Croatia, Archaeological Museum of Zadar

Croatia, Archaeological Museum of Zadar

The Archaeological Museum of Zadar is known worldwide for its unique exposition. On the first floor, archaeological finds dating from the 7th-12th centuries are exhibited. Most of them testify to the high spiritual and well-developed material culture of the Croats. The second floor is reserved for the exposition of the underwater archaeological department and objects of the ancient Roman period. On the third floor there is an exhibition dedicated to prehistoric archaeological materials from the Stone and Bronze Age.

The museum has several buildings, one of them, the main one, is located in Zadar itself, there are also offices on the islands of Pag and Rab. The museum’s fund is divided into sections: prehistoric, ancient, medieval, department of modern times, underwater archaeological department, restoration, library and others. In total, the Archaeological Museum of Zadar holds more than 100,000 different artifacts from all cultural and historical periods from the Paleolithic to the end of the XI century.

Initially, the museum was located on the territory of the city church of St. Donat. Gradually, the exposition grew and was supplemented with new objects. The museum’s funds were replenished in various ways: archaeological excavations were carried out, expeditions were organized, and some exhibits were donated by influential families of the time.

Museum activities include systematic archaeological research, restoration and display of archaeological material, and the organization of temporary exhibitions. The museum has its own annual scientific journal “Diadora”, to date, more than 25 volumes (more than 5000 pages) have been published – all of these are scientific works of Croatian and foreign authors.

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In the 18th century, a unique collection of ancient sculptures was assembled in Zadar by Dr. Anthony Tomasoni. The most attractive part of the collection consisted of eight statues of Roman emperors, discovered in 1768. According to the catalog, which was released in 1818, the collection of Dr. Thomasoni consisted of 300 sculptures, mostly made of stone, as well as numerous ceramics, glass vessels, coins (about 6000 pieces) and a giant library.

The collection was inherited by his descendant Pellegrini Daniel, who sold the collection. And the Archaeological Institute acquired 20 sculptural works for the Archaeological Museum in Zadar, the remaining works remained in the museums of Venice, Aquileia, Milan, Copenhagen, etc.

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