Mittwoch, 04. Oktober 2017, 17:30

The largest prehistoric hoard between the Po and Danube Rivers

Presentation of the Mušja jama / Fliegenhöhle hoard publication

Peter Turk (National Museum of Slovenia, Ljubljana)

The Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age hoard of Mušja jama / Fliegenhöhle was recently thoroughly published in the monograph series Cataloghi et Monographiae of the National Museum of Slovenia. The main authors, Biba Teržan, Elisabetta Borgna and Peter Turk, as well as additional 11 co-authors analyse several aspects of this exceptional hoard, its site characteristics, history of research as well as chemical composition, analogies and chronological setting of its objects.

Mušja jama / Fliegenhöhle is the largest prehistoric hoard in Slovenia. It was excavated during extensive research, executed in 1910 and 1911 by the curator Joseph Szombathy for the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna. The hoard was situated at the bottom of an over 50 m deep abyss in the immediate vicinity of several important contemporaneous sites within the Škocjan / St. Kanzian Karstic area at the entrance of the Reka River to the underground.

The site circumstances imply undoubtedly the irreversible offerings of the objects to the underworld. This notion is reinforced by the fact that the majority of the objects were fragmented and partly exposed to fire (melted) before being thrown to the abyss. Among them weapons highly prevail, with spears being the most numerous (over 240 examples), followed by axes, helmets and swords. The exceptional longevity of the offering activities between 13th and the 8th centuries BC is confirmed for several categories of objects. They attest long distance provenance from the northern- and easternmost areas of the Carpathian basin, from the western Balkans, from central and northern Italy, as well as – in some cases – from the Aegean and from Western Europe. Possible reasons for these long lasting offering activities are discussed extensively. The explanation of offerings of the conquered spolia of the defeated enemies to the underworld is given as the most probable in the conclusions of the volume.