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Croatia: Submerged prehistoric sites in a Karstic landscape
Rossi, I.R.; Karavanic, I.; Butorac, V. (2020). Croatia: Submerged prehistoric sites in a Karstic landscape, in: Bailey, G. et al. The archaeology of Europe’s drowned landscapes. Coastal Research Library, 35: pp. 347-369.
In: Bailey, G. et al. (2020). The archaeology of Europe’s drowned landscapes. Coastal Research Library, 35. Springer: Cham. ISBN 978-3-030-37367-2. xxviii, 561 pp., more
In: Coastal Research Library. Springer: Cham. ISSN 2211-0577; e-ISSN 2211-0585, more

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Author keywords
    , Palaeolithic Mesolithic, Neolithic,Bronze Age, Submerged landscapes, Underwater settlements, Wood

Authors  Top 
  • Rossi, I.R.
  • Karavanic, I.
  • Butorac, V.

    Croatia has a long history of underwater archaeological research, especially of shipwrecks and the history of sea travel and trade in Classical Antiquity, but also including intermittent discoveries of submerged prehistoric archaeology. Most of the prehistoric finds have been discovered by chance because of construction work and development at the shore edge or during underwater investigations of shipwrecks. Eustatic sea-level changes would have exposed very extensive areas of now-submerged landscape, especially in the northern Adriatic, of great importance in the Palaeolithic and early Mesolithic periods. Because of sinking coastlines in more recent millennia, submerged palaeoshorelines and archaeological remains of settlement activity extend as late as the medieval period. In consequence, the chronological range of prehistoric underwater finds extends from the Mousterian period through to the Late Iron Age. Known sites currently number 33 in the SPLASHCOS Viewer with the greatest number belonging to the Neolithic or Bronze Age periods, but ongoing underwater surveys continue to add new sites to the list. Systematic research has intensified in the past decade and demonstrates the presence of in situ culture layers, excellent conditions of preservation including wooden remains in many cases, and the presence of artificial structures of stone and wood possibly built as protection against sea-level rise or as fish traps. Existing discoveries demonstrate the scope for new research and new discoveries and the integration of archaeological investigations with palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic analyses of submerged sediments in lakes and on the seabed. A major challenge for the future is to develop better procedures for the integration of scientific research, commercial and industrial development, and the management and protection of the underwater heritage.

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