The site Kaptol located in Požega valley, in present day continental Croatia, has been recognized as the pivotal Early Iron Age centre located on the southern brims of the Hallstatt cultural circle, since the second half of the 1960’s of the 20th century, as well as the eponymous site for the Martijanec-Kaptol cultural group. The site is mainly known for its rich burials with elaborated tumuli structures and the complex funerary practices of its community.
In recent years, four excavation campaigns have been undertaken on the hillfort settlement of Kaptol-Gradci, adjacent to the tumuli graveyard. The settlement is situated on a strategically favourable position dominating the surrounding area. The preliminary results, based on the material cultural remains, have yielded new and very important insights concerning the Early Iron Age to the Late Iron Age transition period.
When taking into account the present state of research concerning the end of the Early Iron Age and the transition to the Late Iron Age period in north-western Balkans, the lack of systematic research and all-encompassing data about the communities that were inhabiting the aforementioned area becomes evident. Many questions regarding inner settlement organisation, settlement distribution and communication networks still remain open. As the sole viable results come from old, small scale or salvage excavation campaigns, which, because of their limited nature, are just capable of giving highly particularized and incomplete datasets, only an impaired image of these communities can be achieved.
Furthermore, a multidisciplinary approach has been used during the course of the settlement research. A series of systematic geophysical surveys has been conducted on the hillfort. They have shown elaborate structures existing beneath the ground surface, indicating strong activity on the whole settlement perimeter and existence of a centre of considerable economic strength.
On a larger scale, a LiDAR scanning of the heavily forested area around the settlement allowed a wider area to be surveyed in order to find other associated archaeological features.
So far, a presence of a transitional horizon between late Hallstatt and the Early La Tène period on the hillfort has been revealed, the course of which is the subject of my ongoing research. Further goals include conducting a typological and chronological analysis of the material remains from the hillfort, contextualizing them and correlating the community living in Kaptol with other communities belonging to the same period, thus finding a place for Kaptol-Gradci hillfort on the communication networks map at the end of the Early Iron and the beginning of the Late Iron Age.