Essays, Historical Places
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Bribirska Glavica

Bribirska glavica is also known as the Croatian TroyVarvaria or Breberium. The scene is a hilltop near Bribir in the historical region of Dalmatia, Croatia. There are signs of urban, military, administrative and religious occupation since prehistory. Structures include Roman villas and churches dating to back to Late Antiquity. An early medieval fortified burg and Ottoman defences, and seals and coins that represent its importance as a political centre during the High Middle Ages.1 Local archaeologist Fra Lujo Marun excavated the hilltop for the first time in 1908.2 Since 2014 an interdisciplinary group of Croatian, Norwegian, and Australian scientists excavate the area for clues from Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages.3

Viking Age Relevance

Bribirska Glavica. (Source: Google Maps).

During the Viking Age, Bribirska glavica is part of the Duchy of Croatia, but the Byzantines are also influential in the area. After c. 925 CE the hilltop becomes part of the kingdom of Croatia.4 In addition to the archaeological evidence, written recordings reveal more stories about the area. Unfortunately, they are generally written later than the actual events happened and often by non-local authors or mixed with motivations that make them hard to trust outright.5 

In May 2017, an international academic symposium took place in Croatia.6 An accompanying exhibit shows artefacts found between 2014 and 2017. Especially interesting are pieces of stone belonging to a sarcophagus found in 2015 underneath the church of SS Joachim and Ann. Some of the inscriptions in these pieces bear names such as Duke Branimir, a Croatian prince who ruled the area in the ninth century, and of an abbot Tedebert. More importantly, though, is the one that reads ‘Scania Inferior’.7 View the video at HRT (Croatian Public Broadcasting Network) to see the inscription. The inscription dates back to the late eighth or first half of the ninth century. There might be a possible connection with northern Europe as other grave-goods such as two Irish ‘hanging bowls’ seem to confirm.8 

For the time being, there is, unfortunately, no further evidence. The research on the inscriptions is in only in its early days and few conclusions can be made now. There might have been a Viking in Bribirska glavica from Scania. On the other hand, there might also have been a local person who travelled Europe and visited Ireland and Sweden on the way.

Learn More

Website of the Varvaria Breberium Bribir | Archaeological project.
Catalogue of the Museum Exhibition of the Excavations between 2014–2017.
Facebook page of the Bribir Archaeology Group.


  1. Varvaria Breberium Bribir | Archaeological project,’ Last Accessed 23 August 2017.   ↩
  2. Tourist Board County Šibenik–Knin, ‘Bribirska glavica,’ Last Accessed 23 August 2017.  ↩
  3. Varvaria Breberium Bribir | Archaeological project,’ Last Accessed 23 August 2017.   ↩
  4. Varvaria Breberium Bribir | Archaeological project,’ Last Accessed 23 August 2017.   ↩
  5. J.V.A. Fine, The Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century. (University of Michigan Press, 1991) pp. 256, 258.  ↩
  6. Colloquium on Bribir II, Book of Summaries,’ Last Accessed 25 August 2017.  ↩
  7. Ivica Rados, ‘Djedovi vikinga sa sobom su donijeli i dio irske kulture,’ In: Vecernji. Last Updated 10 August 2017. Accessed 23 August 2017.
    Igor Nobilo, ‘Archaeological Sensation: Evidence of Vikings on Border of Zadar and Šibenik–Knin Counties?,’ In: Total Croatia News. Last Updated 04 May 2017. Accessed 23 August 2017.   ↩
  8. Daniel Dzino, Australian Experiences of the Croatian Past: Macquarie University’s archaeological mission Bribirska glavica 2014–2017. Exhibition Catalogue. (Sydney: The Department of Ancient History, The Croatian Studies Centre and The Museum of Ancient Cultures, Macquarie University, 2017) pp. 12, 15.  ↩

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