Grave goods from Sveta Lucija (Slovenia) in Groningen (the Netherlands). Contextualising old study collections




Carlo Marchesetti, Josef Szombathy, Matthäus and Rudolph Much, Albert Egges van Giffen, old study collections, Most na Soči or Sveta Lucija, Slovenia, centralisation, legacy data, Este, Hallstatt, Veneti, Venetia et Histria, Celtic groups, Carni, frontier settlement, situla art, Venetic alphabet, exchange network


This paper discusses six tombs from Sveta Lucija (Slovenia) that were bought in 1923 from Prof. Rudolf Much (Vienna) by Prof. Albert Egges van Giffen (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) for the collection of what is now the Groningen Institute of Archaeology. These tombs, excavated in 1890, form part of one of the largest Hallstatt cemeteries known archaeologically, consisting of thousands of tombs. Walking 40 km north from Sveta Lucija, one can reach the Triglav, at 2864 m the highest mountain of the Julian Alps. The site itself is located in a valley, in a strategic location at the confluence of two rivers emerging in these Alps. During the Iron Age, Sveta Lucija functioned as a transitional site between Italy, the Balkans and Austria. This frontier character is reflected in its entire history, starting in the 8th century BC, when it emerged as a settlement centre. The article provides a biography of old study collections since c. 1850 and discusses the role of some influential archaeologists in the history of the excavations at Sveta Lucija since the 1880s. The article then contextualizes the artefacts held at Groningen, concentrating on the 7th to early 5th century BC. The numerous excavations in the burial grounds and settlement for more than a century, make Sveta Lucija one of the more thoroughly investigated European Iron Age settlement centres with a couple of hundred inhabitants. Finally, the article introduces the still-enigmatic development of the site from an Iron Age centre to a Roman village, addressing the decline of its archaeological visibility during the intervening centuries and its correlation with Celtic groups.

Author Biography

Albert J. Nijboer

Groningen Institute of Archaeology, University of Groningen.