Straža, and Land Register entry no. 69, c.m. Donja Jasenica, Srebrenik Municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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, 27/02 and 6/04) 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 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. 3 of this Decision. In this zone the following protection measures are hereby stipulated:

  • all works are prohibited with the exception of archaeological research works, conservation and restoration works, routine maintenance works, and works designed to display the monument, subject to approval from the Federation ministry responsible for regional planning and with the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority),
  • the site of the monument shall be open and accessible to the public, and may be used for educational and cultural purposes,
  • all works that involve altering the natural landscape or that are detrimental to the site, the laying of roads, and the extraction of stone, are prohibited,
  • the dumping of waste is prohibited.

Protection zone II consists of the strip as far as the local roads that surround the site of  Grabovik-Zaketuša. The following protection measures are hereby stipulated for this zone:

  • all building works, the extraction of stone and mineral ores, and infrastructure works are prohibited until such time as the site has been surveyed archaeologically and suitably investigated,
  • on completion of research works a report on the site shall be submitted to the Commission, on the basis of which the Commission shall determine whether or not to suspend the prohibition on construction and stipulate the conditions under which construction shall be permitted,
  • the dumping of waste is prohibited.

The Government of the Federation shall be responsible in particular for implementing the following measures:

  • archaeological investigations
  • drawing up and implementing a programme for the presentation of the National Monument.



All movable artifacts found during the course of the archaeological survey shall be deposited in the nearest museum or in the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, processed, and suitably presented. 

The removal of the movable artifacts found during the archaeological survey 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 artifacts for the purposes of display or conservation shall be permitted if the survey manager determines that a given artifact must be processed abroad, and provides evidence to that effect to the Commission, which may permit the temporary removal of the artifact from the country subject to detailed conditions for its export, treatment while out of the country and return to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Upon receipt of a report on the investigations conducted, the Commission shall identify which movable artifacts shall be subject to protection measures to be determined by the Commission.




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 Federal Ministry responsible for 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.


No: 05.2-02-307/05-6

15 March 2006



Chair of the Commission

Dubravko Lovrenović


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.

On 1 December 2006 Mr Edin Mutapčić, Director of the Srebrenik Public Institute Centre for Culture and Public Relations in Srebrenik, submitted a proposal/petition to designate the archaeological site of the hillfort settlement on Grabovik-Zaketuša, Srebrenik Municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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:

  • Documentation on the location and current owner and user of the property (copy of cadastral plan and copy of land registry entry)
  • 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.
  • 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 prehistoric hillfort of Grabovik-Zaketuša stands above the village of Straža, on Grabovik hill, at an altitude of 686 m above sea level. The narrower section where Grabovik is located is called Zaketuša. This part is about 10 km east of Srebrenik. The road from Donji Srebrenik (the centre of the municipality) to Gornji Srebrenik (with the old Srebrenik fort), and thence through the valley toweards the east, leads to Zaketuša and Grabovik hill.  At the western edge of the summit of Okresanica (815 m) the road veers southwards below Grabovik hill. The entire area around Srebrenik is on the north-western hill country of Majevica, which runs down to the valley of the Tinja river. In this part of Majevica, the highest summit, Okresanica (815 m above sea level) is about 2.5 km as the crow flies from Grabovik hill, and separated from it by mountainous, hilly and undulating terrain. The hillfort of Grabovik-Zaketuša is on the northern edge of this part of Majevica, below which conditions were favourable for settlement. The foothills of Grabovik are surrounded by the paths and roads that led through the Majevica area, the most important of which was the road leading via the village of Straža to Donja Jasenica and beyond, to the settlements in the north-eastern areas of Majevica.

