Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Inscription of Radovac Vukanović in Novkovića klanac in Hutovo, the archaeological monument

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Status of monument -> National monument

Published in the “Official Gazette of BiH”, no. 40/10.

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 4 to 11 September 2006 the Commission adopted a






The archaeological site of the stone slab with the inscription of Radovac Vukanović in Gornje Hutovo, Municipality Neum is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument is located in the lapidarium of the Roman Catholic church in Gornje Hutovo, Municipality Neum, 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 for the protection, conservation and presentation 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 basic details of the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




To ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument on the area defined in Clause 1 para. 3 of this Decision the following protection measures are hereby stipulated.          

-       all works are prohibited other than archaeological investigations and research and 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;

-       to preserve the authenticity of the National Monument, it is recommended that it be returned to its original location in Novkovića klanac (Carska kuća), cadastral plot 235/171 (old survey), coresponding to c.p. 1014 (new survey), cadastral municipality Hutovo, Municipality Neum;

-       the slab shall not be removed from the lapidarium of the Roman Catholic church in Gornje Hutovo until such time as appropriate conditions are provided for the on-going protection and presentation of the National Monument in its original location.


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

-       the repair of the National Monument;

-       drawing up and implementing a programme for the presentation of the National Monument.




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




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 relevant Federal ministry, 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 V 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.




On the date of adoption of this Decision, the National Monument shall be deleted from the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH no. 33/02, Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 79/02, Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH no. 59/02, and Official Gazette of Brčko District BiH no. 4/03), where it featured under serial no. 432.




This Decision shall enter into force on the day following its publication 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: 05.2-2-136/02-2

5 September 2006



Chair of the Commission

Amra Hadžimuhamedović


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.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments issued a decision to add the Inscription of Radovac Vukanović and the mediaeval necropolis with churchyard in Hutovo to the Provisional List of National Monuments of BiH under serial no. 432.

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 para. 4 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 register 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


Hutovo is located in a natural pass between Popovo polje and the principal ridge of Mt Žaba, through which run all the roads from Ston, Klek or Slano on the Adriatic to the Humland interior and Bosnia.

The living rock into which the inscription of Radovac Vukanović is carved is at the western edge of the polje known as Zablatak. Until the Trebišnjica system was constructed, the polje was often flooded. Zablatak polje lies south of the main Stolac-Hutovo-Velja Međa (Popovo polje) road, in Donje Hutovo, which is about 2 km from Gornje Hutovo. A narrow field track known as Novkovića klanac, leading to the karst foothills, forks right, to the south, by the last house in Donje Hutovo and a poultry-rearing unit, now in ruins. The inscription was carved into one of the low rock faces on the west side of the track, 150-200 m from the main road. Local residents know where the inscription was before it was transferred to the churchyard of the Roman Catholic church in Gornje Hutovo and installed as part of an open-air lapidarium. In 1983, while preparing material relating to the mediaeval county of Žaba for the Archaeological Lexicon, P. Anđelić visited the site and found the inscription in situ. A slab in the churchyard in Hutovo records that the lapidarium was set up in 1991, which is therefore likely to be the terminus post quem for the transfer of the inscription.

The area immediately below the rock face where the inscription formerly stood is known as Carska kuća.

Historical information

In mediaeval times, Hutovo belonged to the Hum župa (county) of Žaba. The earliest record of this county is in the Chronicles of the Doclean priest, usually dated to the mid 12th century. Žaba county included Mt. Žaba, the long spine of which runs east-west from the western end of the Popovo plain to the delta of the river Neretva. The broad foothills of the mountain reach to the sea at the Pelješac (Ston) channel to the south and the Bregava and Krupa river basins to the north.(1) Until 1399, when the Republic of Dubrovnik purchased the New Lands from Bosnia’s King Dabiša, which were registered in the detailed land register of the Littoral (Republic of Dubrovnik) during King Ostoja’s reign, in 1405, the villages of Ošlje, Stupa, Topolo, Imotica, Štedro, present-day Klek, Gradina in Mala Neretva [where] Brštanik town/fort was built in or around 1382, and the Slivno area belonged to Žaba county (Anđelić, 1983, 37, 39; Tošić, 1982, 49). Mt. Žaba divides the county into two equal halves: the northern continental area and the coastal area south of the mountain.

