Montenegro Survey Project: 2013-14 Field Season
Multibeam operations were undertaken during June by the R/V Hercules. The survey area was designated based on the areas of interest by the Regional De-Mining Center and Center for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. The particular of interest to these parties was the bays of Kotor and Risan. Risan possesses remains dating to the 5th century BCE and extending into the medieval period. Additionally, the survey of the coastline began with the area directly opposite the entrance into Tivat Bay. During the 2009 season the entire combined areas of Kotor and Risan Bays, approximately 28 km2, were surveyed with the 3002 multibeam echosounder sonar.Data from the multibeam operations was processed during, and directly after, the collection phase to produce three-dimensional models of the seafloor, which was then analyzed for anomalies. During verification operations, the locating of each anomaly, as well as stray material near anomalies and sites, was facilitated by a forward-scanning sonar affixed to the ROV. Once cultural material was located and positions recorded, a visual investigation ensued through the use of still and video cameras.
There were 55 anomalies designated during the 2009 field season; 22 in the Kotor-Risan Bay area and 33 in the coastal zone. By the end of the project 18 anomalies were verified: 2 of the 22 in Risan-Kotor Bays and 16 of the 33 along the coast. Some time was lost for poor weather during the first half of the field season that prevented multibeam operations; hence fewer anomalies were completed.
During verification any random finds were noted for their location and type; these were recorded and placed into Fledermaus for visualization. After ROV operations in the Risan-Kotor Bays, the anecdotal information about the area being looted of nearly all antiquities on the surface appears to be correct. If any material does survive, it is buried beneath the silt. The coastal anomalies, on the other hand, are quite promising and the continuation of the verification efforts here next season is advised.
Verification Results. Site MN09-AA
Upon investigation what appears to be a submarine was located partially buried in the silty bottom. This vessel has large sections of the outer plating missing, some of which appears torn away. There are at least two torpedo tubes along the NE side of the vessel, and a large hatch or gun emplacement positioned along the vessel’s top at the NW end. Along the SE third is a structure that extends nearly one meter off the vessel; if this is indeed a submarine, then this structure is likely its coning tower. A review of the WWI-era submarines in the Maritime Museum in Kotor provide several good matches for dimensions and features. It is not clear from the evidence if this was the scuttled Austro-Hungarian submarine U-72, or whether a British submarine (possibly the H2) that was also lost in the area.
Verification Results. Site MN09-AB
This metal shipwreck is upright with a large amount of structure visible; although the remaining height of the structure is not great. Its narrow length-to-beam ratio and metal construction indicates a fast vessel of the early-mid 20th century. It has some similarities to the torpedo boats known to have operated in this area.
Verification Results. Site MN09-AC
This is a modern war vessel, probably aluminum, which has a shape consistent with a fast patrol craft. There are apparent blast holes at the bow and stern. The wreck is nearly upright at the fore section and twists to its port in the aft section; hence, the bottom of the hull is visible at the aft. Possible chain noted at the bow of the wreck and a large mast (?) at the stern. Visibility poor as in deep water with much silt outflow from the mouth of Boka Kotorska.
Verification Results. Site MN09-AD
Located approximately one km from shore in the open seafloor is a large wrecksite comprised of a tile shipment. Both teguli and imbrices are present. Based on the initial observation only, the number of tiles on the surface is c. 500-750. Many of the tiles remain in a stacked position, shifted as the wreck settled and decayed, and are intact. At least three long rows of tiles are noted running along the site’s long axis. A large fishing net has snagged in the wreck and a net is deposited here. Two artifacts were raised for analysis: a complete pan tile (MN09-0001) and a cover tile (MN09-0002).
Verification Results. Site MN09-AE
Large amphora wreck in relatively good condition. The mound is substantial and there are numerous amphoras lying over but maintaining their stacking pattern. Several areas had many sherds from broken amphoras, while others possessed many amphoras in good condition. There was no scatter immediately around the site; thus if nets have dragged across it, which the inevitably have, it has not strewn the amphoras to a great degree. Based on the visible amphoras, the majority, if not all, of the cargo is of Lamboglia 2 amphoras. A single amphora was raised for analysis (MN09-0003).
Risan and Kotor Bays
There were very few good anomalies in either bay and only a few were investigated in order to ascertain the bottom conditions. ROV operations were also conducted near Risan along the eastern shore where amphora fragments were reported. Several amphora fragments and a possible whole amphora was located in the area, noted as “Amphoras” in the chart above, but no other finds were made in a wider search. From the bottom conditions observed, it is clear that a large amount of sediment has buried ancient finds, and what has not been buried has been taken by the many years of looting in the bays. Likewise, the multibeam data showed no evidence of architecture above the surface in the area where the ancient city of Risan purportedly sank into the bay. If it did so, then heavy sedimentation has long covered any remains; or they have been constructed over when the new dock at Risan was completed.