Zaro to Lead Second Archaeological Excavation in Croatia
National Geographic Society is funding an archaeological project this summer along the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, led by Gregory Zaro, University of Maine associate professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology. Zaro will be joined by colleagues from the University of Zadar, Croatia, and students from both the University of Zadar and UMaine. The excavation is the next phase in building a long-term program of study concerning human society, environment and climate in the eastern Adriatic region. The initiative to study urban transformation and landscape change at the Nadin archaeological site in Croatia grew out of Zaro’s Fulbright experience at the University of Zadar in 2013.
Cities are a dominant factor in global environmental change today, but as a long-term process, urbanization has played a significant role in shaping our planet’s landscapes and environments for millennia, effectively creating anthropogenic landscapes. Recognition of this point opens the door for archaeological research to make significant contributions to contemporary urban/ecological issues, while also generating cross-cultural knowledge about urbanism in the ancient, historic and modern worlds.
Zaro’s project is a field program of archaeological excavation and analysis at the Nadin archaeological site, a moderately sized center in Croatia’s Ravni Kotari region along the Adriatic Sea. The site is situated near the 3,000-year-old city of Zadar, an important social and economic center in the region today, but one that faces significant urban/ecological challenges over the coming century.
With a nearly 2,500-year record of (possibly intermittent) occupational history, Nadin affords the opportunity to investigate the relationship between phases of urban growth and decline, and broader changes in landscape and environment — processes that persist around Zadar today.
The project work will generate archaeological data related to urban form, spatial organization, economy, subsistence and environment from the site’s inception in the Iron Age. The project will also work to more precisely delineate the site’s chronology, an essential prerequisite to articulating changes in urban form with broader changes in landscape and environment. The results will help build a range of knowledge on human-environmental interactions in the Zadar region, offering deep-time perspectives on contemporary issues.