Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Social differentiation and cultural identities in the Iron Age on the territory of Slovenia

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.02.00  Humanities  Archaeology   

Code Science Field
H340  Humanities  Archaeology 

Code Science Field
6.01  Humanities  History and Archaeology 
Social differentiation, cultural identities, Iron Age, Situlae Art, Slovenia
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (10)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  09029  Mateja Belak  Archaeology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  189 
2.  02065  PhD Dragan Božič  Archaeology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  339 
3.  29357  PhD Vojka Cestnik  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  34 
4.  05834  PhD Janez Dular  Archaeology  Head  2011 - 2014  215 
5.  18812  Lucija Lavrenčič    Technical associate  2011 - 2014 
6.  15300  PhD Primož Pavlin  Archaeology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  118 
7.  24055  Vesna Svetličič Turk  Archaeology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  43 
8.  06917  PhD Snežana Tecco Hvala  Archaeology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  95 
9.  05829  PhD Ljubinka Teržan  Archaeology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  469 
10.  10760  PhD Peter Turk  Archaeology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  314 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  95,317 
2.  0613  National museum of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5055482000  3,286 
3.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  61,827 
O Starting-points: As is indicated by archaeological evidence, the territory of present-day Slovenia was not culturally homogenous in prehistoric times. In the Iron Age several territorial communities had been formed. They were distinguished by different customs and material culture, as well as prosperity and settlement patterns. In the 1st millennium B.C. the process of social stratification can also be noticed. The differences are clearly expressed between the Early Iron Age communities in the Dolenjska region and along the Soča River. On the other side, both regions achieved one of the cultural and economic peaks in that time. The most eloquent information medium for studying social and cultural identities and specific regional characteristics are cemeteries. Concerning this, adequate field researches and a reliable and representative sample are of crucial importance for further comparative analyses. Another specific source for such kind of study is so-called Situlae Art with its iconography, which gives insight into ideology and life of the peoples, living in the Iron Age on the territory between the rivers Po and Danube. O State of research: On the basis of up to date investigations the main cultural features of both areas in the 1st millennium B.C. has already been defined as well as the chronological framework of their development. The great part of archaeological material has been published. Typology of the most indicative archaeological finds was also done. Furthermore, some case-studies of social structure of the Iron Age communities and reconstruction of costumes were made, and also of settlement patterns and processes. From this point of view the co-called Dolenjska community is better researched owing to tumuli cemeteries with the warrior burials, the outstanding women costumes and the figural representations on the Situlae Art. However, the significant part of the archaeological material has not been analysed yet. In the case of the S. Lucia community grave goods do not show clear difference between male and female costumes, because no weapons were put into the graves during the Early Iron Age. This is the reason that social structure of the S. Lucia society has not been adequately researched yet; indeed it needs additional investigation. O Objective: One of the aims is to establish computer database of the most significant Early Iron Age grave contexts for further analyses. With the basic researches, comparative analyses and with new methodological approaches we intend to profound today’s knowledge about the prehistoric communities, about social differentiation and formation of cultural identities on the territory of today’s Slovenia. O Management and organization: The project team will engage the researchers of the scientific research, education and museum institutions, whose interest is focused on the Bronze and Iron Age. These institutions assure support of project activities with their infrastructure such as expert libraries, computer and other technical facilities. O Results: The database and digital ground plans of the case-study cemeteries will be available for further researches, comparative analyses and applications. It could be upgraded with records of other archaeological sites and regions. Results will be published in scientific paper, treatises and monographs and will contribute to scientific progress. They will be applied into scholarly and education contents, and also into the museums activities. They can be used for the popularization purposes such as the promotion of the Slovenian cultural heritages etc. Indirectly, they might significantly contribute towards understanding the actual problems of regionalization of Slovenia, since the role of the Slovenian territory in inter-regional connections and integration can only be understood in terms of (pre)historical development.
