Monday, 3 October 2022

Another Archaeological Find Takes Us Back to Roman Rule Over Istria

October the 3rd, 2022 - There are frequent archaeological finds all over Croatia, with most of them involving the Roman Empire being discovered in Dalmatia. One such find is yet another in a series of impressive relics which transport us back to the time of Roman rule over Istria.

As Morski writes, an impressive archaeological find was discovered down on the seabed of Barbariga bay in Istria recently. A large Roman pier, almost 60 metres long, where two thousand years ago some of the best olive oils of the Roman Empire was loaded up has been unearthed.

The sea always hides many stories both on the surface and below it, and this one in particular is a story that takes us straight back to the time when Istria was ruled by the ancient Romans.

Ida Koncani Uhac, head of the underwater archeology collection from the Archaeological Museum of Istria, said that they are investigating a Roman jetty in Barbariga bay, and at a depth of a mere three metres, archaeologists found a monumental structure - the aforementioned almost 60-metre-long Roman pier constructed with three rows of stone blocks. 

''We as divers are here to help the archaeologists in their work and to take care of the safety of diving because diving needs to be done in pairs. This is the rule in diving,'' said Sandra Kamerla Buljic, a local diving instructor. This particular dive takes us back two thousand years, to the times of the mighty Roman Empire, and when the sea level was a full two metres lower than it is today

''Back during that time, one of the largest oil mills in the entire Roman Empire was located on the coast, and there were also impressive villas and a large jetty as part of the commercial port. There were no roads, and maritime traffic dominated. These ships would dock and load up the olive oil, which Pliny the Elder wrote was the second best in quality in the entire Empire, and it was then transported in amphorae.

These amphorae were produced in Fazana, also in Istria, and they were then transported to the pier. This is where oil was stored and then shipped on, mainly to the Northern Adriatic, to Aquileia, the river port of Aquileia and further inland to supply the Roman army that guarded the borders of Histria,'' explained Koncani Uhac.

Discovering a story that was forgotten for thousands of years is the job of archaeologists, and Dolores Matika, an archaeologist, stated that they are interested in whether any seeds and fruits have been preserved. More will be known after they conduct further research into these findings, but given the fact that they have found olive pits, they expect satisfactory results in this regard.

Remains of amphorae, dishes, glass and ceramics have already been found, and Koncani Uhac has claimed that they also found an interesting bowl that they managed to date to the period 15-25 years after Christ.

The research is being carried out as part of the "Istrian Undersea" project, in which as many as seventeen diving clubs are participating. All of them are exploring their areas in search of archaeological traces, and ancient remains of Roman ports have been found throughout Istria, as HRT reported.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Zadar Archaeologists Discover 17,000 Year Old Horse Head

September the 27th, 2022 - Croatia, much like the rest of Europe, is brimming with history from times long since gone by, and every few weeks it seems there is a brand new, very impressive find buried literally under the ground and proverbially by the ages. Zadar archaeologists have now discovered a horse head that is likely to be around 17,000 years old.

As Morski writes, traces of ancient times buried under the soil are frequently stumbled upon in Dalmatia, and Zadar aechaeologists are now on the threshold of an apparently very interesting discovery.

On the official Facebook page of the EpiC project - the Epigravetian Communities of Northern Dalmatia, they published more about their interesting find:

''Maybe it's a rainy Sunday, but even that can't stop the team. Although it seemed that we would stay warm and dry and deal with the administrative part of archaeology, curiosity came calling. At the end of the working day a unicorn appeared! We are waiting for our colleague Radovic to confirm the finding... Joking aside, we are talking about a horse that is probably around 17,000 years old! We are eagerly awaiting your suggestions for a name to give to it,'' the Zadar archaeologists said on Facebook.

''We found a horse-like head and now we are waiting for the confirmation from our other fellow scientists whether it is a species of horse that died out a long time ago or it is the remains of a wild horse. In addition, we also found traces of a hearth and the remains of hunting equipment, which is common for that era,'' research leader Dario Vujevic from the Department of Archeology of the University of Zadar told Radio Zadar.

As it was covered by a layer of earth that dates back to a period even older than 17,000 years, and coincides with the time period during which the last ice age took place, it is obvious that the animal remains also come from that period.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 13 June 2022

Information Day Being Organised for Omisalj Archaeology Parks

June the 13th, 2022 - An information day is being organised for the Omisalj archaeology parks as part of a wider project with the aim to increase the level of interest of locals in preserving local cultural identity.

