Stone Age religions

11 March - 13 April 2020
Archaeological Museum in Zagreb

The religious way of thinking has been present for a very long time and it is one of the phenomena which separates the man from all other earthly beings. The purpose of the exhibition “Stone Age religions” is to trace its origins, namely its early manifestations of symbolics and religion. Therefore, a selection of material evidence of such behavior in the Palaeolithic or Early Stone Age, Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age, and Neolithic or Late Stone Age is presented, which together cover a vast time span of approximately 3.3 million years to six thousand years before present.

The origins of religion are separated by tens of thousands of years from the historical written sources, so the focus is on the study of the archeological and paleoanthropological findings. The amount of material relevant to this topic is truly enormous and comes from many sites. The exhibition presents a repertoire of the most important findings available to archaeologists in the study of the symbolism and spiritual life of Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic communities across Europe and the Middle East, with particular attention to the domestic, Croatian space.

The archeological findings largely include the traces of funerary rituals and rituals which can be related to figurative art. The 15 exhibition posters chronologically present themes that address the emergence of symbolism and religious understanding expressed through anthropomorphic and zoomorphic Palaeolithic and Neolithic sculpture, Palaeolithic cave art, and elaborate burial practices of both periods. The representative archaeological evidence, associated with the religious life and the ritual behavior of communities of the Stone Age, is exhibited in the display cases. For Palaeolithic period, this includes copies of the world-renowned specimens of figurative art, as well as other objects related to the development of human communities or cult practices, while the Late Stone Age is represented by the valuable finds from the Dalmatian Neolithic from the collection of the Archaeological Museum Zadar.

The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated, bilingual 96-pages long catalog. The thematic units within the catalog correspond to those on the exhibition posters, but they are more extensive and contain additional explanations.

opening of the exhibition
11 March 2020, 7 pm


Exhibition organizer: Archaeological Museum Zadar

Concept and collection by: Natalija Čondić and Ivor Karavanić