The Croatian Middle Ages in the continental and coastal parts of the country are interpreted differently by historians and archaeologists, i.e., they are analysed using different methods and fields of interest. The reason for this can be found in higher preservation of tangible heritage and in better quality of historical sources in the southern regions which, throughout the ancient and medieval period, were more frequently the focus of state and economic events than the area of what was once medieval Slavonia or what is today continental Croatia. The observed area in the paper entitled Development and spatial organisation of medieval estates in the Upper Komarnica area included present-day Podravina or Upper Podravina in a narrower contemporary-geographical terminological interpretation (chapters 1 – 4). Unlike the southern regions mentioned above, there are not many preserved facilities from the Middle Ages. One part of them was built from bricks, which has been used sporadically in the construction of new facilities in recent times, all in the absence of naturally available hard construction materials. Many of those medieval facilities were built of decaying organic materials (wood, reeds). We still have very little or no surface traces of them, which would serve as proof of what the medieval landscape looked like. Accordingly, in order to answer or begin to answer the question of the layout of the Middle Ages in the observed area, I conducted a ten-year-long archaeological research at locations of vital importance in terms of ecclesiastical and administrative organization. Church locations in Koprivnica, Virje and Đurđevac, which are still centres of the Deanery of the Arcdiakonatus of Podravina, Diocese of Varaždin, were carefully chosen. Furthermore, other locations included medieval town or administrative centres with fortifications in Koprivnica, Kamengrad (Starigrad), Đurđevac and Gorbonok (Kloštar Podravski), such as they could be found in the cartographic and historical sources. In addition, three settlement locations on the eastern edge of Upper Komarnica (Zgruti 1, Crlenika 2, Ruškova Greda) were chosen for the purpose of gaining insight into the impact of the Ottoman threat on the border area. Also, one settlement in the municipal tax office Županec on the Prodaviz estate (Volarski breg 2) was explored to a lesser extent. Thus, in the first part of the research, three reference specimens of different archaeological sites are presented in order to gain insight into their developmental path. These three sites were, in the medieval feudal society, inhabited by the clergy, gentry and serfdom. The first thing that could be pointed out after all the sacral facilities had been examined (chapter 5), was the significant economic strength which could be observed from the organizational beginnings recorded through their architectural elements. Currently, the oldest known church in Upper Komarnica was built in Koprivnica around the middle of the 12th century. It was quite large in size, which indirectly indicates the existence of a larger population and financial power of the community. The same could be observed at the end of the 13th century when the church was acquired by the Franciscans. At the same time, the new parish church of St. Nicholas was built, while the Franciscans built a new church of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the beginning of the 14th century. The oldest church found at the Đurđevac site of Sošice was built around 1300, possibly even earlier. This church was rebuilt into a large late Gothic church at the end of the 15th century. Somehow, at the same time, a large late Gothic church was built in Virje (Prodaviz) with the characteristics of monastery communities, which is confirmed by the fifteen listed priests in the parish of St. Martin in 1501. Along with all of the parish churches mentioned above, there were also cemeteries which had their own peculiarities. It was confirmed that burials began in Koprivnica and Đurđevac in the 11th century, which is evident from the findings of the Bijelo Brdo culture, i.e., before the establishment of the parish cemeteries, which were later developing in accordance with the construction phases of certain sacral facilities. The cemetery of Virje provided the majority of anthropological and other indicators, among which the most interesting is the first appearance of family tombs. Furthermore, the presence of wooden coffins and the possibility of marking the graves were noticed, which was in contrast with the comprehension of how medieval cemeteries functioned. Although the older church was not found, it certainly existed there in the 13th century. This indicates that burials could have begun earlier, a fact which could not have been investigated due to the position of the current church. Osteological anthropological analyses provided evidence of a higher quality of life in medieval Virje compared with, e.g., late medieval community in Torčec. This indirectly points to a higher social status that was to be expected at the centre of the estate. Urban centres and fortifications could be found in the centres of medieval estates (chapter 6), namely in Rasinja, Koprivnica, Prodaviz, Đurđevac and Gorbonok, but even in today’s smaller settlements such as Starigrad, Torčec or Sveta Ana. Koprivnica became the centre of the whole area until the first