underwater road ancient settlement Hvar"underwater road ancient settlement Hvar"

Discover the Ancient Settlement of Hvar Through an Underwater Road

Mate Parica is an archaeologist from the University of Zadar in Croatia, and in 2021 he discovered the sunken settlement of Soline after noticing something strange off the coast of the famous Croatian island of Korcula, the birthplace of Marco Polo.

After noticing the darkened shape, he thought, “Maybe it’s natural, maybe not,” he later said said Reuters.

A specialist in underwater archaeology, Parika thought he spotted a man-made structure submerged off the east coast of the island, so he and a colleague went to investigate.

Open village on the island of Hvar

Diving underwater, they found remains of stone walls, as well as some pottery and flint knives. They later concluded that the settlement, part of a man-made island, dates back nearly 7,000 years and belongs to the Stone Age Hvar culture that once flourished along the eastern Adriatic coast.

Earlier this month, the team working on the site announced that they had discovered a new discovery, a submerged stone road that leads from the former settlement to the coast of Korčula. By vacuuming up layers of mud, divers have uncovered carefully constructed stone slabs, according to Facebook messagewhich was about four meters wide.


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Ancient Hvar pottery

Hvar culture is better known for Grapcheva Cave, a place located in the southern part of the island of Hvar. Heavily excavated in the years after World War II, the cave established the culture of Hvar as an early maritime society. Most famously, archaeologists discovered pottery here with the first known depiction of a boat in Europe.

“Fortunately, this area, unlike most parts of the Mediterranean, is safe from large waves, as many islands protect the coast,” said Parika Reuters. “It certainly helped save the place from natural destruction.”

Full of stalactites and stalagmites, the cave has a large and small hall where scientists have found numerous other examples of pottery, including dark vessels patterned with ribbons and semicircles. Since Hvar often used rounded shapes, scientists also found ceramics with complex spiral patterns painted in red, yellow, brown and white, according to Hvar culture.

Hvar, who lived closer to modern Herzegovina, painted pottery with scenes including hunters, animals, houses, trees, and the sun and moon. Like all Hvar culture, they honored the dead and made spiritually significant jewelry and small figurines.

More Neolithic settlements have been discovered

Parika and the rest of his team continue to investigate what Hvar has created on the sunken site of Soline, which has few predecessors.

“At the moment we don’t know of a similar find elsewhere, that a Neolithic settlement was built on an islet connected to a narrow strip of land,” Marta Kalebota, head of the archaeological collection at the Korcula City Museum, told Reuters in an interview.

Parika’s Facebook travel announcement also hailed the discovery of a second sunken settlement in the western part of the island, where an initial survey found flint blades, stone axes and fragments of millstones. The site, he says, was “almost identical” to Solin.


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