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Research of the ancient shipwreck in Potkamenica bay on island Šolta

 

Archeological excavations were carried out at the site of the shipwreck in Potkamenica Bay from June 27 to July 3, 2020. Besides the employees of the International Centre for Underwater Archeology in Zadar - Maja Kaleb, Roko Surić, Zdenka Vrgoč, Luka Bekić and Mladen Pešić -  the members of the Association of Underwater Archaeologists Rostrum Split participated in the project: Marko Lete, Marko Polić and Neven Lete. Prior to the excavation, the site was filmed by underwater cameras to create a 3D model of the existing condition. In just 5 working days, 4 archaeological probes measuring 2x2 meters (16m² in total) were opened at the position where it was determined that the ship structure was the best preserved. A 7-meter-long keel with a recess (cut) was found and an interesting element for connecting with the stem (unfortunately not preserved) as well as 35 partially preserved planks and 9 futtock.


The planks were interconnected by a system of mortise and tenons at almost regular intervals of 17 to 20 cm. The futtocks were connected to the planking with larger treenail of round cross-section. Ship construction i.e. all its parts are documented in detail. In addition to the classic design documentation of the floor plan and profile, for the purpose of creating a 3D model about 1000 photos were taken. During the excavation, but also the inspection of the wider area of the shipwreck, many fragments of the ancient ceramic pottery were found. These are mainly various types of amphorae (mostly from North Africa), nevertheless bowls and jugs are also present. A ceramic fishing weight was found among the ribs. Besides the ceramic finds, there were found numerous iron nails, several ballast stones and one fragment of rope (!). According to the preliminary evidence of ceramic materials, the shipwreck dates to the end of the 4th or the very beginning of the 5th century.


The main goal when implementing this program is the research and documentation, although the most important is the protection of the ship structure which is threatened by further devastation. After the excavation, the ship structure was covered with a double layer of sand, geotextile and stone. During the research on Šolta, a conservation supervision was achieved by Saša Denegri, a senior expert advisor and diver in the Conservation Department in Split. The procedure of legal protection of the shipwreck was initiated after his visit in the form of inscribing it on the List of Protected Cultural Goods as part of the Register of Cultural Goods of the Republic of Croatia as well as proceedings that prohibit further anchoring at the site.

 

 

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Contacts

Božidara Petranovića 1

HR-23000 Zadar, Croatia

Tel. 00385/023/250 486

Fax. 00385/023/250 548

E-mail: info@icua.hr

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