Prehistoric collection

Virtual walk

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The permanent collections (Virtual walk)

bizovacPermanent exhibition of the Prehistoric collection of the AMZ illustrates the development of material and spiritual culture on the territory of continental Croatia during 2,5 million years, from Paleolithic (Early Stone Age), Neolithic (Late Stone Age), Eneolithic (Copper Age), various phases of the Bronze Age, to Early and Late Iron Age. With its c. 78000 objects the collection is among the largest and most complete of its kind in Croatia and this part of Europe.

The new exhibition - designed by the architect Mario Beusan - was conceptually prepared by the curators of the Prehistoric department, who chose a chronological sequence, with certain individual thematic sections separated out in places where necessary and possible to execute.

The current exhibition utilizes display cases designed in the 1970s by the celebrated Croatian architect Stjepan Planić, thoroughly repaired and partially redesigned. The designer added several new display cases in order to articulate the space and evaluate more appropriately the exhibits.

As opposed to numerous previous exhibitions (the last realized in 1974), the new exhibition emphasizes didactic segment, previously largely ignored: besides the partial reconstruction of a Neolithic house, the same reasoning lead to the addition of appropriate drawings and photographs, as well as virtual pictorial compositions, which should ease the contemplation of the usage of certain objects and the comprehensive view on the life in prehistoric periods. C. 2000 objects are accompanied by appropriate legends and labels, numerous maps - especially the map of prehistoric sites in continental Croatia, structured according to the above mentioned periods.

A board-glass wall with a chronological map depicting characteristic monuments compared to contemporaneous monuments from abroad is of special interest.

Departments, The Prehistoric collection.


Permanent exhibition of the Egyptian collection

Prehistoric collection

Six hundred objects are displayed in the permanent exhibition of the Egyptian collection of the Archaeological museum in Zagreb. The exhibition is divided into the following units: bronze deities, stone and wooden sculpture, funerary equipment, jewellery, cosmetics and tableware, papyri and letters, canopic jars, ushabtis, sarcophagi and mummies, and funerary stelae. A special unit, placed in a room adjacent to the room with Egyptian exhibition, is previously arranged Etruscan room with the Zagreb linen book (the longest Etruscan inscription) and the so-called Zagreb mummy, on whose wrappings the text is preserved. The exhibition of Egyptian antiquities was opened in 1991, while in 1999 a temporary exhibition was set up, consisting of ca. 60 objects. The author of the display is M. Beusan, while the author of the concept is I. Uranić, the Egyptologist of the AMZ. A guide was published simultaneously with the opening of the exhibition.


Prehistoric collection

The collection of Egyptian antiquities of the AMZ is the most important systematic collection of this type in Croatia. It is also among the most interesting collections in Central Europe. The collecting of Egyptian artefacts was initiated in the 19th c. with the foundation of the National museum during the Illyrian movement. The very first purchase secured as much as 2/3 of the contemporary collection (2200 objects). The objects belonged to the Austrian field marshal of Czech origin F. Koller, located in Prague. The purchase was made in 1868, and J.J. Strossmayer was among the most important persons in this transaction.

Koller had purchased the antiquities from a dealer in Naples, but it is not known from where in Egypt they originated. After this first great acquisition the collection was supplemented by purchases and donations, such as the donation from the Arabian Republic of Egypt of the sarcophagus and mummy of Kaipamau in 1970. It was an expression of gratitude for the fact that some Croatian and Yugoslav companies were involved in UNESCO's preservation of the monuments in Nubia endangered by the construction of the Assuan dam. This is a well preserved anthropomorphic sarcophagus of Amon's priestess. During the last decade several purchases of smaller private collections were realized.

The Zagreb collection, unlike the London, Cairo and Paris ones, does not contain objects from all pharaonic periods, but mostly the later ones. The most frequent objects are those from the Third Intermediate period (1069-747), Late period (747-332), and Ptolemaic period (332-30), with a smaller number of objects from the New Kingdom (1552-1069) and Middle Kingdom (2055-1650).


