Collection highlights


The oldest musical instrument in the world, a 60,000-year-old Neanderthal flute is a treasure of global significance.It was discovered in Divje babe cave near Cerkno and has been declared by experts to have been made by Neanderthals. 
It is made from the left thighbone of a young cave bear and has four pierced holes. Musical experiments confirmed findings of archaeological research that the size and the position of the holes cannot be accidental – they were made with the intention of musical expression.
The flute from Divje babe is the oldest Palaeolithic flute known to date worldwide and the only one that was definitely made by Neanderthals. It is about 20,000 years older than other Palaeolithic flutes, which are contemporaneous with the appearance of the anatomically modern people in Europe. This discovery confirms that the Neanderthals were, like us, fully developed spiritual beings capable of sophisticated artistic expression.

See the oldest musical instrument in the world at the National Museum of Slovenia, and listen to how it sounds.

Here  you can see a 3D image of the flute.



Its quality design and craftsmanship in figurative representations make the situla – a situla is a decorated bucket-shaped vessel – from Vače near Litija one of the finest artefacts of situla art. It is even more important that it was crafted by a skilled local artisan. It is exceptional for its excellent preservation.
It was placed in the grave of a wealthy warrior, together with his helmet, two spears, battle-axe, a bracelet and a military belt. Only the skull of the young warrior's skeleton has been preserved to this day. In the Iron Age, young warriors had a special role and the most distinguished became the leaders of their communities
This famous situla which was crafted in the Iron Age is decorated with three horizontal bands – friezes, showing human and animal figures. The scenes that read in a sort of comic book sequence of events tell the story of the important acts and events from the noble's life. Situlas were supposed to have been used as ritual vessels to serve beverages.


A gilded bronze portrait statue, known locally as "Emona Citizen", is the only preserved monument with a statue on a column that was erected for a civilian – i.e., not a member of the imperial family – in the entire territory of the Roman Empire. Only three column monuments from the Imperial Age have been preserved, but they are all dedicated to Emperors.
The Emona Citizen is a 145 cm high statue, slightly less than life size, of a young man of the Trajan period wearing a toga – a typical male garment of ancient Rome that could only be worn by free citizens. The entire column monument, composed of the column, capital and statue, was about five metres high and captured the attention of a traveller approaching Emona from the direction of Trojane (Latin: Atrans) from far away.
The original statue of the Emona Citizen can be seen at the Lapidarium of the National Museum of Slovenia, while the full-size reconstruction of the funerary monument's column is part of the permanent exhibition.
Here you can watch a short documentary on the famous statue. 


These dolls are extremely rare examples of preserved ivory dolls from the Roman period. Their material and exquisite workmanship made them valuable even at the time they were made. They were placed in the tomb of a girl from a wealthy Emona family. These jointed figurines (movable shoulder, elbow, hip and knee joints) were most likely crafted in Rome itself and painted with vivid colours. The main indication as to the time they were made and used is their hairstyle, the hair combed back behind the ears and reaching the shoulders in the back.  
Much the same as today, the girls from the Roman period played with similar less valuable dolls made from terracotta, bones, wood, and wax. When they got married, girls gave their toys to deities thus they can only rarely be found in graves.


On 7 October 1846, the local newspaper Kmetijske in rokodelske novice reported on a very unusual gift; a mummy that arrived to Ljubljana from faraway Egypt …
The Egyptian mummy in a painted wood coffin was donated to the then Regional Museum of Carniola by the nobleman Anton Lavrin, the Austrian consul in Egypt. It is the only ancient Egyptian coffin with a human mummy in Slovenia. The anthropomorphic coffin is painted and inscribed with the wording from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, one of the oldest collections of religious texts and magic spells in the world. The inscriptions on the side column reveal the name of the deceased, his profession and the names of his parents. According to the hieroglyphs on the coffin that were translated by the first Slovenian orientalist Albert Kosmač back in 1866, the mummified man was a priest of Amun's temple in Karnak. The experts determined that Akesuita died around the age of 40 of natural causes. 
In January 2017, the mummy was provided with a permanent place in the new exhibition room designed in the fashion of the Egyptian burial chambers. The mummified priest is complemented with the entire museum Egyptian collection composed mainly of small clay sculptures. 

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