Horizon Europe (2021 - 2027)

Unde venis? Unraveling the enigma of stećci tombstones: STONE

Last update: Apr 16, 2024 Last update: Apr 16, 2024


Locations:Serbia, Slovenia
Start Date:May 1, 2024
End Date:Apr 30, 2029
Contract value: EUR 2,778,380
Sectors:Culture, Research, Science & Innovation Culture, Research, Science & Innovation
Date posted:Apr 16, 2024

Associated funding

Associated experts


Programme(s): HORIZON.1.1 - European Research Council (ERC) 


Call for proposal: ERC-2022-COG

Funding Scheme: HORIZON-ERC - HORIZON ERC Grants

Grant agreement ID: 101089123


Stećci are medieval tombstones dispersed throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Still preserved in situ in tens of thousands in the landscapes, they are common grave markers of the Late Medieval and early Ottoman (12th C - 16th C) Western Balkans’ plural societies. Although erected in the geographical region known for the ‘medley of peoples,’ stećci are not attributed to any ethnic or religious group and have always been considered enigmatic, lacking a clear, explicit belonging. The sheer number and dispersed distribution have hampered steć ci scholarship, confining our understanding of this heritage to visual information and historical overviews. This multi-scale, multi-proxy archaeological project will integrate innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to study medieval funerary archaeology. The principal goal is to understand the social life of the society that left us these remarkable monuments. Focusing on medieval Herzegovina, the cradle of the stećci phenomenon, the proposed research into the social lifeways of these monuments will redefine the scholarship of the medieval Western Balkans funerary culture and situate it within a European context, significantly raising its visibility within international scholarship and the public domain. In addition to increasing our understanding of stećci, STONE will establish a discipline of medieval epigraphy in the Western Balkans; introduce epiconography, a conceptually innovative approach to study inscriptions and decorations on stećci; use a prehistoric landscape approach to investigate medieval landscape and initiate a paradigmatic shift away from the current culture-historical approach to the study of past societies. The proposed research will serve as a propulsive force within Western Balkan medieval archaeology, enabling it to make a decades-long leap to align with current medieval European funerary and research trends.

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