Departments, Egyptian collection.


Permanent exhibition of the Greek and Roman collection


Prehistoric collection

Greek vases

This unique collection of Greek vases is composed out of two private collections purchased in 19th and 20th c. It consists of ca. 1500 vessels of different forms and styles from the 8th to the 3rd c. BCE. The most frequent are the Southern Italian red-figure vases, but there are also some interesting examples of vases of the Geometric, Orientalizzante, and black-figure style.



Prehistoric collection

Greek colonization of the eastern Adriatic

The most important monuments are public inscriptions, unique sources for Greek colonization of Croatian coast, especially those from Hvar (Pharos, modern Stari Grad), Vis (Issa, modern Vis), and Korčula (modern Lumbarda).



Prehistoric collection

Roman military equipment

The AMZ keeps an important collection of Roman military equipment and weaponry. These objects are displayed in a chronological order, from the Late Republic and Roman conquest to the Late Antiquity and the fall of the Empire. Various types of Roman weaponry and protective equipment are on display, together with elements of military dress and several epigraphic monuments with military themes.


Prehistoric collection


The process of Roman spatial organization - the first urbanization of this region - is presented through the example of Roman cities, settlements and a villa (archaeological sites from northern Croatia), while the characteristics of Roman architecture and building equipment are presented by examples of architectural and ornamental elements from these sites. Roman roads, as an important element of Roman urbanization, are also presented, together with segments of a cart kept in the Museum.


Prehistoric collection

Everyday life

Owing to numerous excavations carried out since as early as the 19th century, as well as to donations and purchases, the Greek and Roman Collection contains an exceptionally rich collection of Roman utilitarian objects that cover almost all aspects of everyday life during that period. Visitors can see the elements of costume, from jewellery to utilitarian items, household objects, especially vessels made of glass, as well as metal and ceramic ones; craftsmen's products and tools; objects used in games and entertainment. Certain assemblages at the same time introduce the visitors to the Roman medicine and pharmacy, to various branches of production and crafts, as well as to Roman trade.


Prehistoric collection

Roman religion and art

The finds of religious and artistic character are among the most attractive and valuable material kept at the rich holdings of the Greek and Roman collection. Religion(s) was/were an everlasting source of inspiration for ancient peoples in their artistic expression, which is clearly presented to the visitors in this section of the permanent exhibition. Beside the objects of exclusively sacral and votive character, the collection also comprises profane artistic works, especially the portraits of public and historical persons. Among them the most important ones are the portraits of rulers and members of the imperial family, such as the world-famous portrait of princess Plautilla, the famous “Girl from Solin”. The collection is interesting both for its diversity and the provenance of the finds, which do not only come from Croatia but also from neighbouring countries and the entire Mediterranean region. The opening of the new permanent exhibition will make it fully accessible to the visitors, after more than four decades.


Departments, Greek and Roman collection.


Permanent display of numizmatic collection

numizmatikaThe numismatic collection of the AMZ is the largest and most important collection of this type in Croatia. It is also among the largest collections of this type in Europe. Although metal coinage predominates, other materials are also represented in the collection.

The collection was for the first time displayed in 1978 (J. Ladović), and the new exhibition was opened in 1999 (M. Beusan). In 2009 it was somewhat enlarged.

Several hoards from various periods are on display: Mazin (Italic and African coinage), Pitomača (Roman Imperial coinage), as well as several hoards consisting of coins from later periods.

The central part of the permanent display is represented by chronologically and geographically arranged coins: Greek coinage (from the Lydian to Imperial), Roman Republican and Imperial coinage, Byzantine, mediaeval and later coinage, as well as some medals. The permanent display represents a review of the most important coins kept in the AMZ. Various types of Celtic coinage minted on the territory later occupied by modern Croatia, as well as Greek-Illyrian coins from the Central Dalmatian mints, are especially important.


Departments, Numismatic collection.