Archaeological topography of the island of Rab
Leading institutions: Institute of archaeology, Institute of archaeology Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw
Directors: dr. Ana Konestra, dr. hab. Fabian Welc, prof. UKSW
Theme: Environment and cultural landscapes
The "Archaeological topography of the island of Rab" project was established in 2013 with the support of the Conservation office in Rijeka with the aim to carry out reconnaissance, documenting and mapping of archaeological sites on the island of Rab considering all prehistoric and historic periods. From 2016 the project is being carried out in collaboration with Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, enhancing thus the multidisciplinary approach of the project.
Rab island has been chosen as a polygon to understand human-environment interactions in the long durée due to its geomorphologic characteristics, relatively small dimensions and the existence of previous archaeological data. Also, due to a general lack of archaeological surveys of the wider Kvarner area, the detailed topography of Rab island can, taking in consideration all specificities of the island as well as its connectivity with the wider archipelago and the coast, serve as a regional case study and indicator of certain trends.
The initial project's campaigns were devoted to reconnaissance of most parts of the island, and historic and bibliographic data collection, thus allowing mapping of more than a hundred mostly previously undocumented sites, as well as a number of archaeological indicators and finds. Within the project and ad hoc database was created within GIS which allows, thanks to several basemap layers (historic cadastre, recent cartography, geological and pedological map etc), to carry out further analysis of collected data. These allowed to plan and conduct, since 2015, trial trenches on selected sites as well as the first undersea reconnaissance. While continuing surveys are still carried out within selected areas and new evidence is being mapped and documented, since 2016 remote sensing, non-destructive and geoarchaeological research is being carried out, while recent campaigns saw an intensification of geological samples collection and geophysical prospection at various sites. The later allowed to organise more systematic trenching within the Lopar peninsula, more precisely at the Roman rural settlement in Podšilo bay and the late Iron Age settlement at Kaštelina site on cape Stolac.
Project results have been presented to the wider public through the "Archaeological topography - travelling through Lopar's past" exhibition (2014), which was adapted and displayed as an open-air exhibition at Lopar for several years. Also, current results were used within the "Rab archaeological (t)races" project carried out in the framework of "27 neighbourhoods" of Rijeka 2020 - European Capital of Culture, though which three recreational and educational trails were established leading visitors through several archaeologically rich areas of the island. Along with standard signalisation, a mobile app allows navigation and offers information on archaeological sites and specificities of the various landscapes.
Research within the "Archaeological topography of the island of Rab" project received funding by the Ministry of culture and media of the Republic of Croatia, local communities, especially through Lopar Culture centre, and by Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw and the Institute of Archaeology. The "Rab archaeological (t)races" project was an initiative of Lopar Culture centre, and was carried out in collaboration with local municipalities, Rab Town Tourism office, Lopar Municipality Tourism office and Public Open University Rab, while the Institute of Archaeology and the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Coast, Rijeka participated as project collaborators and professional advisors.