As Morski writes, an Info Day within the scope of the wider TRANSFER project, which is being implemented as part of the Interreg Adrion programme, will be held on June the 14th, 2022, at the Mirine archaeological site in the Municipality of Omisalj, starting at 09:00.

The aim of this event is to increase the participation and interests of local communities and relevant stakeholders and to further strengthen cultural identity. In order to raise awareness of the importance of Omisalj archaeology parks and sites and convey the concept of their integrated protection and valorisation within the project, the upcoming event will present the objectives and activities of the aforementioned project and illustrate the need for a participatory approach to Omisalj archaeology park management.

The Municipality of Omisalj, as one of the twelve partners of the TRANSFER project, is participating in the preparation of the document related to the Joint Sustainable Management Model, which resulted in the management plan of the Mirine - Fulfinum Archaeological Park. As part of the project, the municipality is also participating in Pilot actions that will be carried out across six Omisalj archaeology parks, including Mirine-Fulfinum.

Lessons learned from the Pilot Actions, together with inputs from local communities, relevant stakeholders and the experience of young people during study visits, will be used for the final revision of the Common Model. In addition to the above-mentioned activities, the municipality will participate in the development and implementation of a virtual reality app that will enable a virtual walk through the archaeological area of ​​Mirina - Fulfinum.

The TRANSFER project, in which the Municipality of Omisalj participates as one of twelve partners, is being co-financed through the European transnational programme (ADRION), which promotes cooperation between 8 countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.

The overall goal of the Transnational Cooperation Programme is to strengthen European integration among the aforementioned partner countries through innovative policies and management processes, as well as to further increase the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the Programme Area by using rich natural, cultural and human resources in the Adriatic and Ionian Sea.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 18 February 2022

4th Century Coins Found on Ugljan Island

February 18th, 2022 - Archaeological research was conducted on St. Michael's fortress on Ugljan island, which is set to become a tourist attraction dedicated to the cultural heritage of all Zadar islands

Archaeological research has been underway at St. Michael's fortress on Ugljan island for several years now. During the third excavation campaign, archaeologists found modern, medieval and late antique coins, as well as 14 fragments of stone sculpture.

As reported by Naši Školji, a small amount of archaeological material was collected, mostly ceramics, which will be stored at the Archaeological Museum in Zadar after preliminary processing and analysis.

Research was conducted by the company Arheolog d.o.o. from November 3rd to December 8th, 2021. Archaeologist Damir Martinov, head of the company that carried out the work, explained that the recent research provided valuable insight into the stratigraphy and chronology of the embankment on the south-west side of the fortress, which once used to house the church of St. Michael. 

‘Several layers of the embankment have been documented, dating to different periods. The two upper layers of the embankment were formed during the 20th century, as evidenced by the remnants of various materials from recent history. The thick upper embankment on the southern side, made of stone and soil, was consolidated by a dry stone wall, and was made by demolishing the ruinous Romanesque-Gothic church of St. Michael after World War II. Inside the embankment, thirteen stone artefacts from the church were found (fragments of pillars, lintels, capitals, consoles, arch openings, etc.). The lower, thinner embankment layer probably formed during the first half of the 20th century’, explained Martinov.

One of the embankment layers dates to the early modern era, i.e. between the 16th and the 18th centuries. Three layers date to late middle ages; a silver Venetian coin was found in one of the layers, minted for the Doge of Venice Andrea Dandolo (1343-1354).

In another late medieval layer, researchers discovered late antique coins dating to the first half of the 4th century - a significant find that points to activity on the site in late antiquity.

A captain's house dating to the 1400s was also discovered at the fortress during an earlier research campaign. 

‘Archaeological research was conducted as part of the reconstruction and revitalization of St. Michael's fortress, which is a protected cultural asset of the Republic of Croatia and is supposed to contribute to the sustainable economic development of Ugljan and Pašman islands, as well as development of cultural and active tourism. A project for the reconstruction of the fortress will be developed based on the results of the archaeological research. So far, a geodetic study and geodetic survey, a conservation study and an architectural survey of the fortress have been completed’, said Preko Mayor.

There are big plans for the fortress of St. Michael, which is supposed to become a so-called Castle of Island Stories, an interpretation center that will introduce visitors to the heritage of all Zadar islands.

