Medieval finds from a Serbian fortress

Archaeological investigation at the Jerina fortress, at Branig Hill, near the village of Brangovic, outside Valjevo, Serbia, revealed a new picture of the time pre-dating the Nemanjic Dynasty era (1166-1371) of the country’s history.

Apse of a church found in Jerina (by Valjevo Institute for the Protection of Monuments of Culture)

It has been discovered that there possibly existed a well organized and densely populated state, with fortifications set up to protect roads used to transport cargo containing precious ore in the area of Western Serbia, at least two centuries before the Nemanjic Dynasty. The researchers state, that no written accounts about this large and fortified settlement have yet been found. But the excavations revealed that the site was used by the Romans for military purposes from the 3rd century AD, and have reached even deeper layers, dating to Iron Age, when the site was firs fortified with stone walls. It was possible to determine that Serbs have lived at the site continuously since the 7th until the 10th century and the site was abandoned during Prince Caslav’s wars against the Magyars in the first half of the 10th century.

Rendering of the walls of the Jerina fortress (by Valjevo Institute for the Protection of Monuments of Culture)

The fortifications span on a three-hectare area, with a civilian settlement located in the lower part of the town, and upper part used for military purposes. The walls are thick and tall, and at one point they descend for the length of about 200 meters to the river. The builders used natural rock as fortification wherever they could, connecting it with the walls that are difficult to discern from a distance. For defence purposes, they cut paths and stairs into the steep rock, the traces of which are clearly visible to this day.

(after Valjevo Institute for the Protection of Monuments of Culture & B92)

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