A Coda to the Moving River

We talked about the intrepid Romans who (maybe) moved a substantial part of Ljubljanica river closer to a marble quarry of Podpeč … to end the story we went to the other side of Podpeč to check out how they connected the new channel with the old one.

Just to put things in perspective – here is the view from the west (1 – Podpeč quarry; 2 – river port; 3 – junction of the old and the new channel), and this time we flew a kite with a camera near the point 3. The wind was exceeding 50 km/h in gusts, so we took out our venerable Royal 69 sled kite, as it is perfect for such difficult wind conditions, but the swaying of the camera meant we barely got what we came for 🙂

For most of its run across Ljubljana Marshes Ljubljanica flows in long, straight segments These rare meanders are probably remnants of the Tanner’s and Hruški creeks flowing in from the south and emptying into the old channel of Ljubljanica about a mile further northwest. It is possible the Romans used these creeks and merely enlarged them, so their meanders are now part of the new channel of Ljubljanica..

An irrigation channel is left to flow into Ljubljanica on its own

A couple more such creeks were probably used by the Romans, so the new channel changes its direction a couple more times before joining the old channel and Drobtinka creek flowing in from the left. You can see the junction of the channels just beyond the house:

Here the new channel of Ljubljanica joins the old one and flows in an almost straight line towards Črna Vas and further on to Ljubljana / Emona. Most probably the Romans straightened this part of the river up to a century before they dug the new channel to the quarry of Podpeč.

The definite answers to all the questions about Roman river management lies below the surface of gently flowing Ljubljanica.

The whole river and both the new and the old channels are a strictly protected archaeological site. Numerous finds from Mesolithic to Medieval were recovered from the riverbed, and many more are waiting to be discovered.

Hopefully one day a diver will recover an inscription detailing all the river engineering the Romans did here. Until then, the story about the river-moving Romans is but a story – an interesting and compelling one, supported by archaeological discoveries and a lot of geologic and hydrographic data – but not yet a definitely true story.

And it really doesn’t matter if the other option comes true – that the Romans didn’t do anything and that Ljubljanica river has made all the channels by itself – but we have to know. We just wish that not much water of Ljubljanica will flow under the bridges of Ljubljana until we do! 😉

All kite aerial photos shot with Nikon P330 on a Royal 69 sled kite.

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