Underwater cultural heritage

From Culture.si

The underwater cultural, archaeological and historical findings have been protected by the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage since 2002. Slovenia ratified this convention in 2008. This act is especially relevant because one of the biggest and most important archeological sites is, in fact, the Ljubljanica River, declared a cultural monument of national importance in 2003.

The pioneer underwater research of its treasures by the then Provincial Museum of Carniola dates back to 1884.

One of the most notable finds is the 40,000-year-old point made out of yew wood. It puts the Ljubljanica among the few European sites where the remains of worked wood dating from the Early Stone Age have been found. Its copy is presented in the Ljubljanica River Exhibition in Vrhnika. The venue is part of the complex Ljubljanica Exhibition and Discovery Site project (2014–2016), led by Irena Šinkovec, archaeologist and curator at the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana, who won the UNESCO Award for Best Practice in Underwater Cultural Heritage in 2019. The archaeologist Andrej Gaspari (Department of Archaeology, University of Ljubljana), who laid the foundations of advanced underwater archaeology in Slovenia, has served as a member of the UNESCO Convention's Scientific and Technical Advisory Board, and is a member of the International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage.

Some of the underwater findings from the Slovene part of the gulfs of Piran and Trieste in the Adriatic Sea, however, have also been included in the collections of the Sergej Mašera Maritime Museum in Piran, which has carried out extensive research into Slovene maritime history and archaeology since the 1960s. Several underwater building sites have remained in situ. Also in Piran, we can find the Museum of Underwater Activities.

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