Its appearance marked the beginning of the greatest process of the social economical revolution and the beginning of the creation of the modern world.
The large number of sites settlements, today better known as “tumbi” shows us that Pelagonia in the Neolithic Age was densely populated. Velushka Tumba, Tumba Porodin, Tumba Opticari, Gurgur Tumba, Tumba Karamani, in their cultural layers hide material remains of the life of Neolithic man, his social organizing and cultural shaping, the evolution of which continually developed.
According to the cultural values the Neolithic here is known under the name of the Velusina-Porodin cultural group. From investigations carried out in several settlements of Neolithic group, they have collected and presented a rough, fine and painted terracotta; bone, stone and ceramic tools; items connected to the spiritual life, cults and religion of the inhabitants in the form of anthropomorphic and tereomorphic vessels for sacrifices.
The Late Neolithic is still not well known to us, whereas the group of Suplevec – Bakarno Gumno represents the Transient period between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, so called Eneolith. Besides the two above-mentioned sites, the following settlements have also been identified: Tumba Karmani, Tumba Crnobuki, Visok Rid near Bukri and Visoi near Novo Zmirnevo.
The Bronze Age is a stage of further acquiring skills in the techniques of metal working in Pelagonia, and it is less explored. The Early Bronze Age has been identified in the above mentioned localities. However, the least explored stage of the Bronze Age is the late Bronze Age
Up till the present day, our knowledge of the Iron Age I is based exclusively on items of material culture which have been unearthed from necropolises and individual graves. Well-known necropolises from this period are Bel kamen at Zivojno, Marta near Zovic and Sarai near Brod.
From the archaeological materials presented here, The Iron Age II is mostly from the cemetery findings of the necropolises under mounds and flat necropolises such as Visio near Petilep, Batkov Dol near the village Mojno, and Slamite near the village Rapesh.
The Iron Age III coincides with the end of the Archaic and Classic period and is a time of new social and economical changes. With the increased wealth of the domestic tribe aristocracy, the first luxury items (or their imitations) were found.
The accidental findings from graves from Progon near the village Bukri, and Lastoica near the village Dragos tell us about the existence of such items. With the end of the Iron Age in the second half of the IV c. BC the Historical Age began.
The material of the Antiquity department is presented in two halls, covering an area of 150 m2. in the permanent museum exhibition. The main principle of the presentation is the chronology, that is the presentation is the chronology, that is the period from the VI BC till the VI c. AD
With the exception of the Archaic, Classic and some late stages of the Macedonian-Hellenistic period with are poorly represented, the other epochs are, in contrast, well presented.
From the Classic and Macedonian-Hellenistic period, especially distinctive are the findings of the golden burial jewelry unearthed in the locality of “Crkviste” near the village Beranci. A real rarity is the golden earring, of the ‘a navicella’ type which was discovered in the young princess’s grave, which shows that the local aristocracy followed the fashion of the Aegean cultural group. However, the fact remains that traditional influences left the deepest impressions on the inhabitants’ lives. Thus the buttons and bracelets discovered in Berance, which belong to the so-called “snake style” are typical creations of the craftsmanship of the Macedonian-Payon region.
The tombstones of the village of Crnobuki, dating from the IV c. BC are the earliest examples of the plastic decoration of the stone.
The most distinguished place in one of the halls of the Antiquity department is rightfully given to the magnificent copy of Athena Parthenos from II c. AD. In its extraordinary balance of the peace and subtlety, this statue is very similar to Feyde’s Athena Parthenos of the Acropolis.
Directly opposite this statue, the tragic mask with its terrible appearance (found in Heraclea), although at first very upsetting, is nonetheless full of immediate aesthetic appeal.
That during the Roman rule there existed a powerful cult of the Egyptian goddess’s is evident from the archaeological findings, dating from the second half of the II c. A.D, of the goddess Isis near the village Gorno Srpci. The only finding of Harpocratus, (a bronze statue) which together with Isis and Serapis, represents the triad of the syncretised Deities, comes from Heraclea.
The irrepressible Antique longing for the viral male beauty is more than obvious on the bronze statue of Mecurus, discovered in the locality near the village Zivojno. No less impressive is the bronze weight from I c. AD, unearthed at Baresani, representing a chest of a young soldier.
The three graves at the archaeological locality Dibek near the village Suvodol provide valuable information about the shape of the Macedonian graves, indented in the rockface, as well as about their interior arrangement.
In one part of the second hall of the Antiquity department there is a presentation of materials with a powerful mark of Christianity, especially on the products of the artistic craftsmanship of that time. The cross, as a motif and as a symbol to distinguish Christians, is present on many commonly used items made of bronze, silver, gold, bone, and glass-paste. Some impressive items are the safety pins with gold plating, discovered in the village Zivojno, and the bronze lamps from Heraclea.
What is often considered to be an extraordinary item of this time is the helmet with hooks made of bronze, dating from 497-523, which is believed to have belonged to the Byzantine dignitary.
The turbulent times and the frequent attacks of the barbarian tribes (IV c. VI c) are witnessed in the last two glass cabinets of this department and are presented by the findings that belong to the Avar-Slavs period
Besides the archaeological findings, the museum exhibition is enhanced with texts, maps, photos, drafts, etc. with the aim of creating a more precise picture of a certain period or locality.
In the permanent museum exhibition, the medieval period is represented through two aspects: the archaeological and historic aspect. These include the period of the appearance of the Slav elements, the very first attacks and the migration of the Slav tribes during the VI VII c. AD, the difficulties experienced in continuing traditions, as well as a presentation of the Byzantine culture till the end of the XIV c., actually till the penetration of the Ottomans.
The historic joint habitation is presented through maps, copies of documents, extracts from medieval chronicles, etc. In the aspect of the archaeology, the glass cabinets hold some 804 exhibited items, presented as: 62 fragments of distinctive ceramic vessels; 10 entirely reconstructed ceramic vessels for everyday use; 114 items exhibited to help us imagine the everyday life of the inhabitants of this region.
There are also weights from the fishermen’s net, pearls, a part of some kind of social game, items for individual adornment like earrings, a glass pearl necklace etc. 689 coins are exhibited, 20 of which are anonymous, dating from X XI c.; 99 coins originating from the middle of the XI c to the end of the XIV c. including Byzantine, Latin, Bulgarian, and imitations of Serbian and Venetian coins; some 9182 Byzantine hollow coins discovered at the village Ramna; 253 copper coins from Isak II Angel (1185-1195) and Aleksey III Angel (1195-1203), their total number is 488 coins and they are divided into 2 groups. In addition, there are 82 coins that belonged to the monarchs from the time of Jovan II Komnen (1118-1143). The period from the end of the VI c. to the beginning of the VII c. is presented through the so-called “migration of the Southern Slavs” to the territory of the Balkan Peninsula. The first tribe that inhabited the plain areas of Pelagonija was the Dravites, while the mountain regions were inhabited by Berzites. This period is presented with early medieval metal fragments of horse saddling, tools for common use, keys, etc. The period between IX XIV c., this is the period of the brothers Kiril and Metodi and their literacy, the foundation of the Kingdom of Samoil, the fight for domination over the region by Byzantia, Bulgaria, Serbia, is shown on the archaeology map. Among the most significant findings of this period presented in the permanent exhibition is the epigraphic monument a marble slab with Cyrillic letters of Jovan Vladislav from 1015/17. The items of the medieval period presented in this exhibition are testimony to the might, cultural progress and prosperity of the Medieval Ages in this region.
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