Traces of prehistoric people in Istria
The first traces of prehistoric people on the territory of Istria date back to the period of the Lower Palaeolithic. The stone hand axe made by early man is about 2 million to 800,000 years old and was found in the vicinity of Pula, in Šandalja Cave. Finds from the Upper Palaeolithic (40,000-10,000 BC) were found at the sites of Šandalja II and St. Romuald’s Cave in Lim Bay.
In St. Romuald’s Cave (11 km from Vrsar-Orsera and 9 km from Rovinj) a large number of bones belonging to over 40 animal species were found, such as bones of the cave bear, cave lion, leopard, cave hyena, wild horse, large deer, snow hare etc., which were mainly the game of prehistoric people-hunters of that time. The discovered tools are proof of the existence of early man from the Old Stone Age, whereas the cave itself is a speleological attraction with cave decorations, bats and other animals. It was named after St. Romuald who in prayer and meditation spent three years in this cave, from 1001 until 1004.
Numerous other prehistoric finds from the Neolithic (6,000-2,000 BC) prove the changes in life style, when prehistoric people instead of only hunting engaged in raising cattle and planting crops. Techniques for making tools and weapons became more complicated and people discovered how to make pottery.