The Archaeological Collection consists of artefacts dating back to the period from prehistoric to modern times, acquired through donations and purchases or through systematic rescue archaeological research, reconnaissance and archaeological field trips. Highlights of the Collection include hundreds of archaeological finds from the bed of the River Cetina. These are bronze and iron artefacts dating from Prehistory, Antiquity, the Middle Ages and modern times.
Stone hand wedges found in the bed of the River Cetina at Han and Rumin date back to the Old Stone Age, or the Palaeolithic. The Upper Palaeolithic and the Mesolithic are represented by archaeological materials from the sites of Okruglo at Radošić and Glavičica in the Sinjsko Polje Valley alongside the River Cetina near Trilj.
The Archaeological Collection also preserves valuable artefacts from the Neolithic (mould-axes and wedge-shaped axes, pottery vessels, bone hoes, awls, numerous flint artefacts) which have so far been found at several archaeological sites in the Cetina area: Gospodska Cave at the source of the River Cetina, Tamnica Cave at Rumin, Šibenica hill at Glavice, the bed of the River Cetina near Trilj, Bilokapića hillfort at Udovičići and Poljanice at Bisko.
The Eneolithic finds mainly comprise copper axes of various types and a number of stone axe hammers. The period covering the end of the Eneolithic and the Early Bronze Age is represented by precious archaeological material discovered at Bajagić, Vedrine and Obrovac (pottery vessels, bronze tools and weapons) and ascribed to the Cetina Culture, which develops at the end of the Eneolithic, around 2300 BC, and continues through the Early Bronze Age, to around 1600 BC. Pottery vessels belonging to the Cetina Culture mostly include hemispherical bowls and smaller jugs incised with lines, from simple straight and zigzag lines to more complex designs of stripes and geometric shapes, which are usually worked using either rounded or triangular edge and decorated with white encrustation. Triangular daggers, axes and one-cutting-edge knives represent significant examples of bronze weapons and tools. Valuable pieces of jewellery include gold and bronze spiral pendants and charms as well as calcite beads. The Late Bronze Age is represented by bronze weapons and tools, pottery vessels and jewellery. The Collection also preserves a large number of pottery fragments as well as valuable copper, bronze and iron artefacts found on hillforts throughout the Cetinska Krajina Region. The prominent place in the Collection is occupied by the Iron Age finds discovered in the bed of the River Cetina near Trilj and at the archaeological sites of Gacko in Gala, Dugiš in Otok, Vratnice, the confluence of the Rivers Ruda and Cetina, and these include numerous pottery vessels, weights, bronze sickles, spears, swords, daggers, knives, Greek-Illyrian helmets, body armours and various items of bronze jewellery (needles, fibulae, pendants and charms, bracelets, buttons, rings, necklaces). Celtic finds from the bed of the River Cetina, which include iron tools of different types and individual pieces of jewellery, also represent significant finds.
GREEK-ILLYRIAN HELMET, Cetina riverbed near Trilj, Iron Age
The Archaeological Collection also preserves a large number of artefacts dating back to the Antiquity period. Among these, the prominent place is occupied by the finds from Čitluk, the 1st-century Roman town of Aequum (Colonia Claudia Aequum), and those discovered at Gardun (Tilurium). Portable objects found at Čitluk, among which feature prominently the sculptures of the Roman goddesses Fortuna (the 2nd century) and Roma (the 3rd century) have witnessed the quality of life in this Roman settlement situated in the hinterland of the capital of Salona.
STATUE OF THE ROMAN GODDESS FORTUNA, Čitluk, 2nd cent.
The finds from Čitluk also include numerous architectural fragments (part of the cornice of an entablature, the 2nd century), decorative sculpture, stelae, votive altars, metal, glass (balsamaria, small bowls, bottles, pendants and charms, beads, gems), and pottery finds (vessels, lamps, amphorae, roof tiles or tegulae, water pipes) as well as coins
STATUE OF THE ROMAN GODDESS ROMA, Čitluk, 3rd cent.
