Archaeological heritage

Witness to the ancient past

Amongst important finds is the Vače situla of 5th century BC, found in central Slovenia. It is a bronze pail showing a prehistoric feast considered a masterpiece. Ancient situla culture originated in the nearby Etruscan area of Bologna and Venetian culture in Italy. In 1995 a bear cub bone Neanderthal artefact was found in Divje Babe Cave in the Idrijca river valley. Dated at 45,000 years, it is deemed to be the world's oldest flute.

The Ljubljansko barje (Ljubljana marshes) is a source of preserved objects up to 6,500 years old. In 2002 in the barje, Slovenian archaeologists found a wooden wheel between 5,100 and 5,350 years old, the oldest wooden wheel in the world ever found. There are forty prehistoric sites such as Potočka zijalka, in Slovenia. In November 2007, a small ceramic statue representing a female idol, dating back about 5500 years, was unearthed during motorway construction works in the Prekmurje region. It is the oldest human representation found in Slovenia.

Ljubljana was the site for the Roman settlement Emona (Colonia Iulia Aemona). It was erected in 14/15 AD, and in 452, was virtually destroyed by the Huns, led by Attila. Remains of Emona are; several mosaics, parts of the paleochristian bapistry, residential houses, statutes and tombstones. Sites of Roman settlement for viewing are in Ljubljana, Ajdovščina, Vrhnika, Celje, Ptuj, and Trojane. Numerous finds are shown at archaeology parks and excavation sites.

The Institute of Archaeology works on the archaeological topography of Slovenia, Roman inscriptions, and intensive research into settlements. The Institute publishes Arheoloski vestnik (Acta archaeologica), the main Slovenian archaeological journal. With many motorways projects in Slovenia, archaeologists have been assigned to protective excavations of castles and urban centres, since medieval towns were built over the remains of older ones.

Learning activities

1. Devise an archaeological sites map of Slovenia
Text-type: map, list, label
Linguistic element: proper nouns, declensions
Label the twenty places of archaeological finds on a map of Slovenia

2. Design a brochure
Text-type: brochure
Linguistic element: nouns - declensions
Design a brochure on archaeological collections of Museum Ptuj

3. Send an e-mail
Text-type: e-mail
Linguistic element: conventions letter-writing
Write to a friend about your visit to Ptuj museum and Roman exhibits

4.Conduct an interview
Text-type: interview
Linguistic element: interrogative pronouns, conjunctions
Interview of staff at the National Museum about the archaeological collections

5. Write a newspaper article
Text-type: newspaper article
Linguistic element: verbs – past tense
Write an article on the oldest wooden wheel in the world

6. Give a talk
Text-type: talk
Linguistic element: vocabulary of archaeology
Give talk “Art of the situla in Slovenia”

Comprehension - reading and writing

Read the text ‘Mithras Shrines 1 and 111 ‘ from the web site, Regional Museum of Ptuj

Answer the following questions in English.
1. When and where was the Mithras shrine found?
2. Describe the shrine.
3. How many statues exist of the Mithras with a bull on his back?
4. Where in Ptuj was the largest shine found?
5. What is on the sacrificial altars?
6. How old is the shrine?
7. Describe the original relief on the shrine.


National Museum of Slovenia
Mummy IsaHtar - National Museum of Slovenia - Project 2001
 Interactive map of Slovenia with data of ZRC SAZU
Prehistoric sites in Slovenia
Portal of Slovenian Museums
Neanderthal Flute
Divje Babe Caves – Photos

Božič, D, et. Al, Zakladi tisočletij : Zgodovina Slovencev od neandertalcev do Slovanov, Modrijan, Ljubljana, 1999
Curk, I, Rimljani na Slovenskem Državna založba Slovenije, Ljubljana, 1977
Kladnik, D, Sto muzejev na Slovenskem, Prešernova družba, Ljubljana, 1998
Marolt, J, Slovenci skozi čas, Mihelač, Ljubljana, 1999
Sluga,M, et. Al, Zgodovina Slovencev, Cankarjeva Založba, Ljubljana, 1979
Šavli, J. Veneti, First Builders of European Community, A. Škerbinc, Canada, 1996
Tomažič, I, Etruščani in Veneti, I. Tomažic, Wien, 1995

Links updated: 1 Dec 2012

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