In the 19th century local townspeople in Vrhnika, which was then part of Austria-Hungary, frequently retrieved ancient bronze and clay vessels, tools, and weapons that washed up on the shores of the Ljubljanica River. Tales of these treasures prompted the director of the Provincial Museum in Ljubljana (today known as the National Museum of Slovenia) to mount an expedition to look for artifacts. The first underwater archaeological excavation in the river occurred in 1884 at Vrhnika, which had been a key trading center in Roman times. Two divers recruited from the Austro-Hungarian navy rescued 33 objects, including bronze vessels, spearheads, and a sword. The divers used state-of-the-art diving suits made of rubberized cloth over wool underwear with metal helmets. Each dive lasted only about 15 minutes, but the divers spent more than 44 hours underwater over the course of ten days.