Archaeological Investigations of the Main Pier in Piran
23. 05. 2022 - 03. 06. 2022

As part of the project “Flood Protection of the City of Piran,” archaeological excavations of the main pier were conducted. These comprehensive investigations covered various aspects both on land and underwater. The team from the Institute for Underwater Archaeology carried out archaeological test excavations of six underwater trenches and conducted a detailed structural examination and documentation of the eastern side of the 160-meter-long pier. These research activities took place during the period of late May to early June 2022.

During the excavations, numerous artifacts were unearthed, aligning with archival records pertaining to the construction and historical use of the pier. Notably, a ceramic stoneware bottle with a salt glaze was discovered. The bottle, made of Nassau stone, was used for mineral water and bore the engraved year 1849. Selters mineral water gained international recognition in the mid-18th century, with an estimated three million “bottles” sold in 1850. These bottles can be found worldwide, from East Asia to America. This find represents the earliest dated artifact from the excavations.

Among the findings related to weaponry, rifle cartridges were the most abundant. However, the discovery that garnered the most attention was a 75mm caliber artillery shell. During World War II, Piran was subjected to three air attacks, with the most intense occurring on the night of July 28-29, 1944. The attacking aircraft, possibly a B-25 (Mitchell), armed with four machine guns and a 75mm cannon, targeted the city. It is believed that the artillery shell found near the Piran pier originated from this specific aerial attack. The authorities responsible for unexploded ordnance (NUS) were promptly notified, and the shell was safely disposed of.