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Prehistoric Hill Forts in Herzegovina and Croatia

Many sites which are called hill forts or “Gradina” (Grad, Gradac, Gradište and similar) hide the remains of prehistoric material. There has been little research on them historically. Vaclav Radimsky, Friar Fiala, dr. Ćiro Truhelka and other archaeologists have only partially dedicated their time to the research of these sites.
Most hill forts can be found on smaller mounds or on top of the hills that have a dominating position over the surroundings. The shape of hill forts depends on the ground they are built on.

Visible settlement walls on the hill of Mitruša.
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Visible hill fort walls on the hill of Mitruša.

Today we see them as the remains of dry stone walls. It’s probable that people walk over such ruins without realising that they are passing over ancient remains of hill forts. Long-term destruction of forests and plants, that once held the earth on these rocky areas of Herzegovina and Croatia, causes landslides and hill forts seem like poor karst soil.

In this video we can see some hill forts in Herzegovina (and one in Croatia). There are many of them, and very often we can see one from the viewpoint of another, which shows their control of space, fertile fields or once utilised merchant and traveller roads. They especially had their function of protection, but also an equally important role to protect resources and fertile fields. The growing number of tumuli (mounds) are sometimes present within the walls of hill forts. Very often groups of tumuli can be seen in the vicinity of hill forts.

Due to the inadequate amount of research that was carried out, there are few written reports on such settlements. Superficial finds include pieces of ceramic and binding material (used for internal wall coating) and also pieces of harder types of stone such as granite used as various tools.

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