Research was conducted by archaeologists Damir Martinov, Domagoj Maurin and Dominik Kelava of the company Arheolog, in collaboration with archaeology students Pio Domines Peter, Domagoj Knez, Luka Žarković, Eugen Fritz Prgomet and Leona Valenta. The experts were assisted by four workers from Ugljan.

Sunday, 13 February 2022

Neanderthal Stone Tool Found at New Excavation Site in Croatia

February 13th, 2022 - An incredible discovery was made in the Upper Barać Cave in Rakovica near Plitvice Lakes. A stone tool known as a scraper points to the presence of the Neanderthals, putting the cave on the international map of notable archaeological sites

Speleologist Hrvoje Cvitanović and archaeologist Jana Frdelja, members of the speleological club Ursus Spelaeus from Karlovac, discovered an artefact that is believed to be a tool used by the Neanderthals in the Mousterian age, reports tportal. Namely, it’s a stone tool referred to as a scraper.

'As restoration works were being carried out in the entrance part of the Upper Barać Cave, namely as a protective fence was being installed around the existing probe with displayed artefacts, I found a stone tool that seemed very interesting to me right away, primarily because the artefact was located next to a phalanx and a teeth of the cave bear, and secondly, because I have never seen chert [stone] shaped this way except in scientific literature. This was an incidental find, because if we had decided to place the pillars only a few centimetres away, this tool would have remained buried under layers of soil. I felt extremely pleased because we’re talking about a rare discovery that has the potential for further research whose outcome is likely to have not only national but international significance’, said Cvitanović.

Igor Karavanić PhD, a professor at the Department of Archaeology of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb explained the tool was a very interesting scraper made of high quality material.

‘Such tools are typical of the Middle Paleolithic, namely the Mousterian age, which in Europe is always associated with Neanderthals. Sometimes they can date to an earlier period, so it's difficult to draw conclusions in terms of culture with 100% certainty based on a single artefact, but this is a very typical scraper found in the Mousterian, and given the information I received from those who participated in the excavation, it’s very likely that this is related to the Neanderthal. This would mean that we have another, new Middle Paleolithic site in Croatia where Neanderthals were present for at least a short period of time, judging by the artefact found in the Barać Cave’, said Dr. Karavanić. He’s of the opinion that this discovery should be taken as an incentive for further research, as it gives great value to the site and proves the presence of man in a period which is very attractive not only for national science but on the international level as well.

Together with outside collaborators, the Barać Cave Public Institution revealed the results of recent research, conducted in the cave in 2020 and 2021 with the aim of preservation, maintenance and promotion of natural treasures in the area of Rakovica Municipality.

'We consider this extraordinary discovery to have potential for further socio-economic development of tourism in our area. Our goal is to achieve recognizable national importance through further exploration of the Upper Barać cave, which should be improved by promoting it on the world tourist market and participating in international scientific events. These results are great motivation for us to continue our research, because truly, wherever we scratch the surface, we find something! After all, caves are the last unexplored areas on Earth. We will not stop here', said Tihana Oštrina, the director of the Barać Cave Public Institution.

Encouraged by this phenomenal discovery, the institution plans to continue the research in the entrance part to the Upper Barać cave in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, the Ursus Spelaeus speleological club, the Department of Archaeology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb and the University of Wyoming in the USA.

A specific goal of theirs is to study the layers of Neanderthal artefacts that would confirm the activity of Neanderthals and help determine to which extent they were present in the Upper Barać Cave; as research is carried out, it will be necessary to confirm there was recurrent activity in the cave. 

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Great Archaeological Finds Discovered in a Cave on Hvar

ZAGREB, 6 Nov 2021 - The cave called "Babina Špilja" on the Adriatic island of Hvar was explored by archaeologists this summer and autumn when they found ceramic items and animal bones dating back to the early Neolithic period and a pebble with natural markings, which appears to have originated from the Mesolithic.

The discoveries are currently in Oxford for radiocarbon dating, archaeologist Marcel Burić has told Hina.

The results of that analysis will be completed in January 2022, and they will indicate whether or not people had existed on this Croatian island also before the early Neolithic.

The exploration was triggered off by the results of the doctoral thesis of researcher Alen Miletić who has studied the topography of prehistoric sites on the western side of Hvar.

Babina Špilja is at an altitude of 200 metres.

