Status of monument -> National monument
Published in the “Official Gazette of BiH” no. 100/08.
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 27 May to 2 June 2008 the Commission adopted a
D E C I S I O N
The historic site of the necropolis with stećak tombstones at Mramorje in the village of Moguš, Municipality Olovo, is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).
The National Monument consists of a necropolis with six stećak tombstones.
The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 3538, title deed no. 13, cadastral municipality Solun I, Municipality Olovo, 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, 6/04 and 51/07) 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 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 erecting 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 site defined in Clause 1 para. 3 of this Decision, the following protection measures are hereby stipulated:
- all works are prohibited other than conservation and restoration works, including those designed to display the monument, with the approval of the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning (hereinafter: the relevant ministry) and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority),
- the site shall be open and accessible to the public, and may be used for educational and cultural purposes,
- works on the infrastructure are permitted solely with the approval of the relevant ministry and subject to the expert opinion of the heritage protection authority,
- the dumping of all kinds of waste is prohibited,
- a specially-designed barrier shall be erected to prevent damage to the stećak tombstones.
The Government of the Federation shall be responsible in particular for ensuring that a programme is drawn up for the systematic archaeological investigation and conservation of the necropolis, to include a geodetic survey of the current condition of the property, and for drawing up and implementing a programme for the presentation of the National Monument, as well as undertaking urgent protection measures:
- removing trees and other vegetation the roots of which are endangering the stećak tombstones,
- clearing lichen and moss from the tombstones and removing self-sown vegetation around them,
- removing the layers of soil and vegetation from the tombstones where they are covered with earth and overgrown,
- replacing in position the tombstones that are partly buried or overturned.
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 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.
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.
28 May 2008
Chair of the Commission
E l u c i d a t i o n
I – INTRODUCTION
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 14 March 2008 Enver Fazlić submitted a proposal to the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to designate the historic site of the Necropolis with stećak tombstones at Marmorje in the village of Moguš as a national monument of 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 para. 4 of Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.
II – PROCEDURE PRIOR TO DECISION
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 the current owner and user of the property (copy of cadastral plan and Land Register entry);
- 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 village of Moguš is about 3 km to the north-west of Olovo as the crow flies. To the south-west of the village is a hillock known as Mramorje, where there is a necropolis with six stećak tombstones, some slabs, some gabled. The tombstones are of good workmanship, are set in rows running south-east/north-west, and lie north-east/south-west.
The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 3538, title deed no. 13, cadastral municipality Solun I, Municipality Olovo, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.(1)
The plot on which the tombstones are located is in the sole ownership of Buševac (Mujko) Tahir.
The origins and development of the tombstones known as stećci (sing. stećak) are associated with the socio-economic development of feudal society in the mediaeval Bosnian state.
The necropolises with stećak tombstones in the Olovo region are located in hilly regions clad with forests and pastures. The commonest shape of the tombstones in these necropolises is the gabled tombstone with plinth, where the body of the tombstone is usually narrower at the base. In addition, there are some double stećci on plinths (at Gradina in the hamlet of Meoirići, which belongs to the village of Križevići, and at Marmorje in the village of Moguš). These are believed to mark double graves, perhaps those of a husband and wife, which cannot be proven in this case since the tombstones of this type on these sites have been overturned and the graves beneath them have not been excavated.
The next most common shapes are chest-shaped and slab-shaped stećci without plinth, followed by those of these shapes with plinth.
The entire ornamental system in these necropolises reveals a distinct stonemasonry approach with its own principles of decoration and treatment of the decorated surfaces.(2) Among the decorative motifs the most common are spirals, rosettes, and rope twist.
Spirals come in two basic forms: a) ordinary spirals and b) S-spirals. In addition, zigzag lines, circles, dotted circles, a rope twist circle, a circle with a rosette, a rayed circle, a semi-circle, a star, a bunch of grapes, a crescent moon, a mill and a carved button have also been recorded.
A feature of the tombstones in the Olovo region is that they have no figural scenes (apart from a small figure of a woman in Kozjaci and an animal figure on an obelisk in Vlaškovac). A. Benac is of the view that these are heraldic stylizations. Instead, these tombstones feature human arms, and hands holding a spear or a sword.
The arms are depicted very simply in every case: more or less bent at the elbow, and with fingers spread. The motifs with weapons are highly stylized, with the hand never actually grasping the weapon, but appearing rather to hover alongside it. The spears depicted on the stećci are flying triangular or rectangular banners, and the swords appear to be of the usual mediaeval type, except for one at Mramorje, which resembles an Ottoman sabre.
Judging from the above, geometric motifs form the basis for the ornamental system on the tombstones of the Olovo region. This is also the basic difference between these stećci and those of Herzegovina, where depictions of figures, singly or in groups, showing people and animals or entire scenes from life, are common.
The only tombstones for which the social class of the deceased can be reliably ascertained are those depicting an arm with a sword or spear, indicating that the grave belonged to a feudal warrior. A. Benac is of the opinion that an arm alone, without a weapon, has the same meaning as those with weapons.
The necropolises of the Olovo region cannot be strictly distinguished from one another on the basis of the style of decoration, suggesting that the artisans who made them used the same artistic models or forms. Many of the stećci in these necropolises are well finished, with some rather carelessly worked. Most of the decorations were executed by carving into the stone, whereas relief carvings are very rare. All the tombstones are made of limestone, which was readily accessible in this region.
In his study of these tombstones, A. Benac did not record a single one with an epitaph. However, he cited three factors of importance for dating them: the obelisk from Vlaškovac, the represention of the weapons, and the stylization of the decorations.
Of greatest interest among the weapons featured is the sabre on a tombstone at Mramorje, which does not belong to the mediaeval type of cross sword, the kind most usually seen on stećci. Rather, it has been established that it is a sabre of the kind used in the Ottoman period in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with all the features of that kind of Ottoman weapon. This depiction of a sabre thus provides a basis for dating the Olovo necropolises with stećak tombstones. At Mramorje there are also depictions of mediaeval cross swords, suggesting that the tombstones were erected at a time when the Ottoman influence was beginning to make itself felt (the mid 15th century or slightly earlier).
The other ornaments on the tombstones at Mramorje are identical to those in the other necropolises. The shape of the double gabled stećci with plinth is identical to the ones in Križevići.
All this suggests that the other necropolises in the Olovo region are of the same date as the one at Mramorje, with perhaps only a relatively small difference date. (A. Benac, 1951, 51-57).
2. Description of the property
In his work "Olovo" A. Benac provided details of the whereabouts of stećak tombstones in the Olovo region, with a detailed identification and description.(3)
The necropolis with stećak tombstones at Mramorje in the village of Moguš
The village of Moguš lies in the Krivaja river valley on the left of the Olovo to Zavidovići road, about 3 km as the crow flies to the north-west of Olovo. The Mramorje necropolis with stećak tombstones is on the hillock of the same name, which refers to the tombstones there [stećak tombstones are often known as ”marbles” – the Bosnian for which is mramor – Trans.]
The necropolis is to the south-west of the village of Moguš, and contains six stećci (one slab, three gabled, and two of which the shape could not be determined since they are almost completely buried).
The stećci lie in rows running from the south-east to the north-west, and themselves lie north-east/south-west. The gabled tombstones are cut to be rather narrower at the base, and all are well cut and have plinths. While the tombstones were being catalogued, one stećak was found which A. Benac describes as a double gabled tombstone with plinth. This one has been overturned and is lying on its north-west side, as a result of which the second gabled tombstone cannot be seen; it has probably become buried, and only one of the pair is visible on the surface. The slab is of cruder workmanship, with a plinth.
Decorative ornaments can be seen on two of the tombstones (gabled stćci nos. 2 and 3). The decorative motifs are an arm with a sabre, an arm with a sword and an arm with a spear, spirals, a rosette and a rope twist.
The stećci belong to the group of small or separate family burial grounds belonging to a feudal warrior family.
While information was being gathered for the adoption of the decision designating the necropolis with stećak tombstones at Navitak in the village of Boganovići, Municipality Olovo, as a national monument of bosnia and Herzegovina, it was also learned that at Mramorje, in addition to the four stećci recorded by A. Benac, there are in fact several more, of which no fewer than eleven are almost completely buried. After an inspection of the site it was found that the four stećci referred to above still exist. However, about 25 m to the south of these, the outlines of stećak tombstones can be seen, covered with soil and grass, suggesting that there were once more such tombstones on this site and corroborating the claims made by people from the village of Boganovići. Further evidence for this is to be seen in another two completely buried and one barely visible stećak about ten metres to the west of stećak no. 1. Detailed archaeological investigations should therefore be carried out to determine the accuracy of these findings.
Condition of the stećak tombstones
Stećak no. 1 – double gabled, with plinth, visible damage to the roof panes and with a hollow in the plinth, undecorated, covered with moss, lying on its south-west side so that the second, smaller gabled tombstone cannot be seen and is probably completely buried;
- the visible dimensions of the stećak are 157 x 67 x 100 cm,
- the plinth measures 185 cm with a height of 17 cm, depth of plinth at front 15 cm and at the sides 12 cm.
Stećak no. 2 – gabled, decorated, narrower at the base, covered with moss, weeds and pine trees to the north-west and over the roof panes;
- the stećak measures 165 x 55 cm wide and the base and 66 cm wide at the top, with a height of 55 cm,
- the size of the plinth could not be determined since it has sunk into the ground;
The roof area of the tombstone is marked by a slanting jutty, indicating the eaves. There is an arm with a sword on the south-east side, the arm slightly bent, and the hand with spread fingers facing downwards. The sword lies across the hand, and is in fact an Ottoman-style sabre in a scabbard, suggested by two transverse lines below the cross guard. It was executed by carving into the stone.
Stećak no. 3 – gabled, decorated, of good workmanship, narrower at the base, cracked across the middle of the roof panes, and damaged with the rope twist broken off both sides of the horizontal edges;
- the stećak measures 170 x 56 cm wide at the base and 80 cm at the top, with a height of 78 cm,
- the plinth measures 208 x 98 cm, but is buried to the top of the plinth, which has a depth at the front of 26 cm and at the sides of 17 cm;
The two ends bear the same decoration: the gable is surrounded by a band of rope twist with a five-lobed rosette in the middle, and two spirals below, bent at the ends and continuing vertically towards the base. The horizontal edges of the roof are decorated with a rope twist, and two rope twists run across the roof panes.
The sides are decorated with a composition of an arm with a weapon. On the south-east side is an arm with a sword, bent at the elbow, with the spread fingers below the hilt. The hilt has a pommel and a long straight cross guard. The sword is an early mediaeval type.
The north-west side has an arm with a spear. Here too the arm is bent, and the spread fingers are below the middle of the spear, which is tipped with a rectangular banner (the tip of the spear itself is not distinctly indicated). All the ornaments are hollowed out into the stone, but the interior of the spiral is rounded, giving the impression that it is carved in relief.
Stećak no. 4 – slab with damaged plinth, of crude workmanship and undecorated, lying on its north-west side and sunken along its entire length, overgrown with moss and weeds;
- the stećak measures 108 x 26 (visible width) x 19 (height) cm,
- the plinth measures 130 cm long, the width could not be measured, 17 cm high, depth of plinth at front 11 cm and at the sides 9 cm.
3. Legal status to date
The Regional Plan for BiH to 2000 lists fourteen sites of necropolises with stećak tombstones (428 in all) as category III monuments, without specifically identifying them.
A letter from the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport, dated 8 April 2008, states that the property is listed as Mramorje necropolis of stećak tombstones, village of Moguš, Municipality Olovo, but was not on the Register of Cultural Monuments of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
4. Research and conservation and restoration works
In 1951 and 1952 the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of the Peoples' Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina began a programme for the preliminary listing and systematic study of the stećak tombstones of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The findings were published in 1951 by Alojz Benac in his Olovo, under the auspices of the Federal Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments.
No conservation or restoration works have been carried out.
5. Current condition of the property
The findings of an on site inspection on 14 March 2008 are as follows:
- as plant growth begins again in spring the necropolis becomes overgrown with grass, weeds and coniferous trees;
- the stećci are at risk of rapid deterioration due to the lack of regular maintenance;
- some of the stećci are chipped, damaged, overturned, or partly or wholly sunken and buried;
- there are plant organisms on most of the stećci, damaging the structure of the stone;
- about 25 m to the south of the four stećci, the outlines of other stećak tombstones can be seen, covered with soil and grass, suggesting that there were once more such tombstones. Further evidence for this is to be seen in another two completely buried and one barely visible stećak about ten metres to the west of stećak no. 1.
6. Specific risks
- long-term disintegration and neglect of the site
- adverse weather conditions
- self-sown vegetation.
III – CONCLUSION
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.i. quality of workmanship
C.ii. quality of materials
C.v. value of details
D.i. material evidence of a lesser known historical era
E. Symbolic value
E.i. ontological value
E.iii. traditional value
E.v. significance for the identity of a group of people
G.i. form and design
G.ii. material and content
G.iii. use and function
G.iv. traditions and techniques
The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:
- Copy of cadastral plan,
- Copy of land register entry,
- Photodocumentation, 11 photographs taken on site.
During the procedure to designate the monument as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:
1951. Benac, Alojz, “Olovo”, Srednjovjekovni nadgrobni spomenici Bosne i Hercegovine, II, (Olovo Mediaeval Tombstones of Bosnia and Herzegovina II), Belgrade, 1951.
1980. Various authors, Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina; Stage B - valorization of natural, cultural and historical monuments, Institute for architecture, town planning and regional planning of the Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo, Sarajevo, 1980, 51
(1) A letter from Olovo Municipality, Department of Economic Affairs, of 17 March 2008 states that the information in the Land Register is currently being processed by the Department and will then be submitted to the Municipal Court in Visoko, which is responsible for issuing information from the Land Register.
(2) In line with the specific political, economic and cultural situation of various regions, the art of the stećak led to the formation of distinctive local styles. The leading role is that of the stonemasons' yard in Herzegovina, based in the Stolac region, in Trebinje and Bileća, and in Gacko and Nevesinje. A fourth stonemasons' yard was active in the wider Konjic area, and a fifth in the Lištica region. The principal stonemasons' centres in western Bosnia covered the area between Kupres and Duvno, and those of central Bosnia provided for the area around Travnik. In eastern Bosnia, the work of four stonemasons' yards can be identified: one between Kladanj, Olovo and Ilijaš, another around Zvornik, a third in Ludmer and a fourth around Rogatica. There were also centres of scribes, with the Herzegovina school – probably with several centres or workshops – again in first place. A significant centre of epigraphic literacy was to be found in the Stolac area, with Semorad as its most prominent figure (Š. Bešlagić, 1982, 479-482).
(3) He listed 263 tombstones on twelve sites, most of them (159) gabled (sarcophagi) with plinth, seven gabled without plinth and two double gabled tombstones with plinth; there were also 30 slabs without plinth and 21 slabs with plinth, eleven chest-shaped tombstones with plinth and 32 without, and one obelisk. Sixty-one of the 263 were decorated.