Balkan Cave Archaeology excavations in Mala Pecina came to an end. The Cardiff University SHARE team in collaboration with the Archaeological Museum of Zagreb manage to work in a rough terrain for three and a half weeks excavating EN and MN deposits.
Mala Pecina comes to provide raw data for the Balkan Cave Archaeology research and for now on will work as a main anchor point to test the theoretical ideas that have been set as research hypothesis after looking and cataloguing more than 140 Neolithic Cave sites from the South East Europe.
Excavations in Mala Pecina would not be successful without the great efforts of the Cardiff University students and the support of the Archaeological Museum of Zagreb, the Cardiff University and the British Cave research association.
Balkan Cave Archaeology is going for two more weeks fieldwork in Greece now. More to come.
Amazing progress is happening in Mala Pecina. Two trenches have been opened inside and some impressive impresso pottery has started to appear. Unfortunately we have brought the welsh weather with us, and excavation has to stop on this drizzly sunday. Despite the weathers change in mood work still continues at home with the research and processing of new caves, we are now able to compare and contrast sites from across the region. This included the careful washing of our current finds, having the excess soil removed to reveal the unique form of each individual piece, before they could then be laid out in the improving conditions to dry and the team sat down for a tasty greek style dish for our dinner.
We are excited for the further excavation on both trench 1 and 2. Both trenches remain promising for the further discovery of interesting finds that could answer some initial questions, and maybe create a few more on the specific aspects we have uncovered.
Work in Croatia will continue come rain or shine and we will endeavour to keep you informed.
After a long journey the new Cardiff University recruits have arrived and settled in! We welcome Tom, Rachael, Lexi, Victoria, Annie, Leon and Jack to the dig who will be helping with the digging, recording and processing of data from the cave site for the next 3 weeks (As well as a bit of general housekeeping). Ivan and Boric have also joined and will be assisting us on our Croatian Exploration! Borics is a filmmaker and experienced caver who will documenting the excavation.
Despite some miserable weather in the morning, the sun came out in time for a trip up into the mountains to locate the cave before picking up the new arrivals from the airport at Split. After a brief stop at a supermarket for provisions we arrived back at Villa Iva and the students sorted out living arrangements and moved in their belongings. The day ended with a tasty dinner and an early night in preparation for the start of work tomorrow.
We will continue to keep you all updated so stay tuned!
Balkan Cave Archaeology is back with a shiny new website and more information to share! Our team for 2016 says farewell to Katie O'Connell who did great work as student intern during 2015 and welcome on board Olja Mladjenović and Ivan Drnić. Katarina and Rosie are carry on their lovely work on 2016.
Gradually you will enjoy our new (and working) interactive map of Balkan Neolithic Caves and you will see online caves from Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria that we are missing last year. More surveys form caves will be digitized and go online as well. Also our 2015 fieldwork data will going to be available online along with metadata from our analysis. Finally, this year's plans includes more fieldwork in Croatia and Greece during summer and more active blogging.
Before say hello for now, We would like to thank Cardiff University, British Cave Research Association and the Greek Archaeological Committee of UK who are continuing supporting the project for 2016, and personally Alexey Zhalov and Martin Sluka who kept sending information about Balkan Archaeological caves, during this silent 6 months.
The Balkan Cave Archaeology team
The Balkan Cave Archaeology website is now officially one of the largest on-line databases for archaeological sites in the Balkans. After two weeks in the field and more than 240 man-hours in the libraries, we are happy to announce that our website database now holds forms for 91 caves with specific Neolithic evidence.
After two months on a beta format, our website is gradually going fully functional. Now caves from Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria are finally on-line. The cave logs from Montenegro and Albania are now almost complete with only a few still to be added from Croatia and Greece.
Of course we haven't forgot Romania! This season is, however, coming to an end, but we are looking to index Romanian caves next winter if we manage to secure more funding for our project.
Interactive maps with all the countries will be added soon!
Except from geomorphological, chronological and archaeological data, the maps of the caves are now gradually appearing on-line. Check the maps of the caves such as Vaganska, Pupicina and Crvena Stijena. Due to a funding shortage the digitalising and uploading of the cave maps unfortunately had to stop before our entire catalogue of caves had been processed. We are looking forward to receive more funding next year in order to finalise the mammoth job that we started.
Yesterday we spent one of our final days with a visit to the Acropolis (where the picture below was taken). In the meantime though, we are still out looking for caves. Stay tuned for our updates!