Burić said that researchers of Columbia University in the City of New York and of La Sapienza in Rome are included in the project of exploration of this site.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Croatia-Slovakia Scientific Cooperation: Conference in Zadar Continues Academic Friendship

June 30, 2021 - In 2019, an agreement was reached on the start of the Croatia-Slovakia scientific cooperation. The June 18 conference held at the University of Zadar presented the current progress in that agreement.

Along with countries such as Serbia, Slovenia, and Northern Macedonia, Croatia is a south Slavic country. The former Socialistic Federation of Yugoslavia got its name because of southern Slavs, a branch of Slavs, ethnolinguistic groups that arrived in Europe along with many other groups in what history remembers as the „Migration Period“, when Europe was dominated by the Western Roman Empire.

Other Slavic countries include Russia, Poland, Bulgaria (also south-slave, but not part of Yugoslavia), Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, and also West Slavic country, Slovakia.

Sharing ethical and cultural heritage and diplomatic relations (formed on March 1, 1993), saw the intellectual cooperation with Slovakia raised on a high level and produced so much material, it required an entire scientific conference.

As reported by Ivo Pilar Social Research website, June 18 saw Zadar University host a conference „Intellectual relations of Croatia and Slovakia“, prepared by Slovakian-Croatian Board for Humanistic Sciences lead b professor Martin Homza from Comenius University in Bratislava and Ivo pilar Social Research Institute headmaster dr. Željko Holjevac.

The conference was supposed to be held last year but was canceled due to coronavirus, and the 2021 edition was managed in a hybrid model of the event, mixing live and online ways for participants to meet. Twelve Slovakian and Croatian scientists reported on the theme, and key Slovakian and Croatian players on the subjects of education attended and made speeches at the opening ceremony. This includes professor Zvjezdan Penezić, Zadar University's vice-chancellor. Peter Susko, Slovakian Ambassador in Croatia, Marián Zouhar, dean of the Bratislava's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Staša Skenžić from Croatian Ministry of Science and Education, as well as Martina Klofáčova from the Slovakian Ministry of Science and Education.

„Slovakian-Croatian Board for Humanity Sciences is active since 2019 as part of the program of collaboration between two ministries for science and education with the goal of developing bilateral scientific and educating activities in the field of history, linguistics, Latinism, art history, ethnology, and archaeology“, informed Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute about the program goals.

Is there a Croatian diaspora in Slovakia? Yes. You can learn more about the Croatian diaspora on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 14 May 2021

European Archaeology Days (EAD) at Archaeological Museum Zagreb from June 18-20

May 14, 2021 -The European Archaeology Days (EAD) at the Archaeological Museum Zagreb, held on June 18-20 and organised by the French Culture Ministry, and the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP), brings all things archaeological to the Croatian capital.

The heavy blow of the 2020 Zagreb earthquake affected the Archaeological Museum Zagreb, as did the one back in 1880. However, as the Museum continued to stand the test of time past the 19th-century tragedy, it's great to see that it resisted last year's troubles as well. Not only is it open, but it will also host European Archaeology Days (EAD) for 2021 from June 18-20.

As the Museum's official website informs its readers, the goal of the manifestation is to popularise and present archaeology as a science, and the rich programme will include workshops, lectures, exhibitions, presentations of publications and projects, as well as expert guides, virtual content, and many other types of activities.

Archaeological departments of the highest educational institutions from Zagreb, Pula, Zadar as well as the Croatian Archaeological Society, the Croatian Archaeological Institute, Institute for underwater archaeology in Zadar, Kaptol county, and museums from Zadar, Sisak, Vinkovci, and Rijeka that are dedicated to the field of archaeology and history, are all partners of the event.

The organisers of this spectacle for anyone curious about mankind's past are the Culture Ministry of the French Republic and the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP).

As a non-profit Organisation on Archaeological Open-Air Museums, Experimental Archaeology, Ancient Technology and Interpretation, EXARC reports on its website that EAD was established in France back in 2008 and coordinated by INRAP (The National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research), as a national event, but in 2019, the manifestation of this event opened up on a larger, European scale. Today, the EAD aspires to become a European concept that benefits the general public, museums, and culture.

Young as an international manifestation, it managed to be organised in 2020, but of course, under specific circumstances and with respect to all of the epidemiological measures. It was different but successful thanks to the 1,000 initiatives and 28 European countries taking part last year, all of them adapting to the virtual activities over physical ones.

