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Vela Spila (big cave) A Stratified Prehistoric Site

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Vela Spila - 180 Panorama view
85sec @ 56.6Kbps
Vela Spila
Vela Spila is situated above Vela Luka on locality known as Pinski rat at an elevation of approximately 130 meters. The cave itself consists of an elliptically shaped cavern that measure 40 meters in lenght, 17 meters in hight, and is approximately 40 meters wide. There are two openings in the roof of the cave which were caused by collapse. Unfortunately, the time frame of these two collapses is still undetermind. Daylight shines through these openings as well as the cave entrance and this permits research to be conducted without the need of artificial lighting. Results of past excavations have revealed traces of human occupation from the earliest phases of the Neolithic through the Copper, Bronze, and Iron ages, including brief visits by Greek and Roman individuals. The first excavations were condacted by Marinko Gjivoje in 1950 and one year later Grga Novak continued the explorations. At this point it was already apparent that there were cultural connections between Vela Spila and the finds from Grapceva Spilja on the island of Hvar. It was clear that populations were involved in inter-island contact and trade. Since 1974, excavations were carried out regularly by Grga Novak, and after his death in 1978, continued by Bozidar Cecuk.
Material recovered from Vela Spila includes the earliest Impresso Neolithic pottery with polished stone axes and even two juvenal burials found in this Impresso context. The Middle Neolithic phase is represented by the newly termed "Vela Luka Culture" with its stylistic colored painting on the pottery which reflects a very regional speciality. At the end of Neolithic time, we have the Hvar Culture with its polished and often incised two burials, detected and excavated in situ. In Copper time in Vela Spila we could find at least three diffrent culture which are reflection of mixture between the old and the new population.
Survey on the island has revealed an extensive use of the hilltops in prehistory. It has not yet been determined if these were used for habitation or merely as a means of communication and control of land areas on the island and the neighboring waters. Dozens of gomila, or tumuli, have been found that are associated with these hilltop structures. Most of these structures range in time from the Early Bronze through the Late Iron ages - (The Archeological Collection of finds from the locality of Blato plain and surrounding hillforts). Numerous Greek finds have been located in the recent Radic/Bass survey of the island. These works have revealed a long and extensive history of the island of Korcula. Many different cultures have left evidence of their occupations on the island and it is belived that much more evidence will be gathered in the near future that will naturally add to the intricate and interesting finds from Vela Spila and the Island of Korcula.

Big Cave

The Neolithic phase of Vela Spila shows all signs of belonging to the Vela Luka, culture and finds include finely fashioned painted and polished shards alongside shards with rough surfaces, scored with triangles and grid-like motives; this paper is the first to document these new facts more comprehensively. Decorated ceramics from the central period of the Neolithic is very similar in its decorativeness to that from the Apulian coast. Settlement was highest towards the end of the Neolithic, that is, during the Hvar culture and finds include an abundance of finely polished black objects, with engravings, engraved canals, canelures and applications. Especially noteworthy is the discovery of thousands of shards, painted red and decorated with a variety of spirals, intricate forms derived from hybrid spiral-linear ornaments, meanders, series of straight and broken ribbons, linear shapes ending in rhombuses, hanging and standing triangles, semi-circles, etc. The basic characteristic of the Eneolithic is that the settlements of the old population continued to exist to the same extent, but most decoration disappeared and vessels became uniform in shape and size. The most popular vessel was fashioned with a stepped extended shoulder, decorated with a series of vertical scores imitating canelures from the earlier phase. Shards from the beginning of the Bronze Age were decorated with grooves and incrustations and are often characteristic of the Cetina culture, however, this papei does not include data on later periods. Due to its strategic position along a frequented thoroughfare, Vela Spila is significant when analysing links and ties between the coasts on either side of the Adriatic. The discovery of graves also lends new insight into the daily lives and spiritual lives of those who settled the cave.

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Hvar Culture polished axe Arheo

Vela Luka - 180 degree Panorama from the locality of Vela Spila
69sec @ 56.6Kbps
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