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17 January 2004
Bronze Age discovery in Croatia

A team of experts from the University of Birmingham has discovered a major archaeological site in a riverbed in Croatia. Items recovered from the river include more than 90 swords, a Roman legionnaire's dagger complete with sheath, more than 30 Greco-Illyrian helmets, plus numerous items of jewellery, axes and spearheads. It is believed a large number of objects were thrown into River Cetina deliberately, possibly as offerings to gods.
     Initial surveys of the site indicate that the remarkable finds span a period of history from 6,000 BCE onwards. These include 33m long timbers, clearly visible from the riverbank, which show evidence of late Neolithic or early Bronze Age wooden settlements. Project leader Dr Vincent Gaffney, director of the university's Institute for Archaeology and Antiquity, said: "The Cetina Valley is certainly the most remarkable site that I have, and will ever, have the privilege of being involved in. As the majority of the Cetina Valley site is waterlogged, the level of preservation is quite exceptional. I believe this to be one of the most important archaeological wetlands in Europe."
     Sediments in the river valley also provide an environmental record covering around 10,000 years, offering an insight into the everyday life of the people who would have lived there. The Birmingham University team is to return to the site in May to carry out an extensive survey.

Source: icBirmingham (14 January 2004)

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