Advertisement

Archaeological Potential of the Anchialine Caves in Croatia

  • Irena Radić RossiEmail author
  • Neven Cukrov
Chapter
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 20)

Abstract

Anchialine caves are a common phenomenon in the Mediterranean karst. Their entrances lie above sea level, and underground accumulations of fresh water in their interior float on top of the seawater, which communicates with the sea through porous carbonate rocks. The fresh water layer of such caves represents a significant resource of potable water for the ancient inhabitants of the eastern Adriatic coast. Due to the systematic work of a group of Croatian speleologists, more than 100 anchialine caves have been registered along the Croatian coast and its numerous islands. Submerged speleothems from two caves, situated on the islands of Krk and Lošinj, have contributed to the reconstruction of Late Pleistocene and Holocene sea level changes in the northern part of the eastern Adriatic. Archaeological finds have been observed in at least seven caves, but only one cave, Vodeni Rat on the Pakleni Islands near the island of Hvar, has been archaeologically researched. As with many other similar structures, there is evidence of human intervention on its rocky walls, and some Roman amphorae were recovered from the bottom of the cave. Another cave named Živa Voda, situated on the other extremity of the island of Hvar, revealed the presence of a great quantity of Bronze Age underwater finds, testifying to the intense use of fresh water from its interior, or maybe some other ancient function. Considering their distribution, accessibility, depths and position in relation to known prehistoric settlements, we can assume that the anchialine caves in Croatia have high archaeological potential that should be protected and researched.

Keywords

Anchialine caves Cave archaeology Water resources Karst Speleothems Seafaring Prehistory Bronze age Classical antiquity 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Promotion of interdisciplinary research on the archaeological potential of the anchialine caves is supported by the Croatian Science Foundation, in the framework of the project AdriaS (Archaeology of Adriatic Shipbuilding and Seafaring, IP-2014-09-8211). We also thank Branko Jalžić for sharing his extensive knowledge of Croatian anchialine caves with us, and making available to us all the available documentation.