Hutovo, which lies on a major road running through the county, is in the northern, continental part, and belonged in mediaeval times to the kotar (district) of Hrasno. This district was subdivided into small areas corresponding to the rural communities of Gornje and Donje Hrasno (now a small group of villages sharing the same name) or to a manorial estate that was probably in Hutovo (Anđelić, 1983, 40-42).

The territory of Žaba county was equated with the Nikolić’s feudal lands at the time of lord of the county Nikola (after 1327). Although Nikola formally held the title of lord of the county, he became the first feudal lord of Žaba county and vassal of Bosnia’s ban (governor) Stjepan II Kotromanić. The Nikolić’s were the leading landowning family in Žaba county and direct descendants of Hum’s Prince Andrija (1214-1217) who, at the time of the break-up of the Hum state in the early 13th century, held Popovo, the Littoral and Žaba. The Nikolić’s family burial ground, and probably their headquarters too, was in Vranjevo village. Their family tree can be traced over eight generations, right through to vojvoda (duke) Vukačin (1436-1453). The status of the family altered with the passage of time. At times they were direct vassals of the Bosnian king, but they were more often vassals of the Sanković’s in Popovo and the Kosača’s. The landowning clan of the Šimraks or Šimraković’s are known of in Žaba county in the 15th and 16th centuries. There are also scraps of information about other figures, stewards of the Nikolić feudal lords, in this mediaeval county.(2)

There were a number of temporary customs posts belonging to the feudal lords of Žaba in Klek, Brštanik, Ledenice (at the confluence of the Rivers Krupa and Neretva), Zelenikovac (on the south-western edge of the county towards Popovo polje) and Hutovo (near Zablatak). A charter issued in 1418 by knez Grgur Nikolić (1412-1436) relates to the Zablatak customs post, which was abolished that year but seems to have been reactivated in the 1530s or 1540s. In Anđelić’s view, the inscription carved into the rock face in Novkovića klanac probably dates from that later period. Radovac Vukanović was the customs officer of voyvoda Radoje (1430-1445) or Vukašin Nikolić (1436-1453). Judging from the post he occupied as customs officer for a Nikolić voyvoda, Radoslav Vukanović was probably a member of the landed gentry. Anđelić is of the view that details in certain Dubrovnik documents and a charter issued by Grgur Nikolić (1412-1436) relate to the customs post in Zablatak, which was the outermost point of Popovo polje, the only possible location for this customs post.(3)

Hutovo is the only place to stand out in Hrasno, the northern part of Žaba county. It may be deduced from onomastics that it was a mediaeval manorial estate belonging to some nearby, unidentified landowner whose name is preserved in the place-name Hutovo. The estate must have been a large one, probably extending from Popovo to Hutovo blato.(4)

The earliest sources pertaining to the Vlah organization in this region date from the early Ottoman period. The villages of Svitava and Hrasno are known to have belonged to the dukedom of Donji (Lower) Vlah, which also took in the Vlah communities in the environs of Stolac and Ljubinje (Ubosko, the Burmazi Vlahs). The Herzegovina sanjak was established in early 1470, but a year earlier the first census of the vilayet of Herzeg, the Herceg’s land, had been conducted. The sanjak was divided into three vilayets. At first, the area between the Neretva, Tara and Piva rivers, belonged to the Blagaj vilayet and kadiluk, and then to the large Drina kadiluk with its headquarters in Foča. Documents dating from 1473 and 1500 refer to the Primorje (Littoral) vilayet, extending from Gabela to Dračevica, which would mean that it also included the former mediaeval Žaba county.(5)  


2. Description of the property

The inscription was originally on a natural rock face to the west of the road, with a slight tilt forwards towards passers-by. The rock face on which the Bosnian Cyrillic inscription was carved, which forms part of the lowest rocky part of the nearby hill, is almost horizontal, and irregular in shape, with a length of 1.9 m and a width ranging from 2.0 to 0.60 m. The rock splits readily, which made it relatively easy to lift off the topmost layer and take it to the lapidarium of the church in Gornje Hutovo, set up in 1991.

