Archaeological Department

The origins of the Museum’s Archaeology Department date from the late 19th century when the exhibits for the future city museum were collected. The first targeted collection of archaeological exhibits is thus linked with Rijeka Mayor Ernesto de Verneda.
The holdings of Museo Civico encompassed a significant share of the numismatic collection, the ancient history collection and the stone monument collection. In 1941, 317 archaeological exhibits significant for local archaeology were transported to Italy (Codroipo, Villa Manin, Provincia di Udine).1 A smaller section of the holdings of the present-day Archaeology Department is constituted by the holdings of the Sušak City Museum.
The establishment of the Archaeology Collection, first under the Cultural History Department of the People’s Museum, and later as a part of the History Department of what was already the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral, resulted in the foundation of the Archaeology Department in 1962. The department is divided into the Prehistory, Ancient History, Medieval History and Numismatic Collections.
Although not the largest, the Archaeology Department today contains valuable archaeological exhibits which have been collected by way of acquisitions, donations, hydroarchaeological research, and, as of recently, in particular archaeological excavations and research.
Based on the audit conducted in 2001, the Department’s collections contain 6627 exhibits.
The Archaeology Department does not have a permanent display. The first archaeological display was realized within Museo Civico in Villa Margherita in the mid-1930’s.
In 1952, Radmila Matejčić stated: “The Museum of the Croatian Littoral does not abound in archaeological material, however, the few available items were arranged to set up a small archaeology collection. (…) As the display was prepared, an attempt was made to follow the principle of chronological display of a complex museum.”2 The display was removed in 1956.
In the early 1960’s, the Numismatic Collection was successfully exhibited. The display was nevertheless removed in the 1970’s.
Since 1964, the Department’s Collections have been presented within the framework of the permanent maritime history display. In 1992, the display was thoroughly reconstructed. On that occasion, significant modifications took place with the inclusion of the more recent archaeological finds from the Rijeka region. Parts of the archaeological material were exhibited in 1982 in the Museum Collection
of the Kastav Region.
In addition to being displayed at exhibitions held in the Museum, the collections were also exhibited within the framework of larger projects undertaken by other museums and in cooperation with them. More recently, the collections were presented at conferences organized by the Croatian Archaeological Society in Mali Lošinj in 1979, Pula in 1982, Krk in 1985, Split in 1993, Zadar in 1997 and
Rijeka in 2000.
This is a good occasion to mention the names of our predecessors whose work has made a significant contribution to the development of archaeology in this region, the formation of the later collections as well as the operations of the Department.
They were Riccardo Gigante, historian, honorary conservator and head of the Museo Civico, Ivan Sveško, director of the Sušak City Museum, Velika Dautova Ruševljan, curator of the Maritime and History Museum, and, in particular, Dr. Radmila Matejčić}, longstanding head of the Archaeology Department.
In spite of great efforts invested by individuals, we are constantly affronted with insufficient professional resources. Appreciating the research results which have been achieved by relevant institutions in the Rijeka area over the last years, in the year 2000, the Museum and the Croatian Archaeological Society have held a conference which addressed the issue of archaeology in Rijeka and the County, as well as the problems faced by the Museum’s Archaeology Department.

Skip to content