7000-Year-Old Road Discovered Inside Mediterranean Sea

Ancient underwater road lost for thousands of years resurfaces in the Mediterranean sea
The Mediterranean Sea, Crete Island. CreditsShutterstock
The Mediterranean Sea, Crete Island. CreditsShutterstock

An ancient road that's part of the Neolithic settlement inhabited by the Hvar civilisation in around 5000 BCE, has recently been unearthed by the archaeological research team of Croatia's University of Zadar at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.

Known in archaeological circles as the "incubator of Western civilisation", the Mediterranean Sea's depths are no strangers to remnants of a submerged past. Earlier, shipwrecks from the Roman and Byzantine civilisations have been found here, owing to the importance that maritime travel routes used to hold for the most prosperous and flourishing settlements. This year, a landmark discovery in the underwater ruins of this ocean has been made by researchers at Croatia's University Of Zadar, stumbling upon a 7000-year-old stone path after clearing sea mud deposits off the shore of Soline, done as part of land research near Gradina Bay, in Vela Luka on Korcula island. The ancient settlement of Soline, formerly an artificial island, was found in 2021 by archaeologist Mate Parica of the University of Zadar in Croatia while analysing satellite photographs of the ocean region near Korcula and is one of the most well-preserved Hvar culture sites in the area. The researchers at the University of Zadar consider this uncovered stone path to have connected the civilisation of Hvar to the island of Korcula.

After intensive radiocarbon dating, used to determine the age of organic materials as old as 60,000 years, the Croatian scientists concluded that the settlement was likely around 4,900 years before Christ and that people had been using these paths for travel as far back as 7000 years. The stone slabs on the four-metre-wide platform that was found were precisely stacked, and the pathway was found to be submerged 5 metres below sea level. This discovery came to be due to University of Zadar archaeologist Igor recently noticing curious structures beneath the bay's waters. That's not all, either. The team also discovered similar systems on the island's opposite end that produced an exciting array of Neolithic memorabilia, including stone axes and some sacrificial items. This is an iconic find for archaeologists since Neolithic island discoveries are relatively sparse and hint at the ability of our ancestors to invest and innovate in infrastructure at the cusp of civilisation.

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