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What Do Archaeological Finds Tell Us About Ancient Croatia?

Written by  Mar 14, 2023

Croatia’s past is shrouded in mystery and plays a part in its history of shifting national and ethnic identities. Croatians today have a long and proud past which is slowly being uncovered in new archaeological explorations.

Fair Go casino login sets out to explore what archaeological findings are telling modern scholars about Croatia’s past.


Croatia occupies a landmass along the western Balkan Peninsula. Settlement in the area dates back thousands of years to the Illyrian kingdom which was formed by an alliance of Illyrian tribes. The Romans incorporated this territory into the4 Roman Empire in the 2nd century BCE and retained it until the 6th or 7th century CE. During the Roman Era the Romans saw the territory as an important site and built a network of roads throughout the territory to link the Dalmatian coast with the Danube and the Aegean and Black seas.

Historians have long been fascinated by the history of the region including. Ancient implements in caves highlight Croatia of the Stone Age while there’s much fascination with the seafaring Illyrians whose “high-tech” ships were adopted by the ancient Macedonians and, later, the Romans, thanks to their surprising speed and maneuverability. Recent finds have also proven the importance that Croatia held for different empires as well as for the development of Christianity.

Check out some of Croatia’s latest archaeological discoveries:


Archaeologists excavating on the island of Hvar discovered a fourth or fifth-century cemetery in a 17th century Croatian Palace’s Garden with remains buried in jars. The jars, found on the grounds of the Baroque Radošević Palace on the western end of the island, found 20 graves that contained skeletal remains, coins, glass bottles, lamps, ceramic jugs and jars used for transporting olive oil and wine along with a stone wall that was dated to the 2nd century CE.

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Hvar - Photo - Canva

Hvar was settled by Greek colonizers in the 4th century BCE and soon after was incorporated into the Roman Empire. The jars with the skeletal remains mirror those found on Corsica and may yield information about funerary customs of ancient civilizations. A cave found on the island, called "Babina Spilja,” demonstrates settlement on the island dating back to Mesolithic and Neolithic periods.


A system of karst caves was discovered in Istria on the hill of St. Daniel near Pula. The caves contain a chopping tool that is estimated to be close to 800,000 years – the oldest man-made object ever found in the region. Other items found in the cave include prehistoric man homo sapiens fossils, animal teeth, bones and decorations.

Just this year, a team of underwater archaeologists discovered a Roman jetty off the coast of Barbariga. The area is close to the ancient city of Cissa which was, during Roman times, a center for the export of olive oil which was produced on the Barbariga Peninsula.

The jetty was found in the 1st century Roman harbor and researchers are hoping that the discovery will give new insights into changes in sea level since ancient times. Other findings include fragments of tableware and kitchware, amphorae and large quantities of ceramics.

Brijuni National Park

Throughout the Brijuni National Park, relics of Roman rule have been excavated, attesting to the wealth of many of the area’s residents during the era of the Roman Empire. One of the most valuable archaeological sites in Brijuni Park is the Rustica Roman Villa which is located on the Dubovec hill. The villa attests to the opulence of the residents who enjoyed a house filled with mosaics and frescos, promenades, marble statues, a spa and other luxuries.

Pula Arena

The Pula Arena is one of six remaining of the large Roman amphitheatres remaining in the world. It is also one of the best-preserved. The ampitheatre was built in the 1st century CE and attests to Pula’s place as a regional center of Roman rule. Its interior was covered with sand and its original exterior was timber, later replaced by stone. Gladiator fights took place within its walls. A Vespasian coin was found. It is the largest monument of ancient architecture in Croatia.

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Pula Arena - Photo - Canva

Many researchers who are studying ancient building techniques visit the Pula Arena. The arena included a series of underground passageways from which animals and fighters were released. A system of Velaria (large sails) existed so spectators could be protected from rain or sun. Canals below the arena collected rainwater and there were cisterns that were filled with perfumed water that could be sprinkled on spectators.

Adriatic Sea

An ancient Roman cargo shipwreck fromTrajan’s time (98 to 117AD) was discovered untouched in a deep channel just off the coast of Croatia. Nearby the Apoxyomenos statue was found, lending credence to the idea that the statue was on the vessel captained by General Lucius who may have gone down with the ship as well.

A second costal site, near the village of Sukošan, has yielded a Roman wooden boat that dates from the first century. The wooden ship is 29.5 feet in length and is only one interesting find from the ancient port of Barbir. Other finds include 30 bronze coins minted during the reign of the Roman emperor Constantine and pieces of wood. Excavations are on-going but aerial photographs have shown evidence of submerged structures in the port.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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