decades of the 14th century when it came under direct royal rule. At the same time, the Governor of Slavonia, Mikac Mihaljević, settled in Prodaviz where he was probably building a new centre of the Koprivnica estate at the location of Kamengrad. His sons then initiated the first brick phase of the fortress Stari grad in Đurđevac around the middle of the 14th century, which then underwent several developmental phases with a major intervention in the 1480s. Parallelly with the first phase, the Gorbonok fortress was also being built. Koprivnica underwent the greatest architectural transformation in its existence and, from a fortified town with a castle in the 14th century, after several modernizations, became the largest anti-Ottoman fortress, a status which it held until the 1630s. Part of the fortress is still preserved today. The archaeological excavations revealed the adaptations to new forms of warfare, which cannot be said of the fortress of Kamengrad because only the contours of the former courtyard and chamber with the eastern retaining wall and the western defensive trench remained on the hill plateau. The Gorbonok fortress is a castle typical for the Modern Age which was built on the basis of an older “fortified” wood-earthen defence architecture and which was the centre of the estate and the residence of the Tahy noble family. Nobility living in both of these fortresses made significant contacts with the most developed European countries of the time. They were merchants and by engaging in this activity they enriched their dining tables with luxurious cutlery and tableware until the mid-15th and mid-16th century respectively. The fortifications on the sites of Gradina in Sveta Ana and Gradić in Torčec showed that they began to be fortified in the second half of the 12th or in the mid-13th century, which is connected with the danger of Mongol invasion and especially with the later influence of Bela IV. Since then, other similar fortifications had been gradually built, often becoming centres of smaller independent estates which date back to the period between the late 13th and mid-14th century (Budrovec, Kernin). The settlements were a great unknown prior to this research. The only systematic excavations have so far been conducted at several sites in the Torčec area in the western part of Upper Komarnica, while my research is focused on its eastern border. Two of the researched settlements showed continuous development from the 12th century until the end of the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century (Zgruti 1, Ruškova greda), while the occupation was confirmed on one of them (Crlenika 2) at the end of the early Middle Ages. Later, this site was used again from the developed to the late Middle Ages (chapter 7). According to the movable findings and analysed samples, it seemed that settlements were fully functional until the emergence of the Ottoman threat when they were abandoned. In the case of Ruškova Greda, the community returned to that location in the 17th century after the post-war situation had calmed down. Many animal bones were discovered at the location of Zgruti 1. This tells us about the activities the community was predominantly engaged in (cattle breeding). In Ruškova Greda we found an above-ground two-storey house and wood-fired ovens, which complement the finding about the daily life of the rural communities in the observed area. On Crlenika there was a possibility of permanent settlements from the 9th or 10th century until the early decades of the 16th century, which was not fully confirmed due to the limitations of the probe used in the investigation. This site is also interesting because of the possible existence of the early medieval cremation cemetery, which needs to be further investigated in the future. It seems that these were scattered settlements of Hungarian provenance, and only in the case of Zgruti 1 can we speak of some kind of organized settlement. In the second part of the research (chapter 8) I addressed the field overview and remote interpretation of the recorded archaeological sites, comparing them with the recognized historical topography (Pavleš 2013a; 2014). In Europe, reconstructions of medieval landscapes in archaeology have been conducted during the last few decades. Among the countries that specialized in this are England and then Germany, where, after classical mapping of the sites, they started with the spatial and/or landscape archaeology in the late 1960s. This method allowed them to begin determining which natural areas located outside of the settlements were important for the medieval community (forests, meadows, arable land, pastures). These pioneers include David Clarke who in Analytical Archaeology (1968) first strived for the standardization of scientific procedures in archaeology with the application of natural sciences, and who then in Spatial Archeology (1977) defined archaeology as a legacy of human activities on all levels, through material traces that were left and through environmental interventions. An overview of the first English works and the use of modern technology (GPS, GIS) were presented by Stephen Rippon (2009) ten years ago on the basis of several selected examples. Then Andrew Lowerre (2014) addressed further development of those methods in terms of exploring the relationship between natural environmental factors and settlements, while