Collection highlights


The National Museum of Slovenia is proud to display the earliest musical instrument in the world, a 60,000-year-old Neanderthal  flute.

This object of global significance was discovered during archaeological excavations of Divje babe cave, and has been declared by experts to have definitely been made by Neanderthals.

A femur of a young cave bear was redesigned clearly with the intent to be used for sound expression, and thus is no random product. The distribution of the holes and preserved length make a system that allows a wide range of sonority in melodic movement.
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 at least 10,000 years older than other Palaeolithic flutes, which are contemporaneous with the appearance of the anatomically modern people in Europe; fundamental evidence 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.



One of many artefacts discovered in the area of pile dwellings near Ig is a vessel made from fired clay in the form of a simplified human figure ornamented with an embroidered dress. Its nature can't be confirmed – whether it is a dressed up woman or a man or a human body with an animal head – but it is quite certain an object of cult ritual.
The motif of a cross that appears on the vase fourteen times is a prehistoric symbol of light, sun and life. It would appear that the pile dwellers tried to make sense of the natural phenomena and register them. The shape of the figurine is linked to the image of the constellation Orion in winter, which would suggest a calendar role.
The find is extraordinary due to the depicted symbols that testify to a profound mental and devotional world of the Ljubljana Marsh pile dwellers. In a technological and spiritual sense, the vase and other dedicated research testify to the importance of the pile dwellings near Ig in this part of Europe. 


These extraordinary sewn-on ornaments were part of treasures deposited in the Bronze Age as an offering to gods on the shore of Lake Bled. The prestigious gold appliques also indicate that the lake was an important centre of a cult. Gold artefacts were a rarity in the Bronze Age and it is unknown where the gold for the ornaments' making came from. Similar sewn-on ornaments have been discovered in Switzerland, Bavaria and Hungary, mainly in the most important settlements.
The small perforations visible on the edges of ornaments that were made of thin gold metal, suggest the ribbons were secured to something, most likely stitched to a traditional garment, possibly headgear. The ornamentation bears markings of the solar and lunar year.


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 autumn, the mummy will be provided a permanent place in the new exhibition room designed in the fashion of the Egyptian burial chambers. The mummified priest will be complemented with the entire museum Egyptian collection composed mainly of small clay sculptures. 


Soon it will be a hundred years since the dugout canoe from Matena has excited the interest and imagination of visitors. This more than 9 m long boat was dug out of a single oak trunk. It was long presumed to be crafted by the pile dwellers and more than four thousand years old. It turned out though that the dugout canoe was actually used later, in the Iron Age; not a surprising finding considering that the local inhabitants and people elsewhere in Europe employed such boats as the means of transportation up to the modern times.
The dugout canoe was discovered by the farmer Martin Sterle while digging a drainage ditch.

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