Mura river – rescue of a dougout
30. 09. 2023 - 13. 10. 2023

During the recent floods, the Mura River carried a substantial wooden object to its right bank near Hrastje pri Vučji vasi. Subsequent investigation revealed it to be a dugout (logboat). It was carved without the use of modern tools and seals. Locals promptly notified the museum, which, in collaboration with a conservator, initiated comprehensive procedures to safeguard and preserve this remarkable find. The dugout, measuring an impressive 11.27 meters in length, stands as the longest fully preserved vessel of its kind in Slovenia. Shortly after receiving initial information, a extensive rescue commenced.
Firstly, an assessment of the dugout’s state of preservation and the level of risk was conducted, leading to a crucial decision: for the protection and preservation of this historical vessel, it was imperative to relocate the dugout to a secure underwater location. The operation involved a collaborative effort among various institutions and companies, spearheaded by divers from the Institute of Underwater Archaeology, the Skupina Stik, and CPA d.o.o., under the leadership of Rene Masaryk, with expert advice from Prof. Dr. Andrej Gaspari. Maneuvering such a large and weighty cultural heritage object proved to be a challenging task. The fundamental plan was straightforward: strategically position supports around and under the dugout, utilize an inflatable pontoon to float the boat, and employ a crane to lift it, along with the supports, out of the water and onto a waiting truck.
The journey continued to Soboško Lake, where the process was reversed. The crane carefully lowered the vessel, along with the supports, into the water. Divers then submerged it to a depth of at least 8 meters. Shielded by a layer of geotextile, the dugout now safely rests below the lake surface, awaiting further decisions and funding for potential conservation procedures. Despite encountering a few setbacks and engaging in occasional improvisation, we successfully executed the plan in a span of four days. So on the evening of October 13th, fatigued yet content, we sat by Lake Soboško, reflecting on the completion of one of the most exhilarating adventures so far.