also being aware of all the advantages and disadvantages of such methodology. Shortly afterwards, in Germany, Irmela Herzog (2015) conducted research regarding mountainous areas east of Cologne in order to find models of medieval settlement patterns using GIS and a more recent cartographic background of those settlements (1715). She concluded that not all settlements appeared at once or lasted equally long. Furthermore, by using the empty space method which the new community fills in the area of 412 km2 , she got 121 settlements in the developed Middle Ages (1150 - 1350), 644 settlements in the late Middle Ages (1350 - 1500), and 375 settlements during the 16th century. The population thus keeps up with the country’s economic and political situation and other factors which still remain unknown to us. This population increased to 749 settlements by the beginning of the 18th century. During all this time, settlements were built on the highest quality land and in the immediate vicinity of watercourses, while higher mountainous areas were less populated, which had been confirmed even here since the earliest medieval periods (Valent & Zvijerac 2017). Comparing this data with the results in Upper Komarnica over the area of 800 km2 , we can conclude the following: 88 settlements belong to the early medieval period (6th - 10th century), 127 to the developed medieval period (11th - 13th century) and 266 to the late medieval period (14th - 16th century). There is an equal number of settlements in both observed areas in the developed Middle Ages and exponential population growth towards the end of the Middle Ages, quintuple in the Cologne area and double in the Upper Komarnica area. Then, in Germany, there was a serious decline in population, and, unfortunately, there is no separate information about all the sites which were being used until 1500 and later, but, according to the excavations which were carried out, it is obvious that they were abandoned by the mid-16th century. In Croatia, this has so far been linked to the Ottoman presence and their impact on the devastation of the surroundings, which should be re-examined by comparing the simultaneous decline of population in Germany where such danger did not exist. It seems to me that climate change played a role in this, which, in the 16th century, directly influenced the population decline in the wider Central European region. Namely, Hrvoje Petrić wrote on two occasions about the effects that the so-called “small ice age” had on the observed area, which marks the general cooling of the northern hemisphere between 1400 and 1850, with the coldest periods appearing in the mid-16th century and then between 1700 and 1850 (Petrić 2012b: 28-33; 2013: 39-43). The first period was marked by harsh winters which occurred several years in a row and by extremely wet summers which certainly had to affect the agriculture and economy of the medieval community, their health and the population figures. From the above mentioned, it can be concluded that the population decline during the 16th century would have happened even without the Ottoman presence, which only accelerated this process. The depopulation in the observed area was only corrected by the formation of the defence system in the border area and by the influx of population that established completely new settlements (Petrić 2013b: 89-112). Furthermore, the same period was investigated by Marek Vojteček (2014) for the area of the north-western Slovakia where he compared archaeological sites with historical settlements dating back to the period between the 12th and the 16th century. His work presents archaeological findings of houses, yards, villages, fields, forests and pastures on eight selected examples, while other sites (139) and historical records of settlements (640) are not interrelated. The northern neighbouring area of Upper Komarnica, i.e., the surrounding area of Hungarian Berzence, was similarly addressed in a paper written by Csilla Zatykó (2013) who recognizes several historic settlements located in two zones in the area of 30 ha and on 118 archaeological sites, the southern Drava zone with many smaller settlements and the northern mountainous zone with two major centres beyond which there are almost no other archaeological sites. In addition, in the southern zone she sees the medieval use of meadows and pastures, while in the northern zone she recognizes larger areas of arable land. These few examples speak of the fact that the landscape archaeology has not yet come to life in a practical way, as conceived fifty years ago by its pioneer, David Clarke. Namely, the historical landscape consists of churches and administrative centres as built facilities, and of estates and settlements, while in the spatial sense it is mostly occupied by forests, pastures and arable fields in the same way as it is today. Due to the current state of explorations, this paper covers a limited historical and spatial unit and here I offer solutions to the unanswered questions about the location of certain medieval settlements and estates, which will be a good starting point for further explorations of the landscape archaeology of the investigated area in terms of creating more precise determinants of it in the future. In this respect, parts of the medieval cultural landscape are currently, to a lesser extent, documented by archaeological research