Conny Waters – – The Fizine site has been the focus of numerous excavation efforts. In fact, excavations at this location included multiple campaigns between 2017 and 2023.

Unique Slovenian Discovery Of Masts, Sails And Small Harbor Found At The Bottom Of The Adriatic Sea

One of two different masts found at the Fizine site. Image credit: The Institute for Underwater Archaeology

A team of divers from ZAPA (the Institute for Underwater Archaeology, Faculty of Maritime Studies and Transport of the University of Ljubljana), recently unearthed remnants of an ancient settlement, a fish farm, and now, an ancient small harbor complete with a mooring and a wooden structure with masts.

The latest phase of this underwater exploration was dedicated to finding traces of this old harbor.

The mast finds, however, are especially significant. The unearthed wooden structure near Bernardin Beach might have served as an access point from boats to the shore or functioned as a breakwater in the past.

Slovenia's Unique Discovery Of Masts, Sails And Small Harbor Found At The Bottom Of The Adriatic Sea

Image credit: ZAPA

The site has yielded over 3,000 ceramic shards from the Roman era. Researchers said to the Slovenian Press Agency that most of these discoveries are imported pottery from late antiquity, including amphorae, kitchenware, and high-quality tableware.

The site revealed much more, not only remains of ceramic vessels but also a sail component,  several wooden stakes, and two distinct mast pieces dating back to the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The latter artifacts probably served as a mooring for a ship or as a support beam for some sort of wooden construction.

The first mast was constructed from fir wood, measuring about one me in length and featuring an incorporated oak pulley. Another one, on the other hand, was made from spruce wood and extended to approximately one and a half meters.

The team points out that discoveries of masts and sails from ancient times are incredibly uncommon.

Our understanding of these artifacts primarily comes from experimental archaeology and visual historical sources, such as sculptures, paintings, mosaics, coin imprints, and other illustrations.

“If the interpretations of the two Fizine elements are confirmed, these are unique examples on a global scale,” the researchers say.

In fact, they are extremely rare examples of ancient masts, considering the finds from at least the past 20 years throughout the Mediterranean region.”

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The wooden finds will be conserved with melamine resin at the restoration center. All finds will be handed over to the Sergej Mašera Maritime Museum in Piran, keeping other finds from the Fizine area, said the researchers to The Slovenia Times.

The next part of the ZAPA researchers’ work will be conducting a detailed analysis, and then a comprehensive evaluation of all findings discovered at the site.

Written by Conny Waters – Staff Writer

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