02. 02. 2016 @ Antonija Eremut

Rotna gomila, Zvirići

Category: cultural heritage GPS: LAT: 43.1195413071 / LONG 17.5924111244682

Bilig, kamic, stećak or mramorov are medieval tombstones appearing first in the 13th century, whose use and development culminated in the 14th and 15th century. Research indicates that there are around seventy thousand biligs, of which 86 per cent in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest in Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Most numerous grave sites of biligs are located in Herzegovina. Ornaments and symbols on biligs, seen in six thousand copies, attract the greatest attention. Motifs can be classified into several categories: borders, astral motifs, crosses, weapons, animals, human figures and different scenes (round-dance, hunting, tournaments). Typical Herzegovinian motifs include a twining vine with a trefoil, arcades with semicircular or pointed arches, shields with a sword, round-dance and a deer hunt. The choice of motifs reflects religious Christian iconography. Birds, deer, horses and round-dance may symbolize migration of the soul of the deceased. Bodies were buried in the extended position, with heads to the west and legs to the east. Around four hundred inscriptions on biligs hide many secrets of ancient stonemasons and scribes. No inscription has a wording which might indicate heretical teachings.

At the site Dilić in Bijača, on the private property of family Galić and right by the road Teskera-Bijača-Vid, there are now 35 biligs. There used to be more of them, but one part was built into a nearby road in 1931, and 11 copies are in the drystone wall by the road. Regarding their forms, most of them are chest-shaped (twenty of them), fourteen of them are slab-shaped and one is gabled. Seventeen biligs are decorated. Symbolic motifs which stand out are: a cross (on seven copies), new moon (six copies), twisted garland, a rosette, a star and the sun. Weapons can be seen on nine copies: a sword, a shield, a shield with a sword and a bow and arrow. Motifs of round-dance, human figure and hunt are spotted on eight biligs. When it comes to geometric and architectural motifs, a twisted rope motif is present, a vine with a trefoil and arcades. The central monument is a gabled tombstone (114 x 90 x 112 cm), with an obviously dominant position in the graveyard. On its south lateral side there is a relief of a round-dance with four dancers. On the opposite north lateral side a stonemason created a scene of hunt, with a horseman hunting deer with a spear, pursued by a dog. On the east lateral side two five-pointed stars are carved, and a puzzling relief between them. On the opposite west lateral side there is a heraldic motif with a shield, a sword and human figure. Shield's surface is divided into two fields by a diagonal stripe. In the left field a simple spiral was carved. It is obviously a part of a heraldic display. It is the infantry shield called targa (Germ. Tartsche, in Bosnia tarča). Those coats of arms belonged to lower aristocracy in Zahumlje, often of Vlach origin. A high dignitary, perhaps of ducal status, was probably buried under that bilig.

The site with the biligs in Bijača was proclaimed a national cultural monument and is also on the candidate list to be nominated a world heritage site by UNESCO. During 2013, the graveyard was cleaned and restored, while the monuments underwent a conservation treatment. It will be necessary to perform a rescue archaeological excavation to complete the protection of the site.