Location: The lower reaches of Vela Draga Canyon
Entrance Orientation: SE
Entrance Altitude: 220m asl
Cave Formation: Horizontal
Main Research Years: 1995 - 2002
Occupation Eras and Dates:
Mesolithic - youngest Radiocarbon dates 7400-8200 cal BC; 8249-7964 cal BC
Mid. Neolithic - Radiocarbon dates of 5520-5360 cal BC (OXA-8471); 5740-5300 cal BC (z2575)
- Radiocarbon dates of 5640-5480 cal BC (Beta 131625); 5370-5050 cal BC (Beta 131624)
- 5554-5377 cal BC; 5617-5486 cal BC
Late Neolithic; c.600 years - radiocarbon from upper part 4530-4250 cal BC (Beta 188917)
Mid Bronze Age - 350 years
Copper Age: 3959-3797 cal BC; 2571-2349 cal BC
Iron Age - 725 years
Boschian, G. 2006. “Geoarchaeology of Pupicina Cave” in P.T. Miracle and S. Forenbaher (eds.) Prehistoric Herders of Northern Istria, the archaeology of Pupicina cave, Vol 1. Pula: Arheoloski muzej Istre, 123-162.
Boschian, G. and Miracle, P.T. 2007. Shepherds and caves in the karst of Istria (Croatia). In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Soils and Archaeology (ed. G. Boschian). AttiSocieta Toscana Scienze naturali, Mem., Serie A, 112(2007), 173–80.
Forenbaher, S., Kaiser, T. and Miracle, P.T. 2013. Dating the East Adriatic Neolithic. European Journal of Archaeology 16 (4), 589-609.
Miracle, P.T. and Forenbaher, S. 2005. Neolithic and Bronze-Age Herders of Pupicina Cave, Croatia. Journal of Field Archaeology 30 (3), 255- 281.
Miracle, P. and Forenbaher, S. (eds.), Prehistoric herders of northern Istria: the archaeology of Pupicina Cave, vol. 1. Pula: Arheološki Muzej Istre.
Cave Description: Formed along a fault, running water prominent. Western part of cave moister and preserves more stalactite/flowstone formation. The cave ceiling steadily lowers as one moves into the cave, reaching its lowest point some 15m from the entrance; ceiling height increases again to the north, forming a secondary chamber inside the cave. The accumulation of sediment restricted access into this secondary chamber to a crawl space in Medieval and later times. In main area, the surface slopes gently from NW to SE.
Research Chronicles and Data:
(I)– Mid Neolithic earlier - Pottery: incised and impressed motifs; carinated profiles; rhyta, plates and excised spiral motifs – more characteristic of Early than Middle Neolithic but no Impressed Ware.
(H) – Mid Neolithic later – Pottery: most decorated phase; Mostly Incised decoration but also Impressed and Gouged. Diamond lattice amongst most common motifs then spirals, wheat stalks, hanging triangles, and angular geometrics.
(G) – Late Neolithic – obsidian; sherds of exotic long necked jar.
(F) – Mid Bronze Age, lower fill of Pit 3
(E) – Mid Bronze Age, upper fill of Pit 3
(D) – Late Bronze Age, fill of Pit 2 and mixed
(C) – Iron Age
(B) – Iron Age)
(A) Roman and mix, fill of Pit 1, and mixed surface deposits. Lithics: black, grey or reddish chert available locally. Or non-local pale yellowish and brownish cherts. Fauna: Domestic: sheep, goat, cattle, pig and dog. Wild: red deer, roe deer, beaver, hare, rabbit, hedgehog, marten, badger, wild cat, fox, bear.
Cave Uses: Agropastoral (A.a) - During the Mid Neolithic - Shepherding: penning sheep and goats – possibly seasonally. Hearths. Flint knapping. Late Neolithic: Shepherding and penning. No flint knapping – use of prepared cores and finished artefacts. Mostly pastoral stabling use but with evidence of domestic activities.