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Špilje i jame otoka Mljeta u slici i riječi_Caves of the island of Mljet in pictures and words

Authors:
  • Croatian Biospeleological Society
  • Ruđer Bošković Institute; Croatian Biospeleological Society

Abstract

As karst phenomena, caves represent the most secluded, but also the most fascinating natural values of the Island of Mljet. Many of them contain a diverse rare and endemic subterranean fauna; impressive cave formations (speleothems), and archaeological artifacts which bear witness to the first inhabitants of the Island of Mljet who frequented the underground since the prehistoric times. The exploration of caves and pits on the Island of Mljet was already spurred in the first half of the 19th century. However, the systematic speleological and biospeleological explorations have been carried out only since 2005. A persistent and multiannual fieldwork followed by the subsequent analysis of various samples collected in the field preceded to the creation of this book. We would like to illustrate and to bring closer the rich subterranean world of the Island of Mljet to all visitors of this island and to the public at large, as the beauty and particularity of this world can easily be overlooked due to its seclusion and difficult accessibility. Data collected from literature and field exploration until the end of 2016 are represented in the book. The book Caves of the Island of Mljet in Pictures and Words is a result of cooperation between the Croatian Biospeleological Society and Public Institution of National Park Mljet which provided long standing support for cave explorations of the island. In our search for caves across the wilderness of the Island of Mljet, we had a great help from many guides, inhabitants of the Island of Mljet, without whom many pits and caves would have remained unexplored and eventually forgotten. Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize that even after many years of research, the dense vegetation and barely accessible parts of the Island still hide undiscovered pits and caves.
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