References

  1. Barišić T (1994) Speleološka istraživanja otoka Žirja i Kornatskih otoka. In: Kale Mrvica J, Krnčević, Ž (eds) Žirajski libar, zbornik radova o otoku Žirju, Nakladno povjerenstvo Žirajskog libra and Muzej grada Šibenika, Šibenik, pp 183–193Google Scholar
  2. Cuculić V, Cukrov N, Kwokal Ž, Mlakar M (2011) Distribution of trace metals in anchialine caves of Adriatic Sea, Croatia. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 95(1):253–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cuculić V, Cukrov N, Omanović D, Jalžić B (2012) Preliminary study of trace metals distribution in the water column of Urinjska Špilja anchialine cave (Croatian Adriatic coast). Nat Croat 21:28–31Google Scholar
  4. Cukrov N, Cukrov M, Jalžić B, Omanović D (2008) Koncentracije ekotoksičnih metala (Cd, Pb, Cu I Zn) u vodenom stupcu špilje Živa voda na otoku Hvaru. Subterranea Croat 10:28–32Google Scholar
  5. Cukrov N, Jalžić B, Bilandžija H, Cukrov M (2009) Research history and anchialine caves characteristic in Croatia. In: Anchialine ecosystems: reflection and prospects. Symposium Abstracts. Palma de Mallorca, pp 19–20Google Scholar
  6. Cukrov M, Ozimec R, Cukrov N, Bedek J, Jalžić B (2012) Sumporače – preliminary results from research into unique anchialine sulphur caves in Croatia. Nat Croat 21:36–42Google Scholar
  7. Falcon-Barker T (1960) 1600 years under the sea. David McKay, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Forenbaher S, Kaiser T (2006) The pottery of Pupićina Cave. In: Miracle P, Forenbaher S (eds) Prehistoric herders of Northern Istria: the archaeology of Pupićina Cave. Arheološki muzej Istre, Pula, pp 163–224Google Scholar
  9. Garašić M (2006) Pronađeni i snimljeni najdublji speleothemi u moru. Spelaeologia Croat 7:58Google Scholar
  10. Gottstein Matočec S, Jalžić B (2003) Biospeleološka istraživanja vodene faune anhihalinih špilja I jama na području NP “Kornati”, fieldwork report. Hrvatski prirodoslovni muzej, Zagreb, p 42Google Scholar
  11. Gottstein Matočec S (2010) Priručnik za određivanje podzemnih staništa u Hrvatskoj prema direktivi o staništima EU. Državni zavod za zaštitu prirode, Zagreb (In Croatian)Google Scholar
  12. Govedarica B (1982) Prilozi kulturnoj stratigrafiji paristorijskih gradinskih naselja u jugozapadnoj Bosni. Godišnjak Cent balkanološka istraživanja Akademije nauka umjetnosti Bosne Hercegovine 18:111–188Google Scholar
  13. Holthuis LB (1973) Caridean shrimps found in land-locked saltwater pools at four Indo-West Pacific localities (Sinai Peninsula, Funafuti Atoll, Maui and Hawaii Islands), with the description of one new genus and four new species. Zool Verh 128:1–48Google Scholar
  14. Iliffe TM (2000) Anchialine cave ecology. In: Wilkens H, Culver DC, Humphreys WF (eds) Ecosystems of the world, 30, subterranean ecosystems. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 59–76Google Scholar
  15. Iliffe TM (2005) Biodiversity in anchialine caves. In: Culver DC, White WB (eds) Encyclopedia of caves. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 24–30Google Scholar
  16. Iliffe TM (2012) Diving investigations of Bermuda’s deep water caves. Nat Croat 21(S1):64–67Google Scholar
  17. Jalžić B (1994) Jama Gradina na otoku Žirju. In: Kale Mrvica J, Krnčević Ž (eds) Žirajski libar; Zbornik radova o otoku Žirju. Nakladno povjerenstvo Žirajskog libra and Muzej grada Šibenika, Šibenik, pp 44–47Google Scholar
  18. Jalžić B, Bedek J, Jalžić V, Lukić M, Miculinić K, Ozimec R (2005) Prirodoslovna istraživanja jame Vrtare Male, fieldwork report. Hrvatsko biospeleološko društvo, Zagreb, p 30Google Scholar
  19. Kleibrink M (1998) The miniature votive pottery dedicated at the ‘Laghetto del Monsignore’, Campoverde. Palaeohistoria 39(40):441–512Google Scholar
  20. Kwokal Ž, Cukrov N, Cuculić V (2014) Natural causes of changes in marine environment: mercury speciation and distribution in anchialine caves. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 151:10–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Malez M, Lenardić-Fabić J (1988) New subspecies of the southern elephant (Mammuthus meridionalis adriacus n. ssp.) from the bottom of the Adriatic Sea (Croatia, Yugoslavia). Palaeontol Jugoslav 37:1–36Google Scholar
  22. Malez M, Sliepčević A, Srdoč D (1979) Određivanje starosti metodom radioaktivnog ugljika kvartarnim naslagama na nekim lokalitetima u Dinarskom kršu. Rad JAZU 383. Razred Prirodne Znanosti 18:227–271Google Scholar
