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The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb is one of the direct successors to the former National Museum, the oldest museum institution in the Croatian capital, founded in 1836.
The museum is organized into several collections : The Prehistoric, Classical (Greek and Roman), and Mediaeval Collections follow the usual chronological system. The museum also contains an Egyptian Collection, the only one in this region, as well as a Numismatic Collection that is one of the largest in Europe and beyond.
As a whole, most of the material is of local provenience, from regions historically belonging to Croatia, although the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, in contrast to similar museums in Croatia, also contains rich collections and individual monuments of foreign origin.
Permanent exhibition of the Prehistoric collection of the museum illustrates the development of material and spiritual culture on the territory of continental Croatia during 2,5 million years, from Paleolithic (Early Stone Age), Neolithic (Late Stone Age), Eneolithic (Copper Age), various phases of the Bronze Age, to Early and Late Iron Age. The collection is among the largest and most complete of its kind in Croatia and this part of Europe.
This unique collection of Greek vases is composed out of two private collections purchased in 19th and 20th c. It consists of different forms and styles from the 8th to the 3rd c. BCE. The most frequent are the Southern Italian red-figure vases.
The Roman section insist on spatial organization - the first urbanization of this region - presented through the example of Roman cities, settlements and a villa (archaeological sites from northern Croatia), while the characteristics of Roman architecture and building equipment are presented by examples of architectural and ornamental elements from these sites. Roman roads, as an important element of Roman urbanization. The museum keeps also an important collection of Roman military equipment and weaponry.
Six hundred objects are displayed in the permanent exhibition of the Egyptian collection of the museum, with bronze deities, stone and wooden sculpture, funerary equipment, jewellery, cosmetics and tableware, papyri and letters, canopic jars, ushabtis, sarcophagi and mummies, and funerary stelae.
A special unit, the Etruscan room contains the Zagreb linen book (the longest Etruscan inscription) and the so-called Zagreb mummy, on whose wrappings the text is preserved.