Handicraft Jewellery of Mediterranean

Country: Slovenia
Year: 2021
Release Date: 12 Jul 2021

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Press Release
Gold Earrings from the Školarice Site (Late 3rd/Early 4th Century AD)
At some time in the middle of the first century AD, on a sunny slope above today’s Ankaran motorway junction, one of the wealthier families from the ager of Tergeste (Trieste) or Aquileia built a Roman villa rustica, which was subsequently destroyed by fire in the mid-fifth century. A staff of slaves known as a familia rustica lived on the estate and generated a profit for the owners by producing wine, olive oil and other goods. When they died, these slaves found their last resting place in a well-ordered roadside cemetery at the foot of the estate.
The archaeological site known as Školarice was discovered and investigated in 2002, before the construction of the motorway junction. It is the most extensive Roman villa and cemetery complex to have been discovered in the Slovenian part of Istria.
The woman buried in one of the 51 excavated graves can only have been a little over 30 years old when she died. She was laid to rest in the late third or early fourth century in a burial cavity lined with stone slabs. A jug and goblet from a potter’s workshop somewhere in the Aegean were placed by her head. Her family lit a terracotta oil lamp and placed it by her right foot. Her hair was secured by a bone needle. The dog’s femur placed in the grave has a special significance. Upon cleaning the skull, it was found that the dead woman was buried wearing a pair of precious gold earrings, which is an additional indication that she was one of the more important members of the family serving in the villa. These earrings, of the crotalia type, consist of a beaten gold disc encasing a red glass bead at its centre, attached to hooks made of gold wire, and are among the rare examples of skilfully wrought gold jewellery found in Slovenia.
Matjaž Novšak