According to M. Vego, the inscription reads


Radovac Vukanović was forced by his voyvoda to write the inscription when it was found that as customs officer he was not handing over to the voyvoda the customs dues he had collected. Anđelić believes that the customs post in Zablatak was set up by voyvodas of the Nikolić family between 1430 and 1450 in response to a weak central government and the wide-ranging powers of local feudals, whereas Vego expresses the view that the customs post belonged to Sandalj Hranić, who ruled Popovo from 1404, after the violent death of voyvoda Radić Sanković.(6) The slab bearing the inscription measured 1.9 x 2.0 (0.5) x 0.2 m when it was transferred to Gornje Hutovo.

Since the inscription of Radovac Vukanović in Novkovića klanac was about 2 km from the site of the mediaeval necropolis at Crkvina in Gornje Hutovo, and was transferred to the churchyard of the Roman Catholic church in Hutovo in 1991.


3. Legal status to date

The property is on the Provisional List of National Monuments of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments under the heading Neum-Hutovo Inscription of Radovan Vukanović and mediaeval necropolis with churchyard, under serial no. 432.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

The monument has been known since the late 19th century, and was published by Vid Vuletić-Vukasović in Starinar Srpske akademija nauka in 1884 and by N. Jorga in Notes II, 61. The monument was visited and described by Šefik Bešlagić in the early 1960s(7), and published with commentary by M. Vego.(8) A few local residents of Donje Hutovo still know where the inscription was located, but those Gornje Hutovo no longer know. The inscription was in situ until 1991.


5. Current condition of the property

During an on site inspection in June 2006 it was found that the rock face on which the inscription was carved had been moved to the Roman Catholic churchyard, where it had been mounted on a plinth consisting of a natural slab of local stone. The surface has been eroded over time, making it hard to decipher. It is one of the inscriptions carved in stone that corroborates a historical fact, the existence of a customs post in Zablatak near Hutovo.


6. Specific risks

-       the inscription has been removed from its original location

-       effects of the elements on the stone



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


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-       Copy of cadastral plan

-       Copy of land register entry

-       Photodocumentation, 16 photographs taken by the Commission in July 2006



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


1961.    Vego, Marko. “Novi i revidirani natpisi iz Hercegovine” (New and revised inscriptions and epitaphs from Herzegovina) in Jnl of the National Museum in Sarajevo, Archaeology, new series, vol. XV-XVI/ 1960-1961. Sarajevo: 1961.


1966.    Bešlagić, Šefik. Popovo. Sarajevo: 1966.


1971.    Bešlagić, Šefik. Stećci, kataloško-topografski pregled (Stećak tombstones, a catalogue and topographical survey). Sarajevo: Veselin Masleša, 1971.


1982.    Šabanović, Hazim. Bosanski pašaluk: postanak i upravna podjela (The Bosnian pashaluk: origins and administrative division). Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1982.


1983.    Anđelić, Pavao. “Srednjovjekovna humska župa Žaba” (Žaba Mediaeval County of Hum), Hercegovina 3. Mostar: 1983.


(1) Pavao Anđelić, “Srednjovjekovna humska župa Žaba,” Hercegovina – periodical for the cultural heritage, no. 3, Mostar: 1983, 38.

(2)  Pavao Anđelić, op.cit., Mostar: 1983, 37-38, 42.

(3) Pavao Anđelić, op.cit., Mostar: 1983, 52,

(4) Pavao Anđelić, op.cit., Mostar: 1983, 46.

(5) Hazim Šabanović, Bosanski pašaluk, postanak i upravna podjela, Sarajevo: Svjetlost, 1982, 156-159, 161.

(6) Marko Vego, “Novi i revidirani natpisi iz Hercegovine,” in Jnl of the National Museum in Sarajevo, Archaeology, new series, vol. XV-XVI/ 1960-1961, Sarajevo: 1961, 282; Pavao Anđelić, op.cit., Mostar: 1983, 42.

(7) Šefik Bešlagić, Popovo, Sarajevo: 1966, 56.

(8) Marko Vego, op.cit., Sarajevo: 1961, 281.

Archaeological monument from in Novkovića klanac Inscription that was removed into church yardMonument with inscriptionInscription

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