Cave paintings dating back to more than 30,000 years ago, the first of their kind in Croatia, were discovered in the Romuald’s Cave, north of the town of Rovinj in the Istrian peninsula.
The Palaeolithic-era drawings depict a bison, chamois, and human figures. Two Croatian scientists, Darko Komso of the Istria Archaeological Museum, and Ivor Karavanic of the Archaeology Department at the Zagreb University’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, co-authored an article on the discovery, featured in the April issue of the renowned Antiquity academic journal of world archaeology.
Neanderthal remains, dating back to Middle Palaeolithic era (broadly spanning from 300,000 to 30,000 years ago), had already been discovered earlier in this cave.
Komso had first discovered the drawings in 2010 and assumed they belonged to the Palaeolithic era, which was confirmed in 2017 by the international team led by dr Aitor Ruiz-Redondo of Southampton University as part of the BALKART project which studied Palaeolithic art in the Balkans.
Further digs in the area led to the discovery of material remains from the period of Upper Palaeolithic – tools and coal, which were dated back to some 17,000 years ago.
The drawings discovered in the Romuald’s Cave are the first of their kind in Croatia. The only other prehistoric figurative depictions in the Balkans were discovered in Romania, in the Coliboaia Cave, also in 2010.