top of page

Traditional Krnjaš civil engineering

Krnjaš. Ivo Kozarac house, 2005.

Slavonia experienced a surge in urbanization during the time of Empress Maria Theresa and her son Joseph the Second. Right around that time Krnjaš was also formed as Vinkovci’s farmer borough.


The gables of Slavonian-Srijem houses were very typical. Some of the houses had porches, with or without front doors. All of them had two front windows and two little ventilation openings located below the roof. Those houses were very similar, and yet very different. The difference could be noted in the type of the material house was built with, the type and the design of the windows, façade color, doorsteps (sokla or cokla) and in the details carved on the façade.

The house had longer or narrower kućište, with high wooden, plank or brick fence, the yard had pedestrian and road entrance and longitudinal garden which led to the inside parts of the yard (avlije) which contained other facilities such as: kućar, barns, stables, well, granary (ambar), other facilities along with gardens (bašće) in the second yard and orchards in the third yard.


Communication with the outside world was conducted through two windows on the front gable or in front of the house on little benches.

By the end of the 19th century stern materials such as terracotta and tiles expanded the house into three rooms: the grand front room which served as a master room of the house, middle room – kitchen (kuća) which had an open fire place (banak) and smaller room which served as a storage unit.


The master room served as a place where both family and guests gathered. The beds (postelje) were put alongside the gables, the big table with benches and chairs (sinija) was in the middle of the room, and next to it was the children’s table (sinijica). The kitchen wall had a built-in furnace (furuna) and some rooms had kobilaš, wooden box, bedding storage (rubenine), loom (stative), spinning wheel and other furniture.

Krnjaš. Ivan Kozarac house, 2007.

The front gables wall had religious icons, a few family photographs and a cross. This was the birth place of Ivan Kozarac, Croatian writer and poet, who was born in 1885 and lived his young life until 1910. He was famous for writing Slavonska krv, Đuka Begović but also for composing Milov’o sam garave i plave, a love song dedicated to the love of his life, Marija Kozarac from Krnjaš.

Ljubica Gligorević, MA


Late Stone Age or Neolithic

The city of Vinkovci is situate in a very favorable geographical position. The city is located on the northern edge of the Bosut valley, the natural crossing between Đakovo and Vukovar plateau, surrounded by alluvial plains of Vuka and Bosut, in the heart of the place where Sava and Dunav are closest to each other.


First farmer settlers arrived in Vinkovci in 6300 BC and brought ceramics and domesticated plants and animals. The agricultural economy brought sedentary way of living and the construction of permanent settlements. Prehistoric Krnjaš settlement continually existed from Late Stone Age onward, and the oldest settlement belongs to Starčevac culture. The population lived in dugout houses which was confirmed when the archeological exploration was conducted in the Josip Kozarac street number 62 when the dugout, along with other findings, was discovered.

Archeological site in the Josip Kozarac street number 38

Protected archeological excavation conducted in the Josip Kozarac street number 38 (the birth house of Ivan Kozarac) resulted in finding two skeletal remains in fetal position (Graves 7 and 8) which were buried in the already abandoned prehistoric pits. The graves were proved to be dating from 5730 – 5638 BC based on absolute dating obtained from radiocarbon analysis done by using the skeletons’ teeth (done in Beta Analytic Inc. in Miami). These graves belong to the nearby Starčevac culture settlement (findings belonging to the same culture were also find below the nearby house, house number 62.)

Bronze age

Krnjaš settlement continually existed even in the Bronze Age. The beginning of the Bronze Age (around 2500 BC) was marked by the surge in craftsmanship regarding bronze objects. Bronze Age settlers started to build above ground, rectangular houses. They burned their ancestors and buried them in urns. The Bronze Age settlement that was found in the Josip Kozarac street number 38 had a waste pit which contained an intact polished black bowl. Based on this finding, we can assume that the settlement dates from the Middle Bronze Age, the time of Belegiš I culture which thrived in this area from 1700 to 1300 BC. Material remains of Belegiš I culture are specific because the Belegiš I people shaped their black cups and amphorae in a specific way. They would style them by making a thin bottom with two handles decorated at the end with horns and spiral decorations. Objects also had carved decorations all over.

Bowl – Bronze Age – Vatican culture

The settlements of Belegiš I culture were very much expected to be found in this area considering that the Archeological department of the Vinkovci City Museum possesses old findings of the two Belegiš I amphorae dug at the Josip Kozarac street 24 and 25 locations, which, along with the M. Medvedović’s collection, are now a part of the permanent exhibition.

Late Iron Age

Late Iron Age in Vinkovci is accessible to use via material legacy of the Celtic tribe Skordiska and their Laten culture. They brought many new inventions to this part of the world, including pottery wheel, money and various tools that are still in use today such as sickle, scissors and pliers. The best knows Skordiska settlement was located on Dir brijeg, just outside the prehistoric Krnjaš settlement (the two settlements were divided by Nevkoš spring’s confluence into the river Bosut).


The western plot of Josip Kozarac street number 38 finding revealed a dugout, 5.00 x 5.50 m big, making the dugout settlement stretch beyond the Kozarac plot.

Laten dugout – Late Iron Age

The dugout is proved to be a Skordiska legacy who lived in this area from 300 to 15 BC. The dugout provided pieces of Laten ceramics, animal bones and daub.

Roman period

Skordiska tribe remained in this area even during Roman conquest. The first century AD brought the development of a Roman city located where modern city of Vinkovci stands. In the second century AD, the city of Cibalae obtained the municipality status thus becoming Municipium Aelium Cibalae. The beginning of third century brought new changes and the city obtained colony status and changed its name once again, now becoming Coloniam Aurelia Cibalae. Brothers Valentian I and Valens, born in Cibalae, were the only two Roman emperors that were born in what is now contemporary Croatia. They ruled over Western and Eastern Roman empire during the second half of the fourth century.

Roman period findings are related to the ceramics craftsmanship center in Krnjaš. The research conducted in Josip Kozarac street number 14 showed that a part of the settlement was extra muros from the 4th century. The Roman period settlers used the south western area along the Cibalae city line very extensively, mostly for burial grounds, residential quarters and working facilities. Based on the findings that have been discovered so far, the settlement was very active during late Roman period, from the end of the third and for the most part of the fourth century. The seven Roman graves, dug up in the Josip Kozarac street number 38 location, contained two bone combs and several iron findings. 


The remains of the smooth yellow clay floor and several pits, according to the findings, are related to the late medieval times and belong to the Saint Elijah settlement

Grave 9 – Roman period

The waste pit which is located in the center of the location was used up until Ivan Kozarac’s house was built, and the youngest cultural layer are the foundation remains of the newly teared down Ivan Kozarac house.

Maja Krznarić​ Šrivanko

bottom of page