Kitsos cave was named after a famous villain of the 19th century. First a policeman and later a thief and a racketeer, Kitsos and his gang used the cave as a hide-out. Even the famous businessman of Lavrion mines Jean Baptiste Serpieri paid Kitsos protection money.
The cave was excavated in 1966 from the French Archaeological School at Athens under the direction of archaeologist N. Lambert. The finds proved that the cave was used intermittently from the Palaeolithic era (40,000 years BP) until the 19th century AD. The location of the cave with a view towards the south-eastern coastline of Attica and the western Cyclades, made it perhaps -as argued by the excavator- the perfect retreat and observation point. More information about the archaeology of Kitsos cave you can find in our website at
Balkan Cave Archaeology team visited the cave on the 23rd of June with a representative of the Ephorate of Speleology, in order to photograph the cave and to take microenvironmental samples.
We started quite late due to problems with the car rental company, but in the end we managed to collect some very interesting information regarding the interaction that the cave users had with the cave environment in the Neolithic. Next cave is going to be Leontari cave in Ymittos mountain.
Stay tuned from more info about Balkan Neolithic Caves.
After an "Endurance Journey" through Europe, with a lots of difficulties, changes, and strange encounters we are finally in the field visiting some nice caves.
During the previous week, the Balkan Cave Archaeology team indexed more than 15 new caves, which will soon appear on our cave depot section. These are mainly caves from Croatia and Slovenia, but we also indexed one cave from Albania (Velce), two from Greece (Antiparos and Ayia Triada) and one from Bulgaria (Devetashka).
But the Great news has come from the Balkan Speleological Union. The BCA team was overjoyed when they received this mail from Alexey Zhalov!
Balkan Speleological Union recognises Balkan Cave Archaeology project as a research endeavour beneficial to the study of Balkan karst areas and how those have been used by people in the Neolithic.
"We are happy to inform you that the Bureau of Balkan Speleological Union appreciates the initiative of foundation of Balkan Cave Archaeology project as very useful for the study of Balkan caves and the partnership among Balkan cavers.
We spread already your kind letter to all national delegates and speleological organisations with appeal to joint the project.
We would be pleased if you agree to carry out the project under the patronage of BSU and to use our logo with link to our web page in the page of the project.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any further information,
President of Balkan Speleological Union
Time has come for our first fieldwork season!
In a couple of days a team from Cardiff is off to Balkans in order to explore Neolithic Caves.
This summer we will visit few caves in Croatia and Greece for pilot research. Main aim is to visit already excavated and published caves such as Mala Pecina, Kitsos and Leontari in order to recored their microenvironmental characteristics such as temperature, humidity and luminance . We will also look for a promising cave in order to excavate it next summer.
Many people have helped to organise this trip . Special thanks to Cardiff University Caving Club which generously provides the team members with some decent caving equipment.
Stay tuned on the following days. For more field updates, pictures and sounds from the Underground.
So, Turn the music on and lets cave...
The Balkan Cave Archaeology website is an idea which emerged from the lack of online references and information about the archaeology of caves and rockshelters in the Balkan region. The cultural differences through the Balkan peninsula have interfered with the archaeological research and the collaborative work for many years. The outcome was a fragmented context, that was difficult to deal with and resulted in minimal engagement between the researchers and the local communities.
This website aims to be a hub that will support the collective work between Balkan cave archaeologists and anyone who has an interest in cave usages in the Balkans, past and present. At the same time it aims to be a starting point for fellow researchers who are interested in Balkan Archaeology and those who are looking for basic information and bibliographical assistance.
If you would like to contribute to this project, you can download the Cave Log form, fill it in with any information about published archaeological caves in the Balkans, and then send it back to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We launch this website that already includes 35 caves form Greece, Albania, Croatia and Montenegro and soon we will add caves form Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria. If you would like to be in touch, send us an email with your contact details and we will add you on our mailing list.
At the general bibliography page you can also find a list with references on cave archaeology in Balkans. In this category we would like to see your contributions of papers focusing on the archaeology of Balkan Caves, if you know any, or have published yourself!
From this blog you will hear our news, publications, actions and updates. As a project in progress during 2015 we are organising archival research about the types of uses in Balkan caves diachronically and a summer field working expedition in Montenegro, Croatia and Greece.
As a closing remark we would like to thank British Cave Research Association which supported the initial idea and the construction of this website.
Be in touch!
the Balkan Cave Archaeology team