Remains of Stone Age road discovered in submerged Neolithic site off Croatian island

Ancient Stone Age road was discovered at Soline, a submerged Neolithic site off the coast of the Croatian island Korčula.
Kavita Verma
Archaeologists uncover second submerged settlement off Croatian Coast
Archaeologists uncover second submerged settlement off Croatian Coast

University of Zadar 

Off the shore of the Croatian island of Korčula, archaeologists have found the remains of a Stone Age road at the submerged Neolithic town of Soline. An artificial landmass previously home to a settlement and now located 4 to 5 meters (13 to 16 feet) beneath the Adriatic Sea was originally connected to the island by an ancient road. According to the researchers, the route predates the organic artifacts from Soline, which have been carbon-dated to roughly 4,900 years ago, by several millennia.

Discovery of the Neolithic road and second submerged settlement

Scientists observed an odd protrusion on the bottom when they looked at satellite images of the waters near Korula in 2021. To get a better look, the researchers dove in with their snorkels and flippers and found the walls of an old town that appeared to be connected to the main island by a little sliver of land. The Neolithic Hvar culture, which inhabited the eastern Adriatic, is thought to have created the site.

An old road built of meticulously piled stone slabs about 4 meters wide (13 feet) was discovered on the ocean below. According to a statement from the University of Zadar, the road, which previously connected Soline and Korula, may have been in use as early as 7,000 years ago. The hamlet and paved walkway were preserved for centuries by the Croatian coast's numerous islands, which shielded the area from solid seas.

Researchers also disclosed information about their current survey in the area of Gradina Bay on the other side of Korula in addition to the road's discovery. Nearly identical to the location discovered two years ago, they have discovered a second underwater town at a depth comparable to Soline. Numerous Stone Age artifacts, including flint blades, stone axes, and millstone fragments, were discovered during the first digs and are thought to be related to the Hvar culture.

Implications of the discovery

A remarkable archaeological find offers new light on the area's history to find the Neolithic route and drowned towns. The finding of the ancient road indicates that intricate infrastructure could have been constructed and marine navigation was possible thousands of years ago by Stone Age people in the area of Korula. The discoveries also shed light on the way of life and interactions of the Neolithic Hvar civilization with their surroundings. We anticipate making further discoveries and learning more about the ancient world due to the continued excavation of the submerged settlements.

Study Abstract: 

U podvodnim arheološkim istraživanjima potopljenog neolitičkog lokaliteta Soline na otoku Korčuli, arheolozi su pronašli ostatke koji su i njih iznenadili. Naime, ispod naslaga morskog mulja, otkrivena je cesta koja je spajala potopljeno prapovijesno naselje Hvarske kulture s obalom otoka Korčule. 

Radi se o pažljivo složenim kamenim pločama koje su bile dio komunikacije široke četiri metra koja je spajala umjetno stvoreni otok s obalom. Radiokarbonskom analizom očuvanog drva pronađenog u prošloj kampanji, cjelokupno naselje datirano je oko 4.900 godina prije Krista. Ljudi su hodali ovom komunikacijom i to prije gotovo 7.000 godina.

Istraživanje je plod suradnje više institucija i tvrtki, a u njemu su uz voditelja Matu Paricu sa Sveučilišta u Zadru bili Domagoj Perkić (Dubrovački muzeji), Ivan Šuta i Vedran Katavić (Muzej grada Kaštela), Katarina Batur (Sveučilište u Zadru), Marta Kalebota (Gradski muzej Korčula), Eduard Visković (Kantharos), uz asistenciju Dalibora Ćosovića iz ronilačkog centra Lumbarda Blue.

Istovremeno na drugom kraju otoka Korčule arheolozi Sveučilišta u Zadru vrše kopnena istraživanja u blizini uvale Gradina u kod Vele Luke. Upravo je voditelj istraživanja Igor Borzić primijetio čudne strukture u moru uvale. Arheološki tim koji roni na lokalitetu Soline izvršio je pregled središnjeg dijela uvale Gradine, i na opće oduševljenje utvrđeno je na 4 do 5 metara dubine postojanje gotovo istovjetnog naselja kao i na Solinama. Na lokalitetu su pronađeni neolitički artefakti poput kremenih sječiva, kamene sjekire, te ulomci žrvnjeva.

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