Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Portable archaeological heritage, archaeological and archaeometric research

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.02.00  Humanities  Archaeology   
1.02.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Physics   
1.04.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Chemistry   

Code Science Field
H340  Humanities  Archaeology 
archaeology; portable antiquities; small finds; archaeometry; numismatics; Roman military equipment; military equipment of the early Medieval period; Celtic coins; late Bronze Age; hoards; copper and copper alloys; PIXE; ED-XRF; ICP AES; metallographic analysis; conservation;
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (11)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  24902  Helena Bras Kernel    Technical associate  2005 - 2008  14 
2.  06253  PhD Janka Istenič  Archaeology  Head  2004 - 2008  224 
3.  21349  PhD Špela Karo  Archaeology  Junior researcher  2004 - 2007  151 
4.  02595  PhD Timotej Knific  Archaeology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  415 
5.  04034  PhD Peter Kos  Archaeology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  314 
6.  29628  PhD Boštjan Laharnar  Archaeology  Junior researcher  2008  196 
7.  17602  Sonja Perovšek    Researcher  2004  43 
8.  18133  PhD Veronika Pflaum  Archaeology  Researcher  2004  67 
9.  07716  PhD Žiga Šmit  Physics  Researcher  2004 - 2008  468 
10.  03750  PhD Neva Trampuž Orel  Archaeology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  97 
11.  10760  PhD Peter Turk  Archaeology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  319 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  89,990 
2.  0206  Institute of Metals and Technology  Ljubljana  5051622000  5,935 
3.  0613  National museum of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5055482000  2,648 
4.  1554  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics  Ljubljana  1627007  33,797 
The research program unites different researches in the archaeological heritage, including an interdisciplinary archeometric approach. The main focus of research encompasses prehistoric metals, mining, and technology, Celtic coinage, Roman military equipment, Roman period pottery (primarily from Emona and Poetovio), as well as the early medieval finds from Gradišče nad Bašelj. The main analytical techniques involved are ICP AES, EDXRF, and PIXE.
Significance for science
Archaeometallurgical issues are complex and extend beyond the borders of Slovenia. The response of international experts to our research demonstrates that by focusing systematic research on the problem of impurities, we are successfully joining the international trend in seeking sources of ore (Sperber, L.: Zur Bedeutung des nördlichen Alpenraumes für die spätbronzezeitliche Kupferversorgung in Mitteleuropa. In: Goldenberg, G. Weisgerber (Eds.), Alpenkupfer – Rame delle Alpi, Der Anschnitt, Beiheft 17, Bochum 2004, 303-345, op.106-8, 133, 175). Our research on the beginnings of the use of brass confirm that it was the Romans who introduced the use of brass to western and central Europe, and indicate that the use of brass on a regular basis in Roman Europe should be dated to about 60 BC, which is approximately 40 years earlier than generally accepted. Brass was initially used for military equipment, which included brooches. Slightly later, in c. 45 BC, brass was also used for two coin issues, which were considered to be the earliest Roman brass objects prior to our research. The results described are highly important for the archaeometric research on the late prehistoric and Roman period. The importance of research and publication of the remains of a Roman military encounter with the pre-Roman population in c. 40/30 BC derives from the fact that late Republican (as well as early Augustan) contexts with Roman military equipment are exceptionally rare. Our paper on the finds from Grad near Reka (ISTENIČ, J., Evidence for a very late Republican siege at Grad near Reka in Western Slovenia. Carnuntum Jahrb. (Wien), 2005, 77-87 [COBISS.SI-ID 5396576]) is quoted in the second edition of the widely read book Bishop, M. C./Coulston, J. C. N., ‘Roman Military Equipment’, Oxford 2006, 294. The research on the Roman military equipment from the River Ljubljanica has revealed its great significance for studying Roman military finds in general, as it includes very well preserved objects of outstanding quality, among which are several that are the only known examples of their kind. As such they are invaluable in the context of European and world archaeological heritage. This can be illustrated by the case of the unique sword and its scabbard that, soon after they were published (ISTENIČ, Janka. A late-republican gladius from the River Ljubljanica (Slovenia). J. Roman mil. equip. stud., 2000, vol. 11, pp. 1-9 [COBISS.SI-ID 16910119]), were included in the 2nd edition of the basic reference book on Roman military equipment (Bishop/Coulston 2006, 81-82, fig. 41:1, 124, 194). Our in-depth research on pre-Roman coin hoards and Venetic coin inscriptions has shown that the Celtic tribes of Tavrisci and Norici started to mint coins about a century earlier than had been generally accepted. This is very important for the dating of the contexts in which these coins appear. Studies of finds from Gradišče nad Bašljem and contemporary sites in Slovenia give the opportunity to identify archaeological material from the Carolingian period (end of the 8th to the beginning of the 10th century). In our opinion, the research programme has produced results which are an important contribution to the development of various research fields, especially in archaeometry and an interdisciplinary approach to the study of portable antiquities, as well as in aiming towards intensive and mutual links between the research and conservation of portable archaeological heritage.