The notable archaeological site of Gardun near Trilj, the site of the 1st-century Roman military camp of Tilurium, is rich in finds, which include stelae (stela of the soldier Lucius Mummius with military decorations, the 1st century), fragments of inscriptions and sculptures (fragment of the relief of a tropaeum, the 1st century), architectural elements (bull protome – decorative console, the 1st century), Roman tools and weapons made of iron, coins, fragments of ceramic ware and glassware and various types of jewellery (bronze fibulae, cosmetic set). Notable finds dating back to the Antiquity period include pieces of Roman military equipment: bolts, bone reinforcements of a composite bow, spears, decorative fittings of a sword scabbard, belt buckles, aucissa-type fibulae, horse harness pendants, trulla bronze casserole dating from the 2nd century and found at Gardun, and a remarkable pugio military dagger with a sheath dating from the end of the 1st century BC and found in the bed of the River Cetina near Trilj.
ROMAN MILITARY DAGGER, Cetina riverbed near Trilj, 1st cent. BC
Among the most striking stone monuments are lids of ancient Dalmatian cinerary urns, roof-like ossuaries characterised by certain architectural, decorative and symbolic elements, dating from the 1st century and found at the site of Balečki Bridge in Vinalić.
ANCIENT BURIAL URN, unknown provenance, 1st-2nd cent.
Valuable monuments include the 1st-century stelae from Ruduša at Sinj, which stand out due to the inscribed Illyrian names and specific ornamental motifs. The Collection preserves a number of accidental finds from Dicmo, such as parts of decorative architectural elements, votive inscriptions, votive altars and bronze coins. Among these feature prominently the votive altar dedicated to the goddess Diana (the turn of the 1st and the 2nd centuries) and the stela of Nevia Placidia (the turn of the 2nd and the 3rd centuries).
Two marble heads stand out for their dressing quality – the head of a goddess crowned with a diadem, dating from the 1st century and found at Čitluk, and the head of Roman Empress Herennia Etruscilla, dating from the 3rd century and found at Sinj. Late Antique finds (jewellery, vessels, lamps) discovered at Sinj, Brnaze, Otok, Bisko, Trilj, Grab, Gala, Potravlje, Otišić and Koljane also represent significant artefacts. Of particular significance is a tablet, pluteus, part of an altar partition from Gala, dating back to the 6th century, with the prominent central motif in the form of a cross. One of the most notable finds is an iron strap helmet (Spangenhelm) of the Baldenheim type, dating from the 6th century and discovered at the Kula site in Sinj.
The Early Middle Ages is represented by numerous artefacts (battleaxes, iron spears, swords, knives, spurs, iron tools, pottery vessels) from the graves discovered at Bajagić, Jasensko, Lučane and Jabuka. The Early Middle Ages finds also include artefacts found in the bed of the River Cetina (iron tools and weapons).
The High Middle Ages is represented by a number of grave goods preserved in the Collection, notably bronze jewellery (rings and earrings from Gala, Glavice, Gardun, Bisko, Trilj) and various examples of weaponry (iron swords, spurs, spears, bows and arrows).
The Cetinska Krajina Region has a relatively large number of stećci cemeteries and abounds in the remains of medieval forts, such as Dinarić (nowadays Glavaš) at the foot of the Dinara mountain, Prozor fortress at Vrlika, Travnik at Potravlje, Old Town at Sinj, Čačvina and Nutjak forts. At these forts were discovered valuable archaeological finds, for instance, a ridged stećak tombstone from Strizrep, iron two-handed sword from the bed of the River Cetina near Trilj, iron arrowheads, spurs, Late Medieval battleaxes, jewellery (rings and earrings). Modern times are represented by fine examples of weaponry (sabres, axes) from the bed of the River Cetina near Trilj and Otok as well as numerous finds discovered at the Old Town fortress in Sinj, where the Museum has carried out archaeological fieldwork (fragments of polychromatic and monochromatic glazed ware, fragments of ceramic kitchenware, coins, iron and stone cannon balls, clay pipes, glass fragments, iron arrowheads, fragments of stone sculpture).
The Archaeological Collection has been continually enriched following archaeological fieldwork, reconnaissance, purchases and donations of a number of valuable archaeological artefacts.