Historical information

The area of Srebrenik municipality can be said to be entirely unstudied, archaeologically speaking. This is reflected in the list of sites for this municipality in the Archaeological Lexicon, which includes sites recorded only up to 1984(1). The first examples of pottery typologically dating from the late Bronze Age, i.e. the turn of the 2nd and 1st millennia BCE, were found in Grabovik-Zaketuša, as were examples of Iron Age pottery (roughly dating from the 9th to the 3rd [1st] century BCE). It is a known fact that in the late Bronze Age period the Vis-Pivnica group (named for the site of Vis in Modran in the environs of Derventa) evolved in the eastern part of northern Bosnia, from the Ukrina to the Drina, in the late 2nd and early 1st millennium BCE. This group is akin to the southern Vojvodina Bosut group of this period, and to some extent too with the central Bosnian cultural group of the late Bronze Age (Čović, 1988, 21). This was a period when the urnfield culture was dominant throughout Europe and the Balkans, including northern Bosnia, with its influence spreading further south. The spread and development of this group can be followed over a period of more than 500 years, from the middle Bronze Age on. In northern Bosnia this culture appeared in its already developed, classical form, and can be traced from stage 2 of the urnfield culture (cinerary urns), when – according to archaeological material – there came about in the area between the rivers Sava and Drava, from the late 13th to the late 12th century BCE, changes in the basic substrate of that group with new elements, which means that there was a new population influx from central Europe. Into northern Bosnia, from its western to its eastern regions, there came great population waves from Slavonia, which also took in the central and eastern regions of Bosnia, as can be seen in the material of the final stage of the Barice-Gređani cultural group (sites investigated in the environs of Bosanska Gradiška, Doboj, Gračanica and Bijeljina), when the incomers from the north mingled with the existing indigenous population (Čović; 1958, 77-96; Čović, 1988, 60-61). The pressures from the new population, bearers of the urnfield culture, and the unrest that the migrations provoked, were manifested in somewhat altered burial rites and the appearance of hoards. In burial rites, burials in shallow earth tumuli containing some tens of graves was gradually abandoned and small necropolises of flat burials took shape. The basic rite was laying the ashes of the deceased with burned metal gravegoods (the occasional bronze pins, cups and chalices) in a shallow pit, with a larger vessel as cover. In the later stage, the gravegoods are richer and more diverse (bronze pins, rings, buttons, and the occasional cup or chalice). Hoards belong in part to the beginning (late 13th and early 12th century BCE) and in part to the end of this period (10th and 9th centuries BCE). Hoards from this first wave of new population immigration have been found in the environs of Bosanski Šamac, Bosanski Brod, Teslić, Vlasenica and Gračanica. At the turn of the 11th and 10th centuries BCE there was a new influx of a population belonging to the urnfield culture. Hoards from this period are somewhat more modest in content, and have been found in northern Bosnia around Tuzla, Gračanica, Tešanj, Šekovići, Lopare, and in the west near Banja Luka (Čović, 1988, 134; Čović, 1984, 128-135).

The material from the site of the Vis-Pivnica cultural group in northern Bosnia reveals the strong influence of the central Bosnian cultural group (the development of which was most marked in the areas around the upper reaches, and to some extent the central reaches of the Bosna and Vrbas rivers and the Lašva basin, with many sites of which the most important is Gradina Pod near Bugojno. This was in the first developmental period of this group, belonging to the late Bronze Age (roughly from the mid 11th to the mid 8th century BCE). One of the most striking characteristics of this period is the high degree of development of fortification techniques, the organization of settlements, the level of residential architecture, the wealth of pottery forms, the forms of jewellery and weapons, and the unique style of decorating pottery and bronze items (Čović, 1988, 164). It is noticeable that in the transitional period from the first to the second developmental stage, i.e. the mid 8th century BCE, the central Bosnian cultural group had an influence in north-western Bosnia as well, in this case on the Donja-Dolina (near Bosanska Gradiška)-Sanski Most group. Some elements on the pottery from Grabovik-Zaketuša are identical with finds from Donja Dolina. These are the first finds of this kind in the north-eastern part of Bosnia. The further development and remains of material culture from the Iron Age, i.e. from the mid 8th to the end of the 1st century BCE, in north-eastern Bosnia are not yet sufficiently well-known (Čović, 1976, 187-237; Čović, 1986, 55-64; Čović, 1987, 526). Many of these elements could presumably be found in the Grabovik-Zaketuša hillfort, an investigation of which could provide important information on the development and density of settlement of this almost unresearched area in the last millennium BCE.  


2. Description of the property

Grabovik Hill, along with the area that takes in Zaketuša, on the northern slope of the hill, is on the northern edge of an area with favourable conditions for settlement, which extends southwards and westwards from this part of Mt Majevica. The area around Grabovik is crisscrossed with mountain roads. The present-day major road runs along the west side of the Grabovik foothills. The Javornik brook flows alongside the south-east foothills, and the Likić brook to the north-west. This position of the hill, the proximity of water, and the ease of communications of the region all favoured the creation of a hillfort settlement on the summit of Grabovik and the surrounding areas in the foothills (Zaketuša, Ostrožac).

Grabovik hill is some 200 m in height. On the southern, western and northern slopes of the foothills, which are at an altitude of some 490 to 500 m above sea level, rocks or cliffs as much as 50-60 m in height can be observed here and there. The eastern side of the hill slopes down steeply, whereas access to the summit of the hill is easier from the other three sides. The easiest access to the upper plateau is from the north. The summit of Grabovik (altitude 685.9 m above sea level) consists of a rocky plateau, which runs from east to west, an area of approx. 5250 m2 (approx.350 m long and 150 m wide) which, together with the plateau and the gentle slopes to the west, north and north-east, is highly favourable to the formation of a prehistoric hillfort. A fair quantity of surface material has been found on these slopes and on the plateau; this material can be roughly dated, for now, to the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age (from circa 1,000 to 300 BCE).

The areas surrounding the foothills of Grabovik, Ostrožac to the west and, to the north-east, from Grabovik to the Javornik brook, have yielded large quantities of surface finds of pottery.


