May 2021



Iron Age Danube Route Certified as the Cultural Route of the Council of Europe

Dear members and friends of the Iron Age Danube Route,
It gives us great pleasure to announce the EPA Governing Board unanimously decided to award to Iron Age Danube Route the certification “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” for a term of three years. The decision was confirmed on 19 May 2021. Following the decision of the Governing Board, the EPA Secretariat shall organize an award ceremony at the occasion of the Annual Advisory Forum in Kutaisi, Georgia on 29 September – 1 October 2021 for the transmission of the diploma.
The certification “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” is a quality label, recognized across Europe by visitors, tourism operators and public authorities alike. The certification and rigorous evaluation process lead to greater recognition and opportunities to develop membership, secure project funding and increase visitor numbers throughout network member countries. To obtain certification, Iron Age Danube Route was required to establish a scientific committee active in academic research on the Iron Age topic, thus giving scientific validity to its network membership and to its activities programme.
Being a certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe brings more visibility, both nationally and internationally, through the website of the Cultural Routes programme and thanks to a networking effect, which makes it easier for visitors to find relevant information on the routes and their European sites. Certification gives access to a wide pool of international partners and experts in heritage management, research, cultural tourism development and promotion.
Furthermore, the programme provides a unique opportunity for our members, operators of heritage sites, researchers, creative entrepreneurs, tourist operators and public authorities to network with partners across the continent, share good practices, learn from global trends and developments and access world-class knowledge on cultural heritage and tourism management tools and methods.
Cultural Routes diversify the tourism offer by proposing new destinations with wider geographical reach; they implement new tourist products and services, create additional visibility for cultural heritage sites away from the most visited tourist centres and prolong the tourist season.
Cultural Routes network operators enjoy greater access to European regional and local policy makers and thus are able to better convey to institutional stakeholders the need for sustainable protection and promotion of our shared European, as well as Iron Age heritage.
By becoming a certified “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe”, many new and exciting opportunities are being opened up to the Iron Age Danube Route, its members and partners.  On the other hand, the certification also holds a great responsibility to utilize to the best of our abilities the numerous benefits this status entitles us to and to further develop our network in order to better promote, protect and research our common Iron Age heritage.
Looking forward to our future endeavours!


IADR Association's Assembly Meeting
On April 26, 2021 the second Assembly of the Iron Age Danube Association was held. Representatives of the 12 IADRA members were presented with the Association’s Work and Financial Report for 2020, which were then unanimously adopted. Assembly was presented with the new Members of the IADRA and the potential new ones that are in the process of obtaining membership in the Association. Afterwards, the Work and the Financial plan for 2021 was presented and discussed before being unanimously adopted as well.
The next Assembly Meeting is announced for the late 2021.

The TRANS RIVERS project - The Transfer Area between Sutla River and across the Middle Course of the Sava River during the Bronze and the Iron Ages
The TRANS RIVERS project will cover the area of the lower course of the Sutla River and the middle course of the Sava River (from its left bank to the western slopes of Medvednica), as well as the eastern slopes of Medvednica. This is a key area assumed to have been heavily involved in the flow and exchange of ideas and goods in prehistory, and especially during the Bronze and Iron Ages. Regardless of the fact that this was an important strategic position that allowed for control and passage through the so-called ''Brežice gate'', after which the trade and communication route was opened up to the Danube, we have very little information about the life in settlements, the burial rites and assortment of finds in the aforementioned area, that can speak about local production and/or import. Therefore, the main objectives of this project are the identification of new sites, the interpretation of the material heritage from the site of Sveti Križ and the newly-discovered sites, and the interpretation of the role of the transfer area from the Sutla River and across the middle course of the Sava River in the network of communication and exchange of goods during the Bronze and Iron Ages. Lidar scanning and intensive field surveys will enable us to fulfill the first objective, the excavations on Sveti Križ and the newly-discovered sites will provide insight into the material culture, and the analyses will enable us to complete the collected data. Radiocarbon dating will confirm the typo-chronological settings, the residue analyses will complete the settlement data, while the metallographic analyses will provide data on raw materials.
The project is funded by the Croatian Science Foundation and managed by dr. Janja Macrović-Mokos (Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences) and will be ongoing from 01.02.2021 until 31.01.2026.



