Underwater archaeological explorations of the site of Ploča Mićov Grad in the Bay of the Bones, in the waters of Lake Ohrid, by the south shores of the Peninsula of Gradište, near the fishing and tourist village of Peštani were carried out every year between 1997 and 2005, and in 2007/2008, the pile-dwelling settlement on the waters of Lake Ohrid was partly reconstructed.
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Thus, an attractive archaeological site situated on the waters of Lake Ohrid is now presented to the public. For the first time in Macedonia, these explorations officially promoted underwater archaeology as a branch which studies the remains, protection and presentation of underwater cultural heritage which, due to certain circumstances, both in the past and today, remains under the waters of Macedonian lakes. From the insights gained in this field, it is Lake Ohrid that abounds in remains of prehistoric pile-dwelling settlements, as well as in artefacts from Antiquity and the Middle Ages that were submerged in its waters, mainly due to the oscillations of the water level.
The lake waters also conceal movable artefacts which, in the past, ended up on the lake bottom due to fishing activities or lake traffic in the past centuries. A prehistoric palafitte (piledwelling) settlement has been discovered on the site of Ploča Mićov Grad dated to the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages; during the explorations, 6,000 remnants of wooden piles have been discovered on the lake bottom at the depth of 3 to 5 m which probably supported a single wooden platform on which approximately twenty prehistoric dwellings stood, also probably made of wood.
With the underwater explorations that have been carried out, the overall dimensions of the settlement have been defined, an underwater quadrant grid has been outlined and several research fields have been explored. The underwater exploration yielded numerous artefacts from the Bronze and Iron Ages, mainly fragmented or undamaged ceramic vessels, stone and flint objects, a smaller number of bronze artefacts and an exceptionally large number of animal bone fragments, including those which served as tools. Today, the site of Ploča Mićov Grad in the Bay of the Bones is an attractive museum complex that consists of several segments: the reconstructed palafitte/pile dwelling settlement above the lake waters, a Roman castrum, now conserved and restored, which stands on the highest plateau on the Gradište Hill, an on-site museum and a facility for underwater tourism.
Kuzman P., Bay of the Bones, Archaeological sites, Cultural heritage protection office, Skopje 2009, 60-61.
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