This afternoon I arrived at the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, Croatia, tired (no-one likes waking up at 4am) and hungry but full of anticipation. As my second visit to this beautiful city, the aim of this trip is pure and simple; data, data and yes, you guessed it, more data.
The Archaeological Museum here in Zagreb houses an assortment of different archaeological material, from prehistoric to post-medieval. The group of artefacts that I am here to analyse are Bronze Age funerary urns from the necropolis site of Surčin, situated in modern day Serbia. These mortuary vessels of Belegiš type date from Middle to Late Bronze Age and are quite distinctive in shape and decoration.
I began analysing the Surčin assemblage in May, the whole time thinking in terms of craftspeople, specialisation and how the concept of creativity fitted into this. What became apparent throughout the preliminary analysis was that these urns symbolised much more than craft and technology. They symbolised a way of life for the people who lived and died during the Bronze Age. Each urn was different and yet similar. In essence, each urn had a unique personality. So what does this tell us about Bronze Age attitudes to ethnicity, identity and personhood in this part of the world?
During the next week here in Zagreb, I will attempt to finish analysis on the Surčin assemblage, and will carefully document each of the remaining vessels in accordance to my methodology. What is so great about the assemblage held in this museum is that looking at these funerary vessels side by side really fires up the archaeological imagination. This allows for dynamic, thought provoking and above all, captivating interpretations….Watch this space!