Vela spila: 2016 – 2018
Dinko Radić & Preston Miracle
Vela Luka Culture Center
Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge
This was a public presentation aimed at the local community of Vela Luka (Korčula, Croatia). We presented the ‘MendTheGap’ project, emphasizing the significance and role of Vela spila as a case study – focus and locus of summer schools and workshops. We summarized recent discoveries from Vela spila, giving particular attention to the following: 1) interpretation and publication of the assemblage of Pleistocene ceramics from the site; 2) analysis, radiocarbon dating, interpretation, and publication of Mesolithic human remains from the site; 3) recent excavations of Neolithic, Mesolithic, and Upper Palaeolithic deposits as part of the 2016 summer school. We then showed how Vela spila’s rich archaeological and palaeoenvironmental records are providing a catalyst for the integration of various sciences of the past (e.g. geomorphology, geoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, archaeobotany, archaeogenetics). Finally we suggested ways in which the archaeological heritage could provide tangible benefits to local communities in terms of education, sustainable tourism (promotion and prolongation of the tourist season), and sustainable development.