How do we explore caves?

August 13-22 2023, at Petnica Science Center, Serbia

By taking part in this program you will become familiar with the basic features of the interdisciplinary scientific study of cave systems and be trained in the application of several different techniques and methods

The program content includes familiarization with:

  • the basic natural characteristics of caves from their origin to their evolution;
  • the characteristics of the natural habitat and the forms of extinct and living flora, fauna, and other living organisms;
  • the characteristics of traces of life and the use of caves by people throughout history;
  • ways of caring for and protecting this type of natural goods, as well as examples of good exploitation practices and tourist presentation of caves.

Special emphasis will be placed on training participants in the application of several different techniques and methods used during research, as well as in the use of modern technologies.

Program activities include theoretical lectures and mostly practical work that will be carried out in the Petnica Cave, as well as in specialized laboratories and cabinets at Petnica Science Center with opportunities to work on original archaeological and paleontological material.

The program also includes an excursion – a tour of the Valjevo karst area and the Povlen mountain, where participants will learn about the natural features of the natural border of the Pannonian plain and the Dinaric massif (facies of the Alpine massif).

Apply through our online system

This program is aimed at young people aged 18 to 25 from European countries who are interested in interdisciplinary exploration of caves.

August 13-22 2023

600 EUR

The price includes accommodation, full board, fieldwork, excursion, and participation in program activities.

All participants are provided with accommodation and food at the Petnica Science Center campus on a full board basis (breakfast, lunch, dinner). Participants will stay in double and triple rooms with private bathrooms. Special dietary requirements can be arranged for upon request.

Caves represent unique natural forms in the earth’s crust. Modern research of these objects implies a combined approach of many different scientific fields such as archeology, biology, geosciences, paleontology, physics, chemistry, and others. In those processes, a wide range of techniques and methods are used, with a special emphasis on the use of modern technologies and equipment.

Petnica Science Center is an independent non-profit organization that has been working since 1982 as a unique national center dedicated to advanced additional extracurricular education and support for young people who show a particularly high level of interest and ability in the field of natural and social sciences and modern technologies. The educational activities are not based on official school programs or the usual teaching methods and the educational programs cover a wide range of scientific disciplines. The most important goals of the work are focused on helping students to develop observation and reasoning skills, data and fact collection techniques, argumentation and communication skills, as well as readiness for continuous learning and enrichment of knowledge and experience. Educational activities are based on a wide network of over 1000 professional associates who, as guest lecturers, mentors or advisors, participate in the creation and execution of various courses and camps. Associates come from leading scientific and educational institutions in Serbia and the world. The complex of Petnica Science Center consists of a number of different areas that include facilities for accommodation and dining, classrooms and work areas, library, as well as several specialized laboratories.

In the immediate vicinity of the Petnica Science Center, there is a natural monument, the Petnica Cave, which was created about 2 million years ago on the natural border between the mountainous Dinaric massif and the Pannonian plain. The cave consists of several spacious and interconnected halls and belongs to the type of living caves. The active hydro system consists of a network of canals, which have been partially explored so far, connected to the underground lake from which the Banja River flows. Established paleontological traces indicate that animals from the Ice Age inhabited the cave, the largest collection of which is represented by the remains of a cave bear. Among the archaeological traces, the sacral place from the 4th century AD should be singled out, in which a fetus aged 8.5 lunar months was buried, while in the hall below this place, we note a mass grave with over 25 buried individuals from the period IV-VI BC, which represents one of the largest underground tombs from this period in Europe. Today, the cave represents one of the most important natural habitats for bat colonies, as well as a special autochthonous centipede species found in Petnica.

How do we explore caves?

August 13-22 2023, at Petnica Science Center, Serbia