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Announcing a new international project of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the University of Ferrara and the University of La Sapienza of Rome "AFTER THE ICE"

On Tuesday, 18.06.2024. in the hall of the permanent exhibition "Bosnia and Herzegovina in prehistoric times", a press conference was held to announce a new scientific research project called "After the ice-Forager uses of persistent places"

The new international project "AFTER THE ICE" brought together researchers who intend to better understand the hunter-gatherer communities that inhabited the area around the Adriatic Sea basin at the end of the last ice age (Late Paleolithic). Badanj near Stolac in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Tagliente in northern Italy were chosen as representative localities for understanding these communities and comparing life in two different simultaneous habitats. The layers of these two localities cover the period of the so-called epigravity, i.e. the period after the end of the maximum glaciation from about 16,000 to 13,000 years, during which there was a sudden thaw and rise in the level of the Adriatic Sea. About 20,000 years ago, during the maximum glaciation, the level of the Adriatic Sea was about 130 m lower than today's sea level. Throughout the period there is a direct land connection across the northern Adriatic, strong cultural ties and population influences between the human communities of the Italian and Balkan peninsulas.

The project is supported through the PRIN (Projects of Relevant National Interest) program funded by the Italian Ministry of Universities and Research. The project is led by Professor Federica Fontana from the University of Ferrara and Professor Dušan Borić from the University "La Sapienza" in Rome.

The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina holds a large fund of archaeological material from the Badanj site which was discovered during two research phases - between 1976 and 1979, led by the then curator of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Đuro Basler, and between 1986 and 1987, led by Zilka Kujundžić Vejzagić in front of the Museum in partnership with Robert Whallon in front of the University of Michigan in the USA. The new project aims to analyze hitherto unprocessed parts of flint and bone material, primarily remains of flint tools and remains of animal bones. During the analyzes which already started on the remains of the bones, disarticulated remains of human bones were found, which have now been directly dated using the radioactive carbon method. The obtained date confirms the Late Paleolithic age of these human remains and these remains currently represent the oldest directly dated human remains on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. An analysis of the ancient DNA of these individuals is underway, which will give us precious data about the genetic heritage of these Paleolithic communities, which will provide the first information about the populations that inhabited the Balkan Peninsula during the Late Paleolithic.

During the official visit of researchers working on the "AFTER THE ICE" project to the National Museum of BiH in Sarajevo, a press conference was held to announce the project and the first results by professor Dušan Borić and two postdoctoral researchers who will analyze different classes of archaeological material from the Badanj site, Dr. Beniamino Mecozzi et al. Nicolò Fasser and the deputy director of the National Museum and senior curator dr. Ana Marić as well as the head of the Department of Archaeology, senior curator Adisa Lepić.