Underwater archaeologists find Roman jetty off Croatian coast

A team of underwater archaeologists from the Archaeological Museum of Istria have discovered a Roman jetty off the coast of Barbariga in Croatia.

The researchers were conducting a study of an ancient harbour as part of the “Istrian Undersea” project, an initiative to document and list the underwater sites off the Croatian coast.

Barbariga is located on the Barbariga Peninsula, which used to be called Punta Cissana for the legendary ancient city of Cissa. During antiquity, the region was a centre for the production of olive oil, a commodity which was exported throughout the northern Adriatic.


Previous studies of the Roman harbour places it in the 1st century AD, which likely functioned as an extension of an olive oil mill in the Barbariga locality for the loading and unloading of cargo.

The mill had 20 presses for making olive oil, which according to estimates would have required 240 to 300 hectares of olive plantations, with the entirety of the property estimated to span around 900 hectares.

The underwater structure measures around 56 metres in length with a width of between 16 to 24 metres. It has an L-shaped protrusion that measures 3.1 metres by 2.6 metres which is preserved in three rows of stone blocks.

The team was able to identify the foundation stones of the jetty, which they hope will give new insights into the sea level changes since ancient times.


Large quantities of ceramics, fragments of tableware and kitchenware, and amphorae have also been found in the vicinity, most of which date from the 1st century AD which corresponds with the time of the harbour and mill.

Header Image Credit : Archaeological Museum of Istria


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