By Chris King • 20 May 2023 • 1:39
Image of 7,000-year-old road discovered under the Mediterranean Adriatic Sea.
Credit: University of Zadar on Facebook.
Underwater archaeologists have located and unearthed the remains of a 7,000-year-old road. It had remained hidden under layers of sea mud off the southern coast of Croatia in the Mediterranean Adriatic Sea.
Mate Parica, an archaeologist from the Croatian University of Zadar decided to carry out a detailed investigation of the site after detecting what appeared to be a man-made structure at the bottom of the sea.
As revealed by Parica in a Facebook post, the uncovered road linked this prehistoric settlement of the Hvar culture with the current coast of the island of Korčula.
It was constructed at a depth of four to five metres under the water along with stone walls that the team believe may have been part of an ancient settlement.
Speaking with Reuters in 2021, Parica explained: “The fortunate thing is that this area, unlike most parts of the Mediterranean, is safe from big waves as many islands protect the coast. That certainly helped preserve the site from natural destruction”.
Stone slabs laid next to each other were used to form the road, which was around four metres in width. Until now, its discovery was made almost impossible due to the layers of thick mud that settled on it and hid the route from sight.
The entire settlement was estimated to date from around 4900 BC, thanks to the help of radiocarbon analysis of the preserved wood.
This incredible find was disclosed in a Facebook post from the University of Zadar. It commented: “People walked this road almost 7,000 years ago”.
The team believe that the now-submerged settlement of Soline was built by the Neolithic Hvar culture which once inhabited the eastern Adriatic where the road would have been used to connect the islands.
With the assistance of photographers and divers, the research is the result of a collaboration between experts from the Dubrovnik Museums, the Kaštela City Museum, the University of Zadar, and the Korčula City Museum.
This was not the only secret that Korčula kept. Another underwater village was found on the opposite side of the island in Gradina Bay by the same team of researchers. It was strikingly similar to Soline and contained some intriguing Stone Age artefacts.
Igor Borzić, another archaeologist from the University of Zadar, recently observed unknown structures under the waters of the bay.
After diving to carry out an inspection, the experts discovered a settlement almost identical to the previous one, also located at a depth of four to five metres.
“Neolithic objects such as flint knives, stone axes, and fragments of grinding stones were found at the site”, added the University of Zadar in its post. These new settlement finds, such as those at Soline and its connecting road, appear to be related to the Hvar culture.
Around 12,000 years ago, the New Stone Age – or the Neolithic era – emerged in some parts of the world. It occurred just as humanity was gradually shifting from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to agriculture and the domestication of animals. This change gave rise to more permanent community settlements.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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