The beginnings of archaeology in South Tyrol reach back to the time before 1919, to the period of history when today’s South Tyrol was still part of the Habsburg Austro-Hungarian Empire. The special exhibition highlights some exciting finds from these early days of archaeology, examines the first few excavations and reports on the early stages of the museum’s establishment. The word belongs to the pioneers and protagonists of these early days – researchers and committed lay people – who had one thing in common: their enthusiasm for local history and the protection of the cultural treasures of the area.
Many of the items found in those days ended up on the global art market and are today widely scattered in museums and private art collections. For this special exhibition, the curators have tracked down some very special items which were originally discovered before 1919 and are presenting them, for the