Project presentation

Monumentalized Early Iron Age Landscapes in the Danube river basin

Acronym: Iron-Age-Danube

Archaeological museum in Zagreb
28th February 2017


Project Iron-Age-Danube was presented to the general public in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb on Tuesday, 28th February 2017.

The project focuses on the Early Iron Age (8th-4th century BCE) cultural landscapes recognizable by the fortified settlements on the hill tops as well as tumulus cemeteries. Although impressive, mentioned landscapes have not so far been incorporated into the regional cultural tourism.

Project is a part of the Transnational co-operation Danube 2014.-2020. programme. Total budget of the project is 2.552.000,00 euro, with 85% (2.169.000,00 eura) being financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union.

The project gathers ten project partners and nine associated partners from five countries: Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Croatia and Slovakia. Lead partner of the Iron-Age-Danube project is Universalmuseum Joanneum in Graz. Activities of the partners connected to the cultural heritage protection and the development of the cultural tourism are complementary and create an international network of experts.

The main project innovation lies in a methodological shift from an individual approach to a more partner-based research of the prehistorical landscapes. Planed objectives od the project will be tested and implemented in nine micro-regions (Großklein (AT), Strettweg (AT), Jalžabet (CRO), Kaptol (CRO), Poštela (SI), Dolenjske Toplice (SI), Százhalombatta (HU), Süttő (HU) i Sopron (HU)) in five different partner countries.

Project partners from Croatia are the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, with its associated partner Center for Prehistoric Research, and the Institute for Archaeology, with its associated partners Ministry of Culture of Republic of Croatia and Varaždin County Tourist Board.


All the guests were warmly welcomed by the director of the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, Mr. Sanjin Mihelić. Mr. Mihelić emphasized the importance of the Iron-Age-Danube project for the present and the future of the cultural heritage in Croatia, especially from the prehistoric, Iron Age, period. The director mentioned that this is the beginning of a long and demanding process, but expressed his confidence that the final results of the project will surpass all the expectations.

Dr. Marko Dizdar, the director of the Institute for Archaeology, stated that objectives of this project are a vital part of the long term strategic plans of the Institute. In the first place, he accentuated active participation in the formation of  cultural heritage preservation and presentation politics which will eventually lead to a more prominent position of archaeology in the society.


On the behalf of  the Minister of Culture of Croatia, dr. sc. Nina Obuljen Koržinek, State Secretary Mr. Krešimir Partl has witnessed the ceremony. He stated that the Ministry of Culture not only supports the project, but also acts as an associated partner of the project. He emphasized that the project opens a possibility to step away from a usual way of dealing with our archaeological heritage.
"For a long span of years Ministry of Culture has supported and led various projects connected to the research, preservation and presentation of the cultural heritage. Here, I would like to mention Vukovar-Vučedol-Ilok project which resulted in the opening of the Museum of Vučedol Culture. Soon, Archaeological park financed by the European Union will be added to the Museum of Vučedol Culture.“

"Also, through the Directorate for Protection of the Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture has been financially supporting research, projects and conservation of the archaeological sites. Sites of Jalžabet and Kaptol have also received support from the Ministry of Culture as a part of this project.", Mr. Krešimir Partl stated.

State secretary Mr. Krešimir Partl pointed out that financial support is only one of the several Ministry's ways of preserving cultural heritage, while other activities, such as legal protection of the archaeological sites, protection through spatial documentation or systematic care of the cultural heritage officers, remain less visible.

"Final objectives are not only scientific research and presentation in its typical form. Now, we have a chance to learn how to use modern technology for the presentation of archaeological sites, link the sites with similar cultural heritage in the near vicinity using tourism and apply the principle of sustainability on archaeological heritage.", was mentioned by the state secretary Mr. Partl.

Mr. sc. Veljko Mihalić from the City Office for Education, Culture and Sport pointed out that contemporary role of the Museum exceeds function of the caretaker of cultural heritage.  In the social development of the community, museum is becoming a place of education and entertainment,  and developing into, for cultural tourism, indispensable economic power and tourist product of the future.

Museum advisor of the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb dr. Jacqueline Balen, leader of the Museum's project team, pointed out that the project will develop new strategies: strategy for the protection of archaeological landscapes and strategy of tourist promotion (methodological tools for protection, presentation and promotion of the mentioned archaeological sites).

"The main objective of the project is popularization of archaeology within the general public, especially children. Thus, development of the new programmes for children, popular programmes for visitors, research associates and students is planned. Programmes will present and popularize Early Iron Age period and archaeological science, as well as methodological tools for research and protection of prehistorical landscapes.", stated dr. Balen.

During the implementation of the project activities, focus of the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb and Centre for Prehistoric Research will be directed towards area of Požega Valley where, due to its geographic particularities, cultural landscapes from different time periods remain preserved until today.



Project team leader of the Institute for Archaeology dr. Saša kovačeviće noted that the activities of the Institute should be observed as several layers. First layer he named "applied sciences" which includes both smaller, specialized archaeological research (Kalnik) and larger projects in the sense of excellence and more developed methodology (Virovitica, Donji Miholjac). Second layer can be named "available science" and represents rich publishing activity of the Institute since its establishment until today. Third layer is called "science for all" and includes different means of popularization such as workshops or lectures.

Dr. Kovačević presented the site Jalžabet dominated by tumulus Gomila, largest tumulus in the Central Europe. The tumulus will be the central site for all the Institute's project activities.

Sustainability of the project results will be accomplished through the four planned programmes of the revitalization of already existing infrastructure as well as small scale investments. Such an approach will provide interested public with new and innovative ways of experiencing cultural landscapes.

Results of the project will be presented on the international scientific conference which will be held in May 2019 in Zagreb. The conference, whose main topic will be relationship between archaeology and tourism, will the organized by the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb. The conference was shortly announced by the director of the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, Mr. Sanjin Mihelić.

The announcement was followed by the lecture of dr. Saša Kovačević on Early Iron Age under the title: „Archaeology of blood, iron and salt? Everyday life, material culture and spiritual life in the Early Iron Age central Croatia and Europe“. 

It is worth noting that the presentation was attended by different stakeholder of the project from Požega-Slavonia county, Varaždin county and City of Zagreb: parliament member g. Anđelko Stričak, Ms. mag. Susanne Ranetzky, director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Zagreb, Ms. Vesna Vlasić, head in the Požega-Slavonia county, mr. sc. Zoran Wiewegh, head of the Department for Archaeology of the Ministry of Culture,  Mr. Mirko Magić, chief of Jalžabeta, Mr. Josip Soudek , deputy chief of municipality Kaptol, Ms. Spomenka Vlahović, director of the Varaždinske Toplice Local History Museum, Ms. Elizabeta Dolenec, director of the Varaždin County Tourist Board, Ms. Lana Husnjak, director of the Varaždinske Toplice Tourist Board, Mr. Miran Bojanic Morandini, director of the Varaždin City Museum, Ms. Lovorka Štimac Dedić, head of the Department of Archaeology of the Varaždin City Museum, and Ms. Željka Balun from the Zagreb Tourist Board.

Workshops for children "Dress the warrior from the Hallstatt period" and "Reconstruction of the ceramic vessel found in tumulus" have been held as a part of the official project presentations. The workshops have been attended by the students from the high-school of Josip Slavenski in Čakovec.

At the end of the official part of the program, the guests have been invited for a tasting of wine produced in Požega valley where the site of Kaptol is placed. Curator of the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, Ivan Drnić has shown the guests through the Early Iron Age collection of Archaeological Museum in Zagreb.

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