Doing Archaeology, Finding Beauty

A part of Ljubljana Marshes northeast of the village if Ig towards Škofljica is a truly fascinating place … Mainly because thousands of years ago the Pile-dwellers lived here in houses built on stilts over the ephemeral lake.

As much as eight distinct pile-dwellings were discovered here in an area just 1 by 0,5 km, inhabited from 4.600 to 3.400 BCE. The pile-dwellings of Ljubljana Marshes are a part of the transnational Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And they are of course a prime target for our kite aerial archaeology efforts!

Our delta flies almost straight up from the ‘base’

However, this post is not about aerial archaeology – which is, by the way, amazing; with clearly visible palaeochannels of streams and rivers silted up millenia ago, revealing the dynamics of settlements and contributing to the debate about exatcly why the pile-dwellers chose this place to be their home. No worries – we will write an extensive post about all that after we consult a couple of real archaeologists. But now for something different …

River Ižica

We use two cameras for kite aerial arhcaeology; the near-infrared modified Pentax WG-10 for NIR images and the Nikon P330 for visible light photos. Combining them reveal many structures buried long long ago, and while we were combing through hundreds of photos, we realized something …

Melioration canals radiate from the trunk channel

The Marshes from above are simply beautiful.

The wet ground is covered in sturdy grasses, sparse fields of dark black soil await the corn seeds, the melioration canals criscross the land – a witness to centuries-long effort to drain the Marshes, and the green river Ižica meanders slowly through …

Ižica and the fields in the low winter sun

It’s so cool to do something interesting and to find beauty while doing it. The Greeks knew and understood that – inventing the idea of kalokagathia, a harmonious combination of virtues, that literally means beautiful and good.

A palaeochannel, silted up thousands of years ago, is still visible in the left part of this image, and the melioration canals cover it like a palimpsest …

And this kite aerial photography was good and beautiful.

Many thanks to Maša who expertly piloted our delta and managed to catch these amazing sights!

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