3. Legal status to date

Thus far the site has been unknown and unrecorded, and has not therefore enjoyed legal protection.  It is not on the Provisional List of National Monuments of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments; rather, the decision is adopted on the basis of the petition referred to above.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

The site was discovered by Mustafa Smajlović, a local inhabitant of the wider area from the nearby village of Lika, in November 2003. After an overview of the surface material gathered there, which Italian experts dated to roughly 1,000 BCE, representatives of the Centre for Culture and Public Relations and the Museum of Liguria in Genoa drew up a project for trial digs of the site and applied to the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport in 2004.  During the course of the year the ministry allocated the sum of 14,000 KM to them. The funds were made available by the same ministry in 2005, after gaining approval to conduct archaeological excavations in Srebrenik Municipality from the relevant Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Tuzla Canton. The Museum of Eastern Bosnia in Tuzla is responsible for the archaeological works, together with the institution referred to above, and the expert for the Bosnian side will be archaeologist-prehistorian Zilka Kujundžić-Vejzagić, museum consultant at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The trial digs are due to begin during the 2006 season.


5. Current condition of the property

The area of Srebrenik municipality is wholly uninvestigated archaeologically. It would be necessary, prior to issuing any building permits or approval for infrastructural works, as well as permits to quarry stone, for archaeologists to be involved. The relevant institutions for Srebrenik municipality who have been involved in issuing various permits, the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Cultural Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport in Tuzla, and the Museum of Eastern Bosnia in Tuzla, have no qualified archaeologists on their staff.

On the occasion of an on-site inspection on 2 March 2006, the site was snow-covered, as a result of which it was not possible to ascertain whether the site is intact. During 2005, trial drillings were carried out by Zvornik Roads corp. on the south-west side of the foothills and movable archaeological material was observed on the surface, which the contractor neither noticed nor notified the relevant authorities about it.


6. Specific risks to which the monument is exposed

  • damage to the archaeological site from the extraction of stone
  • risk to the archaeological site resulting from the issuance of quarrying permits and of urban planning permits for carrying out geological surveys in which the site is not treated as a potential archaeological site



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

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

-          Copy of land register entry and proof of title;

-          Photodocumentation of the Commission taken on site, 2 March 2006 – 24 photographs of the site dating from 2 February 2006

-         Photodocumentation and videoclip composed in the JU Centre for Culture and Public Relations of Srebrenik, February-March 2006 – 273 photographs and 1 videoclip, all on two CDs submitted to the Commission

-          Document submitted by the JU Centre for Culture and Public Relations of Srebrenik

-          Document of Zvornik Roads Co. for roads maintenance and protection, Sapna

-          Document of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport

-          Letter from Dr Angiolo Lucchese, director Soprintendenza per i beni culturali Archaeologici della Liguria, and Dr. Guido Rossi, custodian from the Liguria Archaeological Museum of Genoa

-          Project for study of archaeological excavations drawn up in the Public Centre for Culture and Information in association with the above-named experts from Genoa, on the basis of which funds have been received from the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport.



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


1958.    Čović, Borivoj, Barice-nekropola kasnog bronzanog doba kod Gračanice (Barice, late Bronze Age necropolis near Gračanica), Jnl of the National Museum in Sarajevo, new series, Archaeology, vol. XIII/1958, Sarajevo, 1958, 77-96.


1976.    Čović, Borivoj, Od Butmira do Ilira (From Butmir to Illyria), IP Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1976.


1984.    Čović, Borivoj, Praistorijsko rudarstvo i metalurgija u Bosni i Hercegovini-stanje i problemi istraživanja (Prehistoric mining and metallurgy in BiH – condition and problems of research), Annual of the Centre for Balkan Studies 20, Sarajevo, 1984, 111-144.


1986.    Čović, Borivoj, Neki primjeri razvoja fortifikacija na praistorijskim gradinama Bosne i Hercegovine (Some examples of the development of fortifications in prehistoric hillforts of BiH) In: Odbrambeni sistemi u praistoriji i antici na tlu Jugoslavije (Defence systems in prehistory and antiquity in Yugoslavia), lectures at the XII Congress of Archaeologists of Yugoslavia, Novi Sad, 1984. Novi Sad, 1986, 55-64.


1987.    Čović, Borivoj, Srednjobosanska kulturna grupa (Central Bosnian cultural groups) In: Praistorija južnoslavenskih zemalja V (Prehistory of South Slav lands), Sarajevo, 1987, 481-528.


1988.    Čović, Borivoj, Arheološki leksikon (Archaeological lexicon), vol 1, Sarajevo, 1988.

Lexicographical entries: Srednjobosanska kulturna grupa (Central Bosnian cultural groups), pp. 163-166; Ostave (Hoards), pp. 133-135; Kultura polja sa urnama (Urnfield culture), pp. 110-112


(1) Arheološki leksikon Bosne i Hercegovine, publ. by the National Museum in Sarajevo, Sarajevo 1988, vols. I-IV. The Lexicon provides details of individual areas that have been studied and the extent to which specific issues have been researched.  The editors of the Lexicon were aware «that there are hundreds and hundreds of sites where no archaeologist has yet set foot (particularly in some parts of central and eastern Bosnia, and in Herzegovina too. . .)» (Vol. I p. 9).  Great caution is needed, therefore, in coming to conclusions and agreement that could relate to specific sites without visiting the site and by relying only on the list of sites in the Lexicon.

Prehistoric hillfort on Grabovik-Zaketuša  View at gradina from the approach roadUpper PlatoUpper Plato and surrounding areas at hillfort
Findings on the site - pottery Findings on the site - pottery and metal items  

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