When we talk about 'underwater archeology', most of us think, at first, of sunken ships and amphorae. This ancient form of packaging, which was used to transport wine, oil and other food, has always sparked the imagination of divers, however, here we are talking about something much bigger than amphorae. 'Dolies' (in Greek 'pitos', in Latin 'dolium') are ceramic vessels that were used to transport liquid and food in bulk in ancient times. Unlike amphorae, dolies or pitos are much larger in volume, holding 1,200 - 3,000 liters.
These giant artifacts have ended up at the bottom of the sea near Cavtat in Croatia. It is not actually strange that they have been found here due to the sea routes of the time and the configuration of the coast which makes it a natural harbor.
The Cavtat dolies were discovered in 1996 thanks to local divers. They represent the only intact, authentic dolies on the eastern Adriatic coast. It's estimated they date back to the 1st century AD. They are located in near proximity to the island of Supetar. It is believed that the dolies were the cargo of a shipwreck which was once an overloaded merchant boat, however, this theory has yet to be proven.
The sea bottom here is flat and muddy, so visibility varies. The maximum depth is between 30 - 35 meters. The dolies themselves are grouped in an area of 10 x 20 meters. The dive is performed "in blue", so it is convenient to place a marking rope for easier orientation.
The huge pots have become home to octopuses and sometimes groupers.
The whole site can be explored in just one dive. Due to the muddy bottom, divers should move carefully so that the overall diving atmosphere is not spoiled. Similar archeological findings can be seen on the seabed of Vis and Murter. This site is under protection, so diving is only allowed with the guidance and supervision of authorized diving centers.
For more information regarding diving at this dive site see https://www.epidaurum.com
Written by Janez Kranjc
Photos by Janez Kranjc
Model Ivana OK