The Mysterious Paths of the Helmets of Negova, Halstatt Princes between Kamnik and Novo mesto

16. 02. 2024 – 02. 06. 2024

The archaeological exhibition The Mysterious Paths of the Helmets of Negova, Halstatt Princes between Kamnik and Novo mesto is an inter-institutional project of three museums. The coordinator and promoter is the Kamnik Intermunicipal Museum, the participating museums are the National Museum of Slovenia and the Dolenjska Museum Novo mesto. The exhibition was first installed at the MMK, Kamnik, and from 16th of February to 2nd of June 2024 it will be hosted at the Dolenjska Museum. It is accompanied by a catalogue with extensive information.

In the division of time of the older Iron Age in Slovenia, the fourth century BC is called the time of the Negova stage. It was named after the so-called Negova type of helmets that were in use at that time.

It is these helmets, which are preserved in our museums, that are the link and the core of this exhibition. Each of the helmets on display has an interesting and special story to tell, in addition to its outstanding archaeological significance.

In the first part, we present the place and time of their creation and their wearers, the Iron Age elite and warriors of the 5th and 4th centuries BC and their world. We explain where they originated, when, why and where they are all found, why they are called “Negova”. We also show where the influences of the Dolenjska community, the central older Iron Age cultural group in Slovenia, reached and where they are manifested. We then reveal their mysterious trails (one from Kandija in Novo mesto, another from Kope nad Kompoljem and a third from Vrhpolje near Kamnik). The first was stolen, found and returned to the Dolenjska Museum, the second was nailed to the village well and the rest of the grave in which it laid was found two hundred years later, and the third was purchased and donated to Tito.

The exhibition and the catalogue are a fascinating interweaving of all that is known about the helmets of the Negova in the field of expertise, while at the same time presenting three almost unbelievable stories that accompany these precious, almost two and a half millennia-old archaeological artefacts in modern times.

Of the three helmets presented, two are linked to the Novo mesto.

The helmet found at Vrhpolje near Kamnik and stored in the Sadnikar collection in Kamnik was presented to President Tito at the completion of the Road of Brotherhood and Unity in Novo mesto. The other helmet, found in Kandija in Novo mesto, was stolen from the Dolenjska Museum and, by an incredible series of lucky circumstances, found and returned to Novo mesto.