The Collection of Underwater Finds – Modern Shipwrecks is made up of finds from explorations of shipwrecks discovered in the Dubrovnik waters. The collection contains over a thousand objects from underwater sites. They were taken from the sea in the Bay of Suđurađ on Šipan Island, the site called Drevine in the Koločep Channel and from the St Paul Shoals in the waters off Mljet; there are also other individual finds.
In Suđurađ Bay on Šipan, in the 1970s, remains of the sunken Dubrovnik ship Sv. Jerolim of the second half of the 16th century were found. During the explorations of the wreck, parts of the ship’s equipment, nautical instruments, armaments, ceramic and metal vessels and other things belonging to the ship’s inventory were found and brought up. The objects for navigation and ship’s weaponry found are the oldest surviving examples of the kind on the Croatian coast. For the moment, they are the oldest extant material remains of a Dubrovnik ship from the time when the Dubrovnik Republic was at its peak.
In the Koločep Channel, at the spot called Drevine, in 1972, the remains of an unidentified 17th century merchantman were found. The ship was laden with a rich and varied cargo, which it was taking from Venice to somewhere in the Levant. The cargo was packed in 47 wooden crates, and consisted of useful and decorative commodities made in northern Europe and Venice, as well as semi-products such as wire and brass sheeting.
In the St Paul [Sv. Pavao] Shoals in the waters off Mljet, in 2006 a very productive underwater site was discovered. At a depth of forty metres, excellently preserved remains of a modern shipwreck were found, including eight bronze cannon and scattered fragments of ceramic ware, coins, glass and metal objects. Most of the finds from the site are of ceramic vessels. It was discovered that some of the pots were produced in western workshops (mainly in Veneto or elsewhere in northern Italy). A second group consists of very luxurious and richly decorated oriental tableware, or simply shaped oriental kitchen ware. In the cargo of the ship, the most numerous and best preserved were luxury ceramic vessels produced in the celebrated Ottoman workshops of Iznik. The wreck has been dated to the second half of the 16th century, and has been determined to be of a Venetian merchantman that was carrying a rich cargo meant for the western market.
Among the individual finds, particular prominence attaches to a bronze cannon found in 2013 in the sea in the northern bay of Molunat, cast in the workshop of the Cebrano family, Turin.