Database on the Iron Age heritage in the Danube Region

Iron Age heritage, like hilltop settlements, oppida, tumuli cemeteries or cult areas are often invisible to an untrained eye. Many communities in the Danube region don´t have the knowledge on this heritage hidden under their ground and even if they knew, the knowledge on the sustainable use of this heritage might be missing. The Iron-Age-Danube database was created in the framework of the Monumentalized Early Iron Age Landscapes in the Danube river basin (Iron-Age-Danube) project to create an overview over Early Iron Age sites in partner countries (Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia) with the aim to evaluate their research status, determine touristic potential and evaluate cultural protection status and possible threats. The gathered data is publicly accessible here. An analysis of the gathered data, already published digitally on the homepage, was used as a basis for the development of transnational strategies and national action plans for a sustainable research, protection and touristic use of the Iron Age landscapes. The strategies were incorporated in the local revitalization plans for nine micro-regions in the four countries. They are a great example for other communities, which are confronted with this heritage under their feet.



Plestrodava – the Iron Age Settlement at Ruse

A recent scholarly discovery of an archaeologist from the Rousse Regional Museum of History brings more light on the Iron Age history of the Bulgarian town of Ruse. Until recently, the information about the Thracian past of the town was limited to the existence of a large ritual pit complex, consisting of over 150 pits, established on a hill close to the Danube riverbank. The pits were not used for burial practices, but rather for depositing everyday items. The complex existed from the 3rd century BC until the 1st century AD, when the arrival of the Romans brought transformation to the site. A temple, dedicated to Apollo was erected on the site, but it also incorporated the cult of the Thracian horseman – a local unnamed deity, whose presence on votive plates is a certain indication for the continued ritual functions of the site.
A hypothesis, elaborated by the archaeologist Dr. Varbin Varbanov, states that the Thracian name of the settlement on the hill was Plestrodava. During excavations in the 1980s along the course of the local river Rusenski Lom, three stone inscriptions were unearthed, as well as buildings, interpreted as a temple. On a partially preserved inscription appears the name of a God named Plestar – the guard and patron of the local river. Bulgarian science is familiar with large number of examples, where the town at the mouth of a river bears the name of the river, such as Yatrus at the river Yantra, Ulpia Oescus at the river Oeascus, etc. Having successfully deciphered the name of the local river during the Late Iron Age, and by adding the extension “-dava”, often used by the Thracians for constructing their settlement nominations, Dr. Varbanov offers the hypothetical name of Plestrodava for the earliest name of the nowadays town of Ruse on the Danube.

© Rousse Regional Museum of History


A short sword resembling a falcata - a find near the Heuneburg


The Speckau group of burial mounds is located 3 km from the Heuneburg (a monument of the State Palaces and Gardens of Baden Württemberg since 2020). The site near the small municipality of Herbertingen-Hundersingen is comprised of 36 burial mounds. Latest finds of the Heuneburg suggest connections to the Eastern Black Forrest, Northern Italy and Switzerland.
Under the supervision of the State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments Baden-Württemberg  three excavation projects were conducted during 1999 and 2001. The excavations were carried out by the universities Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Mississippi as part of the project „A Landscape of Ancestors“. It was during these excavations, that a special find was made in grave mound 17: A short sword, that bears resembles to similar short swords of the Iberian Peninsula, the so called falcata.
The Grave mound 17 contains three graves. In the oak-chamber of Grave 1 the corpse of a man was found. Alongside the physical remains the chamber also contained the following: a bronze cauldron, an iron belt hook, two iron long spear heads, an iron helmet, a plume clamp and the falcata.
The falcata was found in a leathersheath by the right side of the corpse. It points to connections with the Iberian area and leads us to think that there was more individual mobility during the Iron Age than previously assumed. With its machete like blade and the horned handle shaped like the head of a bird with iron rivets, it very much resembles the traditional Iberian short sword, the falcata. The replica shown below is exhibited at the reconstructed metal workshop on the Heuneburg site.

 © Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg


Spices and Herbs from the Iron Age

We know from archaeological researches that in the past, some plants were domesticated and grown for consumption, while others were harvested in the wild. Since the plant remains can be preserved for a longer period, they are often discovered by archaeologists during excavations. The main types of these plant remains are macrofossils (seeds, grain and fruits, chaff, tubers), charcoal and wood, and microfossils (phytoliths, pollen, starch grains). A special discipline known as archaebotany studies these preserved plant remains. By studying this material we can find out how people used plants in the past and to reconstruct past vegetation and the ways humans interacted with their environment.
The following plants are just examples that were consumed in the Iron Age, and can be found in the spice and tea blends produced by Dorka Fűszerháza: elderberry flower, nettle, fennel, arise, rosehip, yarrow.
The natural materials used in the preparation of teas, tea mixtures and sipe mixtures produced by organic farming contain substances with beneficial psychological effect, the effectiveness of which is proved by pharmacists.