  23. Marijanović B (1981) Ravlića pećina (Peć Mlini). Glas Zemaljskog Muzeja Bosne Hercegovine Sarajevu 35(36):1–55Google Scholar
  24. Marović I (1985) Iskopavanje kamenih gomila u Bogomolju na otoku Hvaru. Vjesn Arheol Hist Dalmatinsku 78:5–35Google Scholar
  25. Marović I (1999) Jama u Podumcima. Vjesn Arheol Hist Dalmatinsku 90–91:9–41Google Scholar
  26. Mauch-Lenardić J (2012) Miocene to Late Pleistocene proboscideans of Croatia. Quat Int 276–277:120–128. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2011.06.037 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mesić J (2006) L’esplorazone archeologica a scopo protettivo della grotto di Vodeni Rat. In: Radić Rossi I (ed) Archeologia subacquea in Croazia. Studi e ricerche, Marsilio, Venezia, pp 91–100Google Scholar
  28. Novosel M, Jalžić B, Pasarić M, Požar-Domac A, Radić I (2007) Ecology of an anchialine cave in the Adriatic Sea with special reference to its thermal regime. Mar Ecol 28(Suppl. 1):3–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ozimec R, Jalžić B (2003) Hvarska Živa voda. Meridijani 77:22–25Google Scholar
  30. Pryor JH (2001) ‘Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink’: water supplies for the fleet of the first crusade. In: Balard M, Kedar BZ, Riley-Smith J (eds) Dei gesta per Francos: études sur les croisades dédiés à Jean Richard. Ashgate, Aldershot, pp 21–28Google Scholar
  31. Radić Rossi I (2011) Problematika prapovijesnih i antičkih nalazišta u hrvatskom podmorju/Problematics of prehistoric and Classical Antiquity underwater archaeological sites in the Croatian undersea. Unpublished dissertation, Zadar, University of ZadarGoogle Scholar
  32. Sket B (1986) Ecology of the mixohaline hypogean fauna along the Yugoslav coast. Stygologia 2:317–338Google Scholar
  33. Sket B (1996) The ecology of anchihaline caves. Trends Ecol Evol 11:221–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sket B (2012) Anchihaline (anchialine) caves and fauna. In: White WB, Culver DC (eds) Encyclopedia of caves. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 17–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stock JHT, Iliffe M, Williams D (1986) The concept “anchialine” reconsidered. Stygologia 2(1/2):90–92Google Scholar
  36. Surić M (2009) Rekonstruiranje promjena morske razine na istočnoj obali Jadrana (Hrvatska) – pregled/Reconstructing sea-level changes on the Eastern Adriatic Sea (Croatia) – an overview. Geoadria 14(2):181–199Google Scholar
  37. Surić M, Juračić M (2010) Late Pleistocene-Holocene environmental changes – records from submerged speleothems along the Eastern Adriatic coast (Croatia). Geol Croat 63(2):155–169Google Scholar
  38. Surić M, Juračić M, Horvatinčić N, Krajcar Bronić I (2005a) Late Pleistocene-Holocene sea-level rise and the pattern of coastal karst inundation – records from submerged speleothems along the Eastern Adriatic Coast (Croatia). Mar Geol 214:163–175. doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2004.10.030 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Surić M, Horvatinčić N, Suckow A, Juračić M, Barešić J (2005b) Isotope records in submarine speleothems from the Adriatic coast, Croatia. Bull Soc Géol France 176(4):363–373. doi: 10.2113/176.4.363 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Surić M, Richards DA, Hoffmann DL, Tibljaš D, Juračić M (2009) Sea-level change during MIS 5a based on submerged speleothems from the eastern Adriatic Sea (Croatia). Mar Geol 262:62–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Surić M, Lončarić R, Lončar R (2010) Submerged caves of Croatia: distribution, classification and origin. Environ Earth Sci 62:1473–1480. doi: 10.1007/s12665-010-0463-0 Google Scholar
  42. Vujnović N (1990) Prilozi arheološkoj karti otoka Hvara. Vjesn Arheol Hist Dalmatinsku 83:47–64Google Scholar
  43. Vujnović N (2013) Kratki vodič kroz povijest općine Sućuraj. Janus Tours, SplitGoogle Scholar
  44. Whitehouse RD (1992) Underground religion: cult and culture in prehistoric Italy. Accordia Research Centre, University of London, LondonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of ZadarZadarCroatia
  2. 2.Division for Marine and Environmental ResearchInstitute Ruđer BoškovićZagrebCroatia

Personalised recommendations