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15 October 2006
Macedonian lake reveals prehistoric artifacts

For decades now, the Cultural Center in Resen (southwest Macedonia) has housed boats, some 4,000 years old. They were discovered on the shores of Lake Prespa. "I know of foreign archeologists discovering such wooden boats in the pharaohs’ tombs, but I was not aware of such treasures here in Macedonia.  These boats are made out of a single tree trunk," explains Dimitar Mucevski, an archeologist from Resen.
     Two years ago some locals contributed to the conservation of the boats dating from the Neolithic, and now the three can be seen in Resen. Mucevski said that the boats were discovered near the village of Nakolec. The locals say that similar artifacts are regularly washed up on the shores, but that there are not any sufficient funds or human resources available to conduct an archeological search.
     Experts say that oxygen-deprived wood, located under water, under ground, or frozen, may remain intact for centuries. The three boats in Resen are about 5 meters long. At the bottom, one can see the carvings that mark out the individual seats. "No big deal. We have had many items like that washed up on shore for years, but they have all been rotting for some time. Nobody even remembers how many different items there have been," said Risto, a 35-year-old man who has lived his entire life in Nakolec. 
     The three boats, dating from the beginning of the Neolithic (ca 2000 BCE) were carved out of a type of evergreen tree trunks.  It is a type of tree typical for the Prespa region, and in particular to the Golem Grad Island. Up until 1960, the lake came up into the village, and the church of St. Nicholas was literally in the water.  People would go by boat to the church to light up a candle and fish in their yards, said Vera Tudzarovska. The village itself was originally under water, and some 100 years earlier, the houses were erected on wooden pillars. "Between the houses there were water canals, and people would move about in boats.  It all looked a little bit like Venice," says Vera.

Source: MRT - Macedonian Radio and Television (2 october 2006)

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