Valuable Archaeological Find in Krka National Park

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April 15, 2020 – A powerful 17th and 18th centuries artillery weapon mačkula was guarded for centuries by the Nečven fortress.

A greatly preserved mačkula, still used today to celebrate the victory at the traditional manifestation Sinjska alka was found at one of the two gatekeepers of Krka River, the Nečven medieval fortress, in the near future connected by a hanging bridge with the fortress Trošenj on the opposite side of the river bank. 

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During conservation works on the Nečven medieval fortress in Krka National Park in March, archaeologists were exalted by a valuable finding of a powerful artillery weapon – the mačkula. The extraordinarily conserved bronze specimen, the precursor of today’s mortar, was used to invade fortified settlements and enemies in deep cover. Mačkula (mortar, merzer) is a weapon that holds a special place in the warrior heritage. During the traditional manifestation Sinjska alka, every goal „u sridu“ (‘in the middle’) is celebrated by a shot from the mačkula. Its value is enhanced even more during the ceremony of the winner proclamation when several mačkula are shooting from ’s old fortified walls.

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Systematic archaeological research of Nečven fortress started in 2011. and along with archaeological excavations conservation works of the fortress were accomplished. Metal and stone findings were conserved at the Krka NP conservation workshop.

The specimen mačkula is another valuable finding that will complete the Krka NP archaeological collection and contribute to the valorisation of the cultural and historical heritage of our region“struck Nella Slavica, director of the Public Institute of Krka National Park, and explained that the conservation of the Nečven fortress is a long-lasting project to preserve heritage conducted along with preparatory activities for the future construction of the hanging hiking bridge between the fortresses Nečven and Trošenj over the Krka River canyon. „The bridge construction aims to keep and direct visitors towards upstream locations of Krka River canyon in order to present, among others, the Krka Eco Campus in Puljane, the Burnum archaeological site, the Oziđana pećina cave and the extraordinary Manojlovac waterfall“ pointed Slavica.

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At the beginning of this year, conservation works on the remains of the north and northwestern parts of the Nečven fortress were accomplished along with several internal objects previously archaeologically explored. Afterward started the research of the polygonal tower in the lower part of the fortress. The mačkula was found in the bulwark of the hexagonal tower right from the fortress entrance.

Built at the beginning of the 14th century, the Nečven fortress is one of the most valuable monuments of medieval fortification architecture in Dalmatia. It was owned by the Nelipić family for two centuries. In the 16th century, Nečven is conquered by the Ottomans but a year before the final expulsion of the Ottomans and the liberation of the City of Knin in 1688 inhabitants took over Nečven fortress and from it guarded the border. Opposite Nečven fortress above Krka canyon Trošenj fortress proudly stands for centuries. Both fortresses represent valuable monuments of Croatian cultural heritage. Fortresses Nečven and Trošenj, built and owned by great Croatian families Nelipići and Šubići as part of the medieval defence system today are valued within Krka National Park.

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Want to know more about Krka National Park? Here is the Total Krka National Park in a Page guide.

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