''The EAD is a long weekend dedicated to archaeology in all its forms. We raise awareness and familiarise European audiences with all aspects of archaeology. A variety of events will be organised, aiming at engaging families, schools, students, history enthusiasts, museum visitors, as well as merely curious participants to discover this multifaceted discipline and their archaeological heritage.

Despite the challenging times that Europe is going through on several levels, there are still things that bring us together. Looking for common ground, for cohesion and reciprocity, while all countries continue to preserve their cultural identity and diversity, European Archaeology Days aim at sharing archaeological heritage throughout Europe and make culture accessible to all“ elaborated Exarc, on its website. They add that INRAP welcomes everybody wanting to take part in the manifestation to join and further enrich the programme.

It might be worth nothing what the difference between history and archaeology actually is. History focuses on written sources, while archaeology focuses on physical ones, such as items, but they both explore the past. For those wanting to learn more about how we as humankind progressed to the stage where we are at today, they can find joy in informing themselves about these respective fields.

Speaking of the old, the historical, and of course the physical, there are very many interesting sites across Croatia protected by UNESCO. Learn more on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Hvar Archaeological Discovery: Amphora and Wine Vessels

As Morski writes on the 31st of October, 2020, on Saturday, an action was carried out to save an entire late antiquity-period amphora from the seabed close to the Paklinski islands near Hvar. In addition to the amphora, two other complete late antiquity wine vessels were found during the dive, marking yet another incredible Hvar archaeological discovery.

The amphora was found by Dr. Ivan Cvitkovic and Dr. Ante Zuljevic from the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries during field research on foreign species along the seabed as part of the BENTHIC NIS project, which is otherwise funded by the Croatian Science Foundation.

The wine amphorae are dated to the period between the 3rd and 5th centuries, and the inside is coated with resin because the pottery is porous and liquid would leak through the walls of the vessel.

The action was organised by Tea Katunaric Kirjakov, an underwater archaeologist and lecturer at the Academy of Arts, University of Split, with the assistance of Kantharos d.o.o from Hvar, specialising in archaeological research, surveillance, photographic and photogrammetric documentation.

''The team from the Institute has been monitoring [the area] for many years and they noticed that there are antiquity vessels down there. With the erosion of Posidonia, the discovery of an ancient amphora came to light. Upon examining the terrain, we found two more ancient wine vessels which were completely preserved. One is a table jug and the other is for straining wine. We also found a number of fragments of amphorae around.

Our goal was to check whether there is a complete amphora or shipwreck remains, however in this survey of the terrain, we haven't yet been able to specify such a thing. It will be necessary to undertake another action and look at the deeper parts of the seabed to see whether the amphorae have rolled there,'' Tea Katunaric Kirjakov told Morski.

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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Incredible Archaeological Discoveries Made in Istrian City of Porec

As Morski writes on the 9th of February, 2020, an interesting new archaeological site was discovered during the reconstruction of the City of Porec's picturesque waterfront.

Archaeologists are now monitoring the entire area in which the works are being carried out, and after discovering a remarkable Venetian waterfront and the remains of an ancient port, a new site was found at a depth of four metres below what is today's walking level, more specifically two metres below sea level near a round tower.

According to Klaudija Bartolic Sirotic, an archaeologist at the National Museum of the City of Porec, one square structure was found with different reinforcements belonging to it. The assumption is that this is a fortification system of the City of Porec since it is located near a round tower that was built way back in 1474. Further and more in depth research will seek to clarify how this system of medieval fortification spread.

It is interesting to note that in the lower part of the site, free blocks believed to be from Roman times were discovered, which were used secondarily to strengthen the structure of the existing tower, while at the very bottom, a block believed to be of Roman production was also discovered. In addition, numerous other finds, such as alfalfa and amphorae, were found in various forms which were typical of the Age of Antiquity.

So far, no residue of organic material have been observed at the site, so further analysis of the detected samples will provide more detailed data. Based on just a few blocks, Bartolic Sirotic points out, it is difficult to determine the exact time of construction, but the deposited material here points to the 1st century. If it is a Roman structure that was upgraded during the Middle Ages, more will be known after the eastern face of the wall is opened.

Upon completion of the survey, the site, in agreement with the conservationists and the City of Porec, will be archaeologically protected and adequately presented to the public.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

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