Underwater Archaeology


After a bronze cannon was found in 2012 in the northern bay of Molunat in Konavle and reported by Zoran Delibašić from the Zagreb divers club ZG-SUB, the Croatian Conservation Institute was appointed to investigate and retrieve the cannon from the sea.


A rich underwater site was discovered in 2006 in the local waters of the Island of Mljet, near the St. Paul Shallows. Some 40 metres below sea level, exceptionally preserved remains of an early-modern shipwreck were discovered, among them eight bronze cannons and scattered fragments of ceramic ware, glass and metal artefacts. Surveys revealed they came from a 16th-century merchant ship transporting luxury cargo on a route between the merchant ports of the Eastern Mediterranean and Venice. Next year, the employees of the Department for Underwater Archaeology of the Croatian Conservation Institute initiated the first of five campaigns so far, in order to complete the picture of the circumstances of the shipwreck, gain insights into the production, the economic context, trade sea routes and perils of sea fare in the turbulent times of the cinquecento.


Several fragments of ancient amphorae of the Spatheion type have been found in the waters off the island of Lastovo, at a site close to the island of Prežba. This type of amphora, made of robust, bright red pottery, with spindle-shaped body and small handles, was produced between the 4th and 7th centuries in the territory of today's Tunisia. Due to the fact that these amphorae are very rare in our region, the discovered shards were used in the reconstruction of a single amphora.


On the site of the post-mediaeval shipwreck in the shallows of Sv. Pavao (St. Paul) near the island of Mljet, among elements of the ship's structure, archaeologists discovered a copper cauldron. The protective cleaning of sea vegetation and sand from the cauldron, followed by desalination and removal of products of calcification and corrosion, were done in the Croatian Conservation Institute. The cauldron's missing elements were reconstructed, and the copper item was patinated to obtain an appearance that would be as natural as possible.

Tulsamerican, the Legendary WW II Bomber


Investigation carried out in the Department for Underwater Archaeology of the Croatian Conservation Institute has established that the aircraft wreck discovered in the waters off the island of Vis is the remains of an American Second World War bomber, known as Tulsamerican.

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