and they mostly rely on field overviews which contain certain information gathered about particular sites. It is worth mentioning Predrag Novaković from Slovenia as our closest representative of theoretical landscape archaeology, who in one paper summarizes the developments in the field so far, and who, among other things, states: “The starting point for the interpretation of surface distributions was the already known assumption that human behaviour reflects in a series of repetitive regularities, i.e., patterns that must be reflected in the organization of surface distributions. This was the starting point that was used for the negation of the null hypothesis which stated that there were no links between the observed phenomena. However, bigger problem was to give content to such distributions, i.e., to offer reference frames for their explanation” (Novaković 2008: 37). Without going into further discussion about the problem of interpretation of the surface records discussed by Novaković, in the context of this paper it should be said that such record is the available tool of good quality which served in the interpretation of the Upper Komarnica area. Precisely because of this, while processing individual locations, I roughly defined the surface findings as the only currently available material remains of the now nonexistent medieval settlement. I neither rejected nor took the quantity of findings as a relevant equalizing element with the characteristic of a particular position. Instead, I left room for a different interpretation and for the discovery of other potential circumstances, which will certainly happen in the future. Thus, examining a total of 383 recorded archaeological sites, I was looking for a potential historical settlement or a facility using all available knowledge and tools (historical sources, topography, oral traditions and local terms, field findings, archaeological record, remote interpretation), in the same way as it is being done in other contemporary European archaeological systems. For instance, this can be seen on the example of the area between Mezőhegyes and Csatókamarás in south-eastern Hungary, where it was precisely through this interdisciplinarity that several sites of medieval churches and their pertaining settlements had been identified (Szatmári & Kerekes 2014), which means that such methodology works. Taking into account all the relevant facts, a maximum of 138 identified historic facilities and settlements were found in Upper Komarnica, which is almost half (47.75 %) of all known estates in historical sources and topography. Realistically, this ratio is somewhat smaller and probably amounts to about 40 % of identified facilities and estates. Such satisfactory information is the result of combining archaeology and conducted historical research, on the basis of which a higher quality image of Upper Komarnica was created in the developed and late Middle Ages, which could have its beginnings in the early Middle Ages. Furthermore, it is necessary to look at the medieval population of the observed area in comparison with the present-day situation. At the beginning of the 21st century, there were 171 settlements in Podravina (today wider Upper Komarnica area); 26 (15.90 %) of those in the Drava tidal flats (e.g. Legrad, Ferdinandovac, Molve, Novo Virje) where people live with the Drava River, its benefits and dangers; 25 settlements (14.60 %) on low Holocene terraces (e.g. Sv. Đurđ, Đelekovec, Peteranec, Hlebine, Podravske Sesvete) where people mainly work in agriculture; 54 settlements (31.50 %) on the Würm terraces where all urban centres (Ludbreg, Koprivnica, Đurđevac, Virje, Pitomača) are located today, i.e., main traffic and quaternary and tertiary jobs with industrialization having the main role; and in the mountainous area there are as many as 65 small settlements and hamlets (38.00 %) established during the 18th and 19th centuries (e.g. Rasinja, Glogovac) mainly due to coal mining (Feletar & Feletar 2008: 199– 206). Through these four basic population zones, the interrelations between naturalgeographical factors and the spatial distribution of the population have always been inseparable. According to the data mentioned above, it seems that in modern times the most populated areas are the third and the fourth zone. This cannot be said of the previous centuries, which is reflected in the presented archaeological topography (Map 83). The dominance of terraces in the population of Upper Komarnica happened gradually at the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Age with the passing of the Ottoman threat, and such colonization was accelerated with the general Baroque restoration in the 18th century and especially later with the appearance of industrialization (Feletar & Feletar 2008: 197-199). However, it should be noted that, since the developed Middle Ages, all major centres of ecclesiastical and administrative organization are located here, while settlements are still more numerous on foothills and tidal flats (Map 85 – 86). Actually, zonal span of spatial population has been conditioned by natural-geographical features in the northwest-southeast direction in recent times, while during the Ancient Times and the early Middle Ages the concentration of settlement locations (Valent & Zvijerac 2017: Maps 1 and 4) was higher in the northwest part of the observed area on the