Back to the past – Copper Age in northern Croatia

plakat_povratak u prošlost_ bakreno doba

The exhibition portrays all aspects of Eneolithic life that lasted for approximately 2000 years, including the production of everyday objects, the ways in which they were decorated, settlement organization, dietary habits, religion and cult, raw material exploitation and burial rites, which will be observable through a selection of the most representative finds ascribed to cultures that inhabited northern Croatia.

The exhibition authors portrayed the lives of Copper Age populations from the northern part of the Republic of Croatia, and emphasized their interdependence and communication with other parts of Europe, as well as the continuity of life on Croatian territory.

The main characteristic of the Copper Age, or Eneolithic (aeneus-brass, copper, lithos-rock) is the use of metals, namely copper and gold, in the production of jewelry, weapons and tools, although man had mastered new technologies, i.e. metallurgy, already during the Neolithic when only elemental copper sources found on the surface were used.

The transformation of late Neolithic cultures into Eneolithic manifestations did not occur simultaneously everywhere, nor did it do so in the same manner. Due to the geographical characteristics of soil and the previous heterogeneity noted in the development of Neolithic communities, as well as influences from different cultural centers (the Carpathian basin, the Aegean, Pontus), certain cultures formed specific local features. The territory of today’s Croatia, being further away from the origin of change, saw a different transformation into the Eneolithic than the southeastern parts of Europe and the Balkans.

During the Eneolithic, northern Croatia was occupied by a series of significant cultural manifestations, and all of them left an extremely rich collection of archaeological finds. The different intensity of excavating certain cultures resulted in uneven knowledge about certain cultural occurrences dated to the Copper Age, or the Eneolithic. Additionally, the insufficient number of systematic excavations on multi-layered sites still does not provide a true chronological position of individual cultures that were present in these areas.

The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb has prepared a multitude of events that will take place during the Exhibition, including guided tours led by Exhibition authors, lectures, workshops and three visiting Exhibitions that focus on different aspects of the Copper Age.

From September 18, the visitors will be able to see an exhibition from the Nova Gradiška Municipal Museum, “Rescue excavations of Ruščica-Glogove-Praulje”, that includes the results of excavations conducted at a site of the Baden culture. Exhibition authors: Marija Mihaljević, Danimirka Podunavac and Marina Matković Vrban.

From October 17, the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb will host the “Astral symbolism in the Vučedol culture” exhibition from the Vučedol Culture Museum, authored by Mirela Hutinec, Aleksandar Durman and Darko Puharić.

The last visiting exhibition, “Beketinci-Bentež, Eneolithic, Early and Late Medieval settlements”, from the Archaeological Museum Osijek, authored by Dragana Rajković and Zvonko Bojčić, will open on November 7, 2018.

Creative and artistic workshops, “A walk through the Copper Age”, for children and youth between the ages of 10 and 15, will be held on October 20 and November 17 at 11 AM. The attendants will learn about the different techniques of decorating pottery and about how metal was first used and processed. The workshops are accompanied by an educational publication entitled “A walk through the Copper Age”.

Free guided tours by the Exhibition authors will take place on October 20 and November 17 at 12 o’clock. The visitors will have a chance to learn more about the topic from One of the Exhibition authors, Jacqueline Balen, PhD, museum advisor at the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb.

The opening of the exhibition is part of the official program of the 22nd European Meeting of the Paleopathology Association organized by the Institute for Anthropological Research.

Programme of the 22nd European Meeting of the Paleopathology Association organized by the Institute for Anthropological Research.


Exhibition authors: Jacqueline Balen (Archaeological Museum in Zagreb), Ina Miloglav (Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb), Dragana Rajković (Archaeological Museum Osijek)

Exhibition design and graphic preparation: Srećko Škrinjarić

Design and graphic preparation of exhibition posters: Nedjeljko Špoljar, Sensus Design Factory

Associates: Dragana Antonović (Institute of Archaeology, Belgrade), Antonela Barbir (Institute of Archaeology, Zagreb), Lea Čataj (Croatian Conservation Institute, Zagreb), Ana Đukić (Zagreb), Ana Grabundžija (FreieUniversität Berlin, Excellence Cluster Topoi), Ivor Janković (Institute for Anthropological Research, Zagreb), Mario Novak (Institute for Anthropological Research, Zagreb), Maja Pasarić (Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb; School of Archaeology, University College Dublin), Andrijana Pravidur (National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo), Siniša Radović (Institute for Quaternary paleontology and geology of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb), Kelly Reed (Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford), Andrej Sabljić (Zagreb), Selena Vitezović (Institute of Archaeology, Belgrade). 

The exhibits were granted by: Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, Archaeological Museum Osijek, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Geoarheo d.o.o., Museum of Koprivnica, Križevci Municipal Museum, Nova Gradiška Municipal Museum, City Museum Požega, City Museum Vinkovci, City Museum Virovitica, Institute of Archaeology, Kaducej d.o.o., Brodsko Posavlje Museum, Museum of Đakovo Region, Našice Local History Museum, Zagreb City Museum, Department of Archaeology, University of Zadar, Moslavina Museum in Kutina, Museum Radboa, Međimurje County Museum in Čakovec, Museums of the Croatian Zagorje – Museum of Peasant Uprisings

Technical execution: Vedran Mesarić, Robert Vazdar, Srećko Škrinjarić, Ivan Troha
Settlement visualization: Marin Mađerić, Jelena Boras
Reconstructions: Vedran Mesarić
Conservation and restoration: Marina Gregl, Zrinka Znidarčić
Educational program: Zorica Babić
Photographs: Igor Krajcar, Nenad Milić

The realization of the exhibition project was financially supported by the City of Zagreb.