In a remarkable discovery, archaeologists have unearthed evidence of an ancient Roman port near the Adriatic coast of Slovenia, shedding light on the region’s rich maritime history.

The excavations, conducted between November 2023 and February 2024, took place at a site close to the pier of the Faculty of Maritime Studies and Transport at the University of Ljubljana in Fizine, near the town of Portoroz.

The underwater excavations, which began in 2017, have yielded a treasure trove of artifacts despite the challenging conditions of limited visibility. Among the most notable finds were over 3,000 ceramic fragments, primarily consisting of imported Late Antique vessels such as amphorae, coarse ceramics, and sigillata.

These pottery pieces provide valuable insights into the trade and cultural exchanges that took place in the region during the Roman era. Excitingly, the archaeologists also discovered rigging elements and two exceptionally rare finds of ship masts.

One of the mast fragments, measuring approximately one meter in length, was made of fir and featured an integrated oak pulley. The other mast, also made of fir, measured an impressive 1.5 meters. These discoveries hint at the maritime activities that once thrived in this ancient port.

The excavation site’s sheltered location along the coast, coupled with the presence of nearby archaeological sites, suggests that a small port with wooden docks and structures, such as a breakwater or a structure connecting to the shore, existed in the area during the Late Antique period.

Experts from various scientific and archaeological fields will now embark on a post-fieldwork phase to thoroughly examine specific aspects of the site and evaluate the findings in light of all the research conducted.

To preserve the wooden elements discovered during the excavations, archaeologists employed melamine resin, while the remaining materials were transferred to the Maritime Museum in Piran for further study and conservation.


ZaPA, Zavod za Podvodno Arheologijo

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