first Holocene terrace (Map 84). In the easternmost part of Upper Komarnica the medieval population was lower, and this is especially true of the area between Virje and Kloštar Podravski (Map 67). This situation might be a reflection of archaeological exploration of the area, however, I believe that natural features also played a key role in the formation of settlements, primarily in the area of Đurđevački pijesci, inaccessible swamps along the Drava River, the area of Crni jarki and other large forested areas (Maps 8 and 26). The amount and area of forests in that part of Upper Komarnica is much higher than in its western parts. People have adapted to nature here, thus establishing few settlements in the narrow areas between the Drava River and dense forests (Podravske Sesvete) or even on the southern slopes of Bilogora to a much greater extent than in the hillsides of the northern part of Upper Komarnica. The comparison of the areas and borders of today's Koprivnica-Križevci County (Map 28) with the medieval Upper Komarnica was conducted by Ranko Pavleš (2008a) who presumed that there was a certain concordance between the past and the present situation, which I believe is confirmed in this paper (Map 87). By that I mean the western and eastern borders of Upper Komarnica, which largely coincide with today's administrative units; the northern border was once the Drava River, which flowed much to the south in its western part, while in the south the border was almost identical, extending to the peaks of the Bilogora Mountain or to its foothills. The heritage of the Middle Ages can still be found on the example of today's ecclesiastical organization (Map 29). Namely, the rebuilding of parishes in the 17th century followed, above all, the medieval centres with the remnants of the organization of that time and was kept like that until the Modern Age. It seemed that the four-part Arcdiakonatus of Podravina (Map 88) belonged to the present-day Varaždin Diocese (Map 88) as reminiscence of the Upper Komarnik Arcdiakonatus, from which the southern area or the former Lower Komarnica was taken and annexed to the Bjelovar-Križevci Diocese. The area of the Rasinja estate with parishes in Rasinja, Subotica, Kuzminec, Imbriovec and Đelekovec belongs to the Ludbreg Deanery today. This area was again returned to the Ludbreg Deanery, as it was writtenin the 1334 parochial census. Drnje took over the parish of Torčec and moved to the Koprivnica Deanery office, along with old parishes in Koprivnički Ivanec, Peteranec and Starigrad, and new parishes in Koprivnički Bregi, Reka and five parishes in Koprivnica. The Deanery of Virje today includes parishes in Virje, Novigrad Podravski, Molve, Hlebine and Miholjanec, and new parishes in Ždala, Gola, Sigetec and Donji Mosti. In the end, the Đurđevac Deanery took over the northern parts of the former Prodaviz with parishes in Ferdinandovac and Novo Virje, followed by the parishes of Budrovac and Kozarevac in the south, then Kloštar Podravski, Kalinovac and Podravske Sesvete, and the newly added Pitomača. From the above mentioned, it can be seen that the position of the medieval parishes during their reconstruction in the 17th century remained the same. Finally, today in the area bounded by Bilogora and Drava in the south and north, and at the interspace between Ludbreg and Pitomača, people are called Podravci, unlike people from Varaždin and Virovitica who never accepted to be identified by this name. This is precisely the same area that is now bounded by the Arcdiakonatus of Podravina, which modern geography refers to as Upper Podravina, and which Pavleš singled out as a separate area of Upper Komarnica on the basis of the Arcdiakonatus of Upper Komarnica. The separation from the southern part of Bilogora and the former Lower Komarnica is not only visible in historical sources or in today's ecclesiastical organization. It is primarily visible in the cultural identity of the two areas with language as its strongest element. Namely, today, in the Podravina area, Kajkavian dialect is spoken, as opposed to the Stokavian dialect in the Bjelovar area, which undoubtedly indicates the discontinuity of population of that area from the Middle Ages onwards. On the other hand, it seems likely that, despite the population decline in the 16th century and the new colonization in the 17th century, Upper Komarnica retained its medieval identity, which is ultimately reflected in the well-preserved historical and archaeological topography presented in this work. On the basis of everything stated so far, one can think of a partial equalization of the borders and spatial organization of medieval Upper Komarnica with present-day Podravina, where ecclesiastical and administrative organization began very early, as early as the mid-12th century, and which had progressed administratively since the mid-13th century after the Mongolian threat had passed. In these circumstances, it welcomed the end of the Middle Ages. In the midst of those unfortunate circumstances, a solid organizational system, ecclesiastical and administrative, was established in the observed area at the beginning of the16th century. It was bounded by two parallel lines at the Bilogora foothills and by the edge of the Drava tidal flats as a result of natural-geographical features, which have remained as they are today after the restoration in the 17th century.