Location: Island of Hvar.
Entrance Orientation: SSW
Entrance Altitude: 230m+ above a freshwater spring
Cave Formation: Horizontal
Main Research Years:
Late 19th century;
1912, 1936-1939, 1947-1952, 1996
Occupation Eras and Dates:
Neolithic – Bronze Age
Late Neolithic – 4718-4553 cal BC; 4828-4624 cal BC
Forenbaher, S., Kaiser, T. and Frame, S. 2010. Adriatic Neolithic Mortuary Ritual at Grapceva Cave, Croatia. Journal of Field Archaeology 35 (4): 337-354.
Forenbaher, S., Kaiser, T. and Miracle, P.T. 2013. Dating the East Adriatic Neolithic. European Journal of Archaeology 16 (4): 589-609.
Forenbaher, S. and Kaiser, T. 2008. Grapceva spilja: pretpovijesni stan, tor I obredno mjesto. Split: Knjizevni krug.
Forenbaher, S. and Kaiser, T. 1999. Grapceva spilja I apsolutno datiranje istocnojadransjog neolitika. Vjesnik za arheologiju I historiju dalmatinsku 92: 9-34.
This cave is located on a the south coast of the Dalmatian Island of Hvar. The cave has a small entrance, that was once much larger – unknown situation in Neolithic. There is a single chamber, 25m wide x 22m long x 5m high. The cave is divided by stalagmitic pillars and curtains into a number of unequally sized labyrinthine spaces. A passage, completely encased in stalagmitic crust, climbs steeply from the northern end of the chamber, terminating in a dead end after some 10m. 70/390 sq m internal space is stalagmites.
Research Chronicles and Data:
This cave has seven Major phases:
Phase 0 – Ephemeral visits early – Mid Neolithic. Relatively scarce pottery but including sherd of Impressed Ware and sherds of Danilo-style incision, and a polychrome painted sherd of buff-yellow untampered, burnished, evenly fired fineware known as figulina.
Phase 1 – Late Neolithic – L.N. Hvar bowls – 4800-4300 calBC. More intensive and qualitively different use of site. Highest density of wood charcoal and plant macroremains. Pot sherds larger and more often decorated. Over 3200 sherds found, 445 diagnostic. Locally made. Wide shallow bowls mostly. 16 flaked lithic artefacts. Absence of debris. Wild plants outnumber domesticates. Human remains: 68/77 total disarticulated remains in cave found in this Phase. No complete individuals. Min. 7 individuals of range of ages but probably a few dozen because of disturbance. Gender of only 2 could be determined, one definitely female and one probably female.
Phase 2 – End of 5th Mil. Cal BC - Plain, generic Hvar pottery, relatively highest amount of burnished pottery with channelled decoration.
Phase 3 – Mid 4th Mil Cal BC – Late 4th Mil Cal Bc - Early Copper Age
Phase 4 – Late Copper Age
Phase 5 – Early Bronze Age/ Middle Bronze Age
Phase 6 – backfill from Novak’s trench
Cave Uses: B.c.d - Spiritual, Burial.
Ritual, cult, mortuary practices.