© Sadaweb


Trail of Gold
The 200th Anniversary of the First Museum in Slovenia 
National Museum of Slovenia
21 June 2021 – 2 May 2022
Gold is an element, present in all the collections of the National Museum of Slovenia. That is why this precious metal was chosen as the topic of the central exhibition on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the museum.
Gold is one of the most valuable materials, used in the past to make the most important and precious objects that embodied the power, reputation and high social standing of the owner and reflected his or her wealth. However, these are not the only characteristics of this unique element. Gold has a symbolic meaning, expressing certain values in the metaphorical sense. Materialised by objects and stories, these values are part of the exhibition.
Objects made of gold (or decorated with gold), which emphasises their value, can be directly or indirectly linked to major milestones, events and personalities from Slovenian history. On the symbolic level, they can be used as the common (“golden”) thread, signifying the long tradition of the area, which, with its language and culture, later became the territory of the Slovenian nation.
The exhibition in the National Museum of Slovenia presents three important segments that are represented by gold on the material and the symbolic level: Power and Authority, Honour and Glory, and Wealth and Luxury. Each of the segments tells a part of the story, completed by the introductory and the final part. In the beginning, the visitors will learn about this very special element and its properties, and in the final part they will learn about the numerous connotations of gold at the symbolic level.
The exhibition features objects from the collections of the National Museum of Slovenia, as well as objects from the collections of Slovenian museums, which gladly accepted the invitation to participate in the exhibition. The 200th anniversary is not only a golden anniversary of the National Museum of Slovenia as the successor of the Provincial Museum of Carniola, but a celebration of all the Slovenian museums that preserve the heritage of the Slovenian nation and the Slovenians.

 © NMS

Archaeological and mineralogical determination day in Neumarkt
Historischer Arbeitskreis Neumarkter Hochtal and the Universalmuseum Joanneum invite people interested in history in Styria and Carinthia to a yearly determination day at the farmers' market in Neumarkt in Styria (Austria). On 12th June 2021 from 9:00 a.m. the archaeologist Dr. Marko Mele, the numismatist Mag. Karl Peitler and the mineralogist Dr. Bernd Moser, will be available for determination of various objects found in the ploughed fields, inherited from grandparents or stored and long forgotten on the attics of old farmhouses. In addition to the information about the objects itself, also useful information on the correct storage and safekeeping are offered. Every year the event gets more and more attention from the public and the expectations are high also for this year.

Situlae Festival - Festival of Iron Age Life and Culinary Arts
The Situlae Festival, a festival of Iron Age life and culinary arts organized since 2016 in cooperation with the Municipality of Novo mesto and Dolenjska Museum, is dedicated to these remarkable monuments, which undoubtedly testify to the life of the Hallstatt people in this region. With various activities, it offers visitors an all-day experience and understanding of the rich archaeological heritage of Dolenjska. At the Situlae Festival you can observe the elements of everyday life during the Early Iron Age in Dolenjska, learn about customs and watch local and foreign craftsmen performing handicrafts. You can take part in culinary workshops or watch animations of various martial arts and dances. You can also see reconstructions of attire. The central event highlights the prince and the princely family with their entourage. Everything you can see and taste is based on the results of experimental archaeology and numerous archaeological investigations at home and abroad. The celebration is enriched by a guided tour of the Museum's rich archaeological heritage and an evening concert with music with a touch of Iron Age. Visit us 26 June 2021 in Novo mesto!
Don't miss out! Find IADR Event Calendar here!
Join our team
We are looking for new members for our Editor Board!
The Iron Age Danube Association wants to offer new insights into the Iron Age heritage in Europe. The goal of the team is to prepare content for digital and social media.
Would you like to make your work more visible? Please send us information about Iron Age related exhibitions, publications, events and other activities in your region!
For more info and to apply contact  
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Iron Age Danube Route Association · Trg Nikole Šubića Zrinskog 19 · Zagreb 10000 · Croatia