Significance for science
Archaeological remains are the only available source for researching prehistoric societies. The most relevant source for the study of Iron Age social and cultural entities and identities as well as local or regional phenomena are cemeteries and grave contexts. The project includes basic research, as well as new methodological approaches and analytical tools, which are the contribution of this project to the corpus of scientific knowledge about prehistory. A computer database of grave contexts from Most na Soči, Stična and Magdalenska gora will be available, which are important Iron Age centres in the region of modern day Slovenia. This will continue to be complemented and upgraded by further research, and the results of analyses will be included in various studies. The digitized plan of the cemetery from Most na Soči with 5434 graves and the digital model of the site at Vače will be useful for further spatial studies, while the 3D model of the tumulus at Stična will allow detailed analyses of the stratigraphic relations between the burials and the reconstruction and verification of hypotheses about their sequence. A desideratum of Slovene post-war prehistoric archaeology is publishing the archaeological finds and related archival sources from Slovenian sites that are stored in foreign institutions. The rich material from excavations carried out in the 19th century at Vače is held by various museums in Ljubljana, Vienna, Graz, Berlin and Oxford. Until now, only those finds from the collection of the National Museum in Ljubljana have been published. The planned publication of archaeological and archival material from Vače kept in foreign institutions will be an important contribution to the corpus of essential sources for research related to this site and the Early Iron Age in general. Among the fundamental work that highlights the chronological and socio-cultural problems include typological and chronological analysis of specific types of artefacts and grave contexts, as well as spatial and structural analyses of cemeteries. A treatise on certain find assemblages from the sites in the Soča Valley region reveal a specific phenomenon of cult or sacred places, characteristic for the Alpine area, but unknown in the Dolenjska region. Situla Art depictions are a special type of source, which reveal and provide insight into the imagery and ideology of prehistoric people. The interpretation of individual motifs and scenes contribute to the understanding of the iconographic programme as a reflection of real events or mythical notions. The results and findings of this fundamental research contribute to a deeper understanding of the social and cultural processes in the southeastern Alpine area in the 1st millennium BC, and to the development of methodological approaches and advanced research techniques.
Significance for the country
Within the framework of the project a strong cooperation with some local communities and associations was established, i.e. Društvo GEOSS, Turistično društvo Dobrepolje, Kulturno društvo Fran Govekar, Ig, who all have shown an interest in archaeological heritage. At Vače, annual archaeological tours guided by experts have been organized around the site. In 2012 the local museum opened a permanent exhibition of the Vače archaeological heritage. Društvo GEOSS from Vače has also been awarded the Document of Gratitude by the Archaeological Society of Slovenia for its efforts in promoting cultural heritage. In 2014 the National Museum of Slovenia re-installed the prehistoric segment of the exhibition, which has a significant part dedicated to the Iron Age that is presented via representative finds and panels with explanations and illustrations on selected topics, including settlements, social hierarchy, warriors, the role of women, hoards, contacts with the Mediterranean World, iron metallurgy, and Situla Art. In addition, findings from the project were disseminated in the form of articles published in newspapers and magazines aimed at a broad spectrum of readers (Delo; Slovenske novice; Občan; Rast; Življenje in tehnika; National Geographic, Slovenija; Bilten Pošte Slovenije, etc.). Several educational lectures meant for the wider public were organized at various institutions in Slovenia. At the initiative of the municipality of Dobrepolje and the local tourist association, a book on Jernej Pečnik was written and published on the occasion of 100th anniversary of his death. Pečnik excavated at many Early Iron Age sites in the Dolenjska region, and enriched the museum collections in Ljubljana and Vienna with archaeological material. The results of project research focused on social differentiation, cultural identities and territorial communities in the first millennium BC in the region of modern day Slovenia may contribute to an understanding of contemporary problems of regionalization from a historical perspective, and may illuminate the role of this area in the wider regional network. The results of the research may also be integrated into various educational and museum programmes, as well as into promotional activity to popularize the archaeological legacy of the Slovenian territory.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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