ZADAR, 27 September 2022 – There have been many amazing discoveries made by archaeologists in Croatia, and now there has been another one made.
On Sunday, EpiC – Epigravetijenske zajednice Sjeverne Dalmacije (Epigravetian communities of northern Dalmatia) – published on their official Facebook page the news of the discovery of the head of a European wild donkey (ass) dating back thousands of years in Vlakno cave on the island of Dugi Otok.
“We found a horse-like head and now we are waiting for the confirmation of other fellow scientists whether it is a species that died out a long time ago or it is the remains of a wild horse,” research leader Dario Vujević from the Department of Archeology of the University of Zadar told HRT.
Today, EpiC confirmed to us that it was in fact a head from a European wild ass (Equus hydruntinus).
The Equus hydruntinus is an extinct equine from the Middle Pleistocene to Late Holocene of Western Eurasia. It appeared first in the fossil record around 350–300,000 years before present. In the late Pleistocene it was widespread throughout much of western Eurasia from the Middle East to Europe, especially along the Mediterranean, with fossil reports from Sicily, Turkey, Spain, France and Portugal.
Vujević says they also found traces of a hearth and the remains of hunting equipment, which is common for that era.
As it is a layer of earth that dates back to a period older than 17 thousand years, and coincides with the last ice age, it is obvious that the animal remains also come from that period.
The project “Epigravetien community of northern Dalmatia” is a continuation of interdisciplinary research of the Paleolithic and Mesolithic site of Vlakno on Dugi Otok, as well as the wider area of northern Dalmatia.
So far, they have explored reefs near Silba, Molat, Rava and elsewhere, and this summer they also explored Ugljan and Pašman.