Significance for the country
In economic terms, the greatest effect of the research programme was on tourism - for example through the inclusion of results in permanent exhibitions (ISTENIČ, J. et al., Treasures from the archaeological collections of the National Museum of Slovenia: exhibition in the National Museumof Slovenia. Ljubljana, June 2004-. [COBISS.SI-ID 6757472]; HORVAT, Jasna, JERŠEK, Miha, KNIFIC, Timotej, KOS, Mateja, NABERGOJ, Tomaž, ŽVANUT, Maja. Stalna razstava o zgodovini Blejskega kota. Bled, april 2008-. [COBISS.SI-ID 7185760]; KNIFIC, Timotej, ŠAŠEL KOS, Marjeta, BITENC, Polona, PFLAUM, Miran, HRIBAR, Roman, ŠTERK, Samo. Kamni govorijo : stalna razstava na sevniškem gradu, maj 2008-. Sevnica, maj 2008. [COBISS.SI-ID 7185504]) and temporary exhibitions (ISTENIČ, J., NESTOROVIĆ, A., Images of the world engraved in jewels: Roman gems from Slovenia: National Museum of Slovenia, Ljubljana, 13. 12. 2005-26. 3. 2006, Celje Regional Museum, 13. 4.-18. 6. 2006, Ptuj Regional Museum, 23. 6.-27. 8. 2006. 2005-2006. [COBISS.SI-ID 6758240] ) in the main building of the National Museum of Slovenia at Ljubljana, at Bled Castle, and at Sevnica. These results are also included in publications connected to the exhibitions (ISTENIČ, J. et al., Stopinje v preteklost : zakladi iz arheoloških zbirk Narodnega muzeja Slovenije. Ljubljana: Narodni muzej Slovenije, 2006. 136 str., ilustr. ISBN 961-6169-45-9. ISBN 978-961-6169-45-5. [COBISS.SI-ID 229141248]; ISTENIČ, J. et al., Steps into the past: treasures from the archaeological collections of the National Museum of Slovenia. Ljubljana: Narodni muzej Slovenije, 2006. 136 pp., illustr. ISBN 961-6169-48-3. ISBN 978-961-6169-48-6. [COBISS.SI-ID 230552320]). We included the results of our research in publications regarding the cultural heritage of present-day Slovenia (DULAR, A. et al., Dragocenosti Narodnega muzeja = Treasures of the National Museum of Slovenia. Ljubljana: Narodni muzej Slovenije, 2007. 179 str., ilustr. ISBN 978-961-6169-55-4. [COBISS.SI-ID 236609280] and documentary films (KNIFIC, T., NABERGOJ, T., ŽVANUT, M., Blejski grad/Bled Castle/Il castello di Bled/ Die Bleder Burg. Ljubljana: Narodni muzej; Bled: Infrastruktura d.o.o., 2004. DVD-ROM, 5.04 min. [COBISS.SI-ID 4705376]; BAVEC, M., KNIFIC, T., Bohinjski ledenik/ The Bohinj Glacier/ Il ghiacciaio di Bohinj/ Der Bohinjer Gletscher.. Ljubljana: Narodni muzej; Bled: Infrastruktura d.o.o., 2004. 6.04 min. [COBISS.SI-ID 1142357]; KNIFIC, T., KOSTEVC, B., Ajdovski gradec : dokumentarni film. Sevnica: Zavod za kulturo, šport, turizem in mladinske dejavnosti, 2007. 1 video DVD, 18 min. [COBISS.SI-ID 6621536]; KNIFIC, T., Starodavni Bled/ Ancient Bled/ Bled nell’Antichita/ Das altertümliche Bled. Ljubljana: Narodni muzej; Bled: Infrastruktura d.o.o., 2008, DVD-ROM, 8.02 min. [COBISS.SI-ID 6760544]). We also took part in numerous television and radio broadcasts, and lectured on our work to professional and general audiences. In this way, we increase public awareness of the outstanding features of the archaeological heritage of Slovenia (a region with an important geostrategic location), as well as the need for its preservation. The conduct of the research programme also has a substantial impact on the successful conservation of archaeological objects. We contributed to the promotion of Slovenia in the field of research by publishing research results in English and other international languages in monographs and internationally recognised journals, with contributions to conferences and collaborating on international projects. The topics and results of the research programme were included in five courses at three Slovene universities, indicating their influence on the education of young specialists in the fields of archaeology, cultural heritage and cultural heritage preservation.
Most important scientific results Final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Final report, complete report on dLib.si
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