The Prehistoric Collection

The prehistoric collection of the Archaeological Museum of Istria consists of finds from the period of the Paleolithic to the last centuries BC. A large number of finds was gathered through a surface scan of the terrain, and this very often represents the only evidence of the existence of an archaeological site where other explorations were not conducted. For the most part these finds consist of pottery fragments, as well as bone or stone implements collected on the surface of numerous hillfort settlements. The discoveries made on the site of Nesactium – Vizače, located in the vicinity of Valtura, played a key role in the establishment of the museum at Pula in 1902, with its rich Iron Age urn necropolis, and fragments of prehistoric stone sculpture and reliefs.

The finds unearthed in the course of systematic excavations executed from the mid-nineties of the 20th century are of special importance for the period from the Paleolithic and Mesolithic to the Neo/Eneolithic. These explorations were carried out in the caves and semi-caves in the region of Učka and Ćićarija (Pupićina, Vela, Vešanska, Šebrn, Novačka, Jačmica ...), but also in the area of Lim Fjord, especially in Romualdova Pećina (Romuald’s Cave). The initial finds from the sites of Vižula near Medulin, and Vela Gromača near Kavran, which were obtained through protective excavations, are important for the Early Neolithic period. The collection from this period was considerably enriched by finds unearthed during the systematic explorations of sites such as Kargadur (Ližnjan) or Sv. Mihovil (Bale), as well as resulting from systematic topographic terrain surveys coupled with small-scale test excavations and several rescue excavations (Pula – Ribarska Koliba and Veli Vrh, Vrčevan, Krugi ...).

Finds from the Bronze Age that is in Istria characterized by numerous hillfort settlements – castellieri, occupy much of the prehistoric collection. Besides fragments that we collected on the surface, we executed systematic and rescue excavations of settlements such as Vrčin (Butkovići), Monkodonja (Rovinj), Sv. Petar - Tondolon (Svetvinčenat), and Gradac - Turan (Koromačno). In those times numerous caves were either permanently inhabited or else they were occasionally visited. Although resulting from limited excavations, numerous finds consisting of pottery, bone and stone implements, and other miscellaneous objects were unearthed at Trogrla (Majkusi), Cingarela (Momjan), the cave underneath the village of Srbani and, in recent times, especially on the site of Laganiši (Oprtalj). Necropolises and stone tumuli were likewise explored alongside the settlements. One of the most important Bronze Age necropolises was excavated near the Vrčin hillfort (amber and bronze jewelry), whereas in tumuli, pottery fragments were unearthed besides jewelry (Maklavun, Krmedski Novi Grad), as well as a bronze knife (Monte Valmarin).

The last millennium BC was largely documented through finds unearthed in urn necropolises. In addition to Nesactium that represents the wealthiest site, that part of the collection consists of finds from the necropolises at Picugi (Poreč), Pula, Kaštel near Buje, Limska Gradina, as well as from different, individually excavated urn graves discovered alongside hillforts, e.g., Sv. Martin (Lim Fjord), Punta Kašteja (Medulin), and the like. Of special importance for the Iron Age are fragments of stone sculptures and reliefs, figurally decorated bronze situlae, and a large array of pottery of South Italic and Greek provenance.


Maja Čuka – Senior Curator, Head of the Prehistoric Collection
Darko Komšo – Museum consultant
Dr. Sc. Romuald Zlatunić – Senior Curator


Information, consultations and questions:

Maja Čuka – Head of the Prehistoric Collection
Tel. no.: 351-305


Typo3 site by Ulisys d.o.o. , 2010.