Pećina Badanj

Useful Information

(43.08126337059447, 17.885451212299774)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: n/a
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: R. Whallon (1989): The Paleolithic Site of Badanj: Recent Excavations and Results of Analysis Journal of the National Museum of BiH, (A), ns. sv. 44, 1989., pp 7-20, ISSN 0581-7501.
Address: Pećina Badanj.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1976 site discovered.
1976-1979 archaeological excavations by Đ. Basler.
1986 archaeological excavations as a part of a joint project of the National Museum and the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology.
registered on the Provisional List of National Monuments as No. 598.
2002 registered as a Category 1 monument of national importance.
JAN-2003 designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2007 listed on the UNESCO tentative list.


Pećina Badanj (Badanj Cave) is an archaeological site with Paleolithic remains in Borojevići near Stolac. It consists of a semi-cave or shelter beneath a cliff that rises steeply 45 m above the right bank of the Bregava. The Bregava river forms a gorge, which is 18 km long, and in this area it is about 100 m deep. This valley was a major connection between Narona and Dilunta (Vid-Stolac) during Roman times with a road. Probably it was also an important connection for our prehistoric ancestors or the prey they hunted.

The shelter has massive layers of sediments with artifacts, but also engravings on the wall. The oldest dated remains are from the later Upper Palaeolithic. The youngest are Epigravettian (13,000 to 12,000 BCE).

Of particular significance is the discovery of a drawing carved into the rock. It is one of the oldest examples of art in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was cut into the diagonal surface of a large polished block of stone broken off from the cliff. The drawing probably represents the figure of a horse seen from the offside flank that has been hit by arrows. Only the rear half of the body, with flanks typical for a horse and a part of the body still exist, the rest of the drawing has been destroyed. The drawing is not anatomically perfect. The damage to the drawing occurred already during the Palaeolithic, the rock was discovered after the soil was removed from the cave. Similar engravings are known in significant numbers in Sicily, Calabria and Apulia.

The cave was officially discovered in 1976, but actually the locals deforested the area between World Wars I and II. As a result, the locals used the upper layers of the cave sediment as fertilizer. So they removed the youngest layer and destroyed the archaeological evidence. They also uncovered the engravings.

Unfortunately, this site is in rapid deterioration due to the lack of regular maintenance. The engraving was protected by the sediment cover, since it was removed the has considerably deteriorated. The site is developed for tourism with an impressive walking trail, handrails, and a nice picnic area right below the cave, which offers a great view. The site is listed in some travel guides, but fortunately, still very little visited.