The mysterious paths of Negau type helmets
The joint project: The mysterious paths of Negau type helmets – Princes of Hallstatt between Kamnik and Novo mesto includes an exhibition and a catalog. We are participating in it the Medobčinski muzej Kamnik, Narodni muzej Slovenije and Dolenjski muzej Novo mesto. The curators archeologists have joined forces: Janja Železnikar, from MMK, Matic Zupan and Dr. Boštjan Laharnar from NMS and Dr. Borut Križ and Petra Stipančić from DMNM.
In our collections, we found three extraordinary objects from the Iron Age, three bronze helmets, which offered us special stories. As detectives, we set about researching their not-so-distant past. The first one, found in 1928 on Vrhpolje near Kamnik, is located in the Muzej 25. Maj in Belgrade, which operates as part of the Museum of Yugoslavia. Its first copy is in the National Museum of Slovenia, and from 2020 the Kamnik Museum also has its own copy. The second helmet is from Kopa nad Kompoljami (Lukovica municipality). For many years it stirred spirits and troubled researchers, who wondered why it had two holes. What was it for, how and why were they created? Thorough research of sources, various data and careful dissection of the words led to the revelation that it was nailed to the wooden bust of Cerar’s well in Lukovica. How the helmet, which was given to the Kranjski deželni muzej in the second half of the 19th century, attracted the treasure hunters of the time, is evidenced by the fact that John Evans traveled from England, promising extraordinary discoveries. Fortunately for us, he was looking for “treasures” in the wrong place.
The third helmet was discovered in 1968 in Kandija, in Novo mesto. Ritually injured, she was placed in a grave, together with her companion and many rich objects: weapons, jewelry, pottery, belonging to a rich representative of the Iron Age elite. How it fell into the hands of thieves one summer night and disappeared from Slovenia, and how it, together with most of the stolen archaeological material, was found hidden in Ravenna, is revealed in the exhibition and in the catalogue.
Three extraordinary helmets, three interesting stories show that archaeologists are also researchers of the present, as we find out what happens to objects after they have been excavated, found, deposited, processed… Through the helmets, we get to know the period to which they belong and was named after them: the Negau stage, i.e. time 5.-4. century BC. We learn about Dolenjska and its power and influence in the central parts of today’s Slovenia. Where are these influences most visible in the Iron Age, what are they reflected in, how do we recognize them. Who were the bearers of the Negau helmets and who were their female companions, who are buried with exceptional jewelry and pottery?
Our occasional exhibition reveals all this and more.