Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Paleolithic site of Badanj in Borojevići, 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 21 to 27 January 2003 the Commission adopted a






           The archaeological site (Paleolithic site) of Badanj in Borojevići near Stolac is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

           The monument is situated on c.p. (cadastra plot) 284/1, cadastral municipality Borojevići, Stolac Municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The provisions relating to protection and rehabilitation 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 specified in the preceding paragraph.




            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, display and rehabilitate the National Monument.

            The Government of the Federation shall provide the financial and technical resources for drawing up and implementing a programme for the ongoing preservation of the National Monument.

            The Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (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.




            Protection Zone I covers c.p-. 284/1, the Dubrava pasture, alongside the Bregava riverbed, where the palaeolithic site of Badanj is located; and the Crvena (red) cave upstread and the Drenovačka cave downstream of Badanj.  This forms a strip some 100 m. wide, or 50 m. on either bank of the river Bregava.

            Further archaeological research and protection of the drawings cut into the rock are required.

            Given the type of material (limestone of friable consistency) and the location of these drawings, the best form of protection would be to cover the slab with a thick layer of soil as an interim measure.

            In  Protection Zone I the destruction, repair, building on or any other works that could have the effect of altering the archaeological site are prohibited.




            All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are to be 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 specified in Clause I of this Decision or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation thereof.




            The Government of the Federation, the Federal Ministry responsible for town 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, III and IV of this Decision, and the Authorized Municipal Court shall be notified for the purposes of registration in the Land Register.




            The Explanation with corresponding documentation, which is accessible in the Commission offices and/or on-line to all interested persons, is an integral part of this Decision.




            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 and the Official Gazette of the Federation 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.


Chairman of the Commission

Dubravko Lovrenović



No: 06-6-538/03-1         


21 January 2003



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 (hereinafter referred to as the Commission) 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 (hereinafter referred to as Annex 8) and as 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 11 March 1998, the Commission issued a decision to add the archaeological site (Palaeolithic site) of Badanj – Borojevići near Stolac to the Provisional List of National Monuments as No. 598.

            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 if any, data on restoration or other works on the property if any, 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. Information on the Site


            The archaeological site of Badanj is situated on c.p. 284/1, cadastral municipality Borojevići, land registry entry 74, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The palaeolithic site of Badanj is situated below the village of Borojevići near Stolac, 6 km west of Stolac as the crow flies.  It consists of a semi-cave or overhang recessed beneath a cliff that rises steeply 45m. above the right bank of the Bregava.   The Bregava gorge is 18 km. long in this area and about 100 m. deep in Eocene limestone between Vidovo plain and the Neretva river.  In Roman times the cutting was used as a major road between Narona and Dilunta (Vid-Stolac), but was later abandoned and is now densely wooded.


Historical Information

            There is no historical information.  Using archaeological methods the site can be dated to the later Upper Palaeolithic – late Epigravettian, i.e. 13,000 to 12,000 BCE.  The site was discovered in 1976. The carving found by the cave was the first of its kind to be discovered on the eastern Adriatic shores

            In the course of investigations conducted between 1976 and 1979, the main prehistoric periods on the site were identified.  In the second set of archaeological investigations, from 1986 to 1987, a number of objectives were set: an analysis of the materials by stratum in order to draw up a detailed regional chronology for the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods; the reconstruction of the natural environment of Badanj, including the palaeogeographic conditions; and the development of a picture of the way activities were structured in the community.


Legal status to date

            The archaelogical site (palaeolithic site) of Badanj– Borojevići near Stolac is registered on the Provisional List of National Monuments as No. 598.

            The Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2002 registered the site as a Category 1 monument of national importance.


2. Description of the site

            Badanj is a very rich Palaeolithic, multi-stratum cave site.

            The archaeological site of Badanj is The archaeological site of Badanj is a semi-cave by a shallow recess in a cliff that rises steeply on the right bank of the Bregava.  The archaeologically relevant area is beneath a rock where palaeolithic Homo sapiens lived intermittently.

            Between World Wars I and II, the area was deforested, and an upper layer of fertile soil was formed on the cleared area, some 1.5 m. deep, mainly from the presence of small livestock.  The local inhabitants collected up this upper layer, which contained pottery from the Neolithic, Eneolithic, Bronze Age and Roman period, and right through to the middle ages.  From the quantity and nature of the materials, it is apparent that it resulted only from occasional and short-term human occupancy in these periods.

            Beneath the surface layer that was removed, two chronologically distinct palaeolithic settlements were identified.  In the upper stratum, 0.8 to 0.9 m. Deep, twenty cultural and geological layers from two stages of settlement belonging to the upper palaeolithic Epigravettian were studied.  Human communities lived here intermittently, chiefly in the March to May period.

Beneath it there is a sterile stratum of rock creep, beneath which there is insufficiently analysed and very rare material that probably dates from the middle Palaeolithic period.

            In the flint tool industry, which is mainly Epigravettian with typological continuity in all the strata, two stages can be identified in the presence of the numerous changes that took place in the wider region of that period on the southern Adriatic coast and the Ionian coastal zone in Italy.

Stage I (the late Ice Age) is the earlier stage of geometric microliths.  There are quantities of obliquely blunted lamellae (lanceolate microliths) microgravettes (straight backed points) and claw-like scrapers.

            Stage II (the early post glacial period, when forests regenerated and spread) is the later stage, with a small number of geometric microliths.  There are more claw-like scrapers than obliquely blunted lamellae.  In this stage there were occasional finds of bone and harpoons made of deer antlers, and beads made of teeth.

            The fauna also suggests the major climatic in stages I and II.  In both stages red deer were predominant, but in the earlier stage there were quite large numbers of goat and chamois, with wild boar dominant in the later stage, and later still roe deer.  This indicates that the climate was different in stage I from that of stage II, which in turn had an effect on cultural change.  However, an analysis of the bones found indicates that Badanj was also inhabited by either small groups of hunters or by communities who stayed only for short periods, or both.  It is evident from the many finds of bones belonging to red deer fawns, up to one month in age when the antlers are not yet formed, and the small numbers of artifacts made of red deer antlers, that human communities inhabited this area only intermittently, mostly during the period from March to May.

            On the basis of the distribution of artifacts and animal remains, an outline of the general picture of activities in the settlement was arrived at.  At the back of the shelter there was a hearth which was the focal point of almost all the activities of the occupants: as well as preparing food here, leather was cleaned, bone and stone tools and beads fashioned from deer teeth were made.  The occupants ate around the hearth, but also in the wider area of the shelter, where animals were butchered and the more complex tools were repaired.   From an analysis of the fauna and the palaeographical reconstruction, the size of the group that the site could sustain was ten to fifteen: some fourteen to seventeen people could secure sufficient food for the year, judging from the remains in Badanj.  As the study notes, “If these reconstructions are accurate, this site is just a small part of a system of upper palaeolithic human settlements in the region” (Whallon, 1989, p. 20) – the period in question extending from 14,000 to 10,000 BCE.  Near Badanj there are two more of these caves, Crvena cave and Drenovačka cave, that have been reconnoitred but not excavated.

            Of particular significance is the discovery of a drawing carved into the rock of the Badanj site, one of the oldest examples of art in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

            The drawing is partly damaged.  It is cut into the diagonal surface of a large polished block of stone broken off from the stone massif forming the cave, with the surface inclined at an angle of about 30o from west to east.  The drawing is on the south-western angle of the rock, and probably represents the figure of a horse seen from the offside flank that has been hit by arrows.  Only the rear half of the body survives, with flanks typical for a horse and part of the body; the rest of the drawing has been destroyed.  The cuts are 5mm. deep.  The drawing is not anatomically perfect, which was not what mattered to the men of those days.  What mattered was what it was intended to say.  The subjects were usually to do with hunting.  The basic purpose of this art was visual mastery over the animals, a symbolic mastery over nature and the world of magic.

            The damage to the drawing probably occurred during the Palaeolithic period, since the rock was discovered only after the soil was removed from the cave (while collecting fertilizer for the neighbouring fields).  Prior to that the rock was covered with an undisturbed layer of soil in which the remains of later periods with which the cave was filled over time were discovered.

            The Badanj carving includes figures of animals and symbols, as is typical of Mediterranean palaeolithic art(1).  Engravings similar to this one can be found in significant numbers in Sicily, Calabria and Apulia. At that time the sea level was 100-150 m lower than at present, which enabled people to travel overland.  Similar works could be expected in the littoral regions of Montenegro, Albania and Greece.


3. Research and conservation and restoration works

            The site was discovered in 1976.  Excavations were carried out successively by Đ. Basler until 1979.

            1986-1987 – archaeological investigations as a part of a joint project of the National Museum and the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology.

            The drawing is still in situ in the Badanj cave, while all the movable archaeological items are in the Prehistory Section of the Department of Archaeology of the National Museum of Bosnia and Heryegovina in Sarajevo.


4. Present condition of the site

            An on-site inspection led to the following findings:

• The area is exposed to rapid deterioration due to the lack of regular maintenance.



            Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument, adopted at the fourth session of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments (3 to 9 September 2002), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above.

            The Decision was based on the following criteria:

A.  Time frame

D.  Clarity (documentary, scientific and educational value)

D.i. material evidence of a lesser known historical era

D.ii. evidence of historical change

D.v. Evidence of the typical lifestyle of a given era

E.  Symbolic value

E.v. significance for the identity of a group of people

G. Authenticity

G.iii. use and function

G.v. location and setting

I. Integrity (groups, sites, collections)

I.i. physical coherence.


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-         Photodocumentation;

-         Drawings


            The documentation annexed to the Decision is public and available for view by interested persons on written request to the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.




Basler, Đ., Paleolitsko prebivalište Badanj kod Stoca (The Palaeolithic Settlement of Badanj near Stolac) Journal of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, (A), n.s. sv. XXIX /1974. Sarajevo, 1976., 5-18


Basler, Đ., Paleolitske kulture u jadranskoj regiji Jugoslavije (Palaeolithic Culture in the Adriatic Region of Yugoslavia), Journal of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, (A), n.s. sv. 38, 1983., 1-63.


Whallon, R.,  The Paleolithic Site of Badanj: Recent Excavations and Results of Analysis. Journal of the National Museum of BiH, (A), ns. sv. 44, 1989., 7-20.


Kujundžić, Z., Gravure na stijeni i gravirani ukrasi na upotrebnim predmetima – Badanj i pećina Pod lipom (Rock carvings and carved decorations on items of use – Badanj and the cave Under the Lime), Journal of the National Museum of BiH, (A), ns. sv. 44, 1989., 21-38.


(1)  Đ. Basler 1976, 7, provided a detailed description of the engraving.


Cave Badanj near BorojevićiPaleolithic site of Badanj, engraving drawingBadanuj - entrance at the cavePlan of the archeological researches in Badanj
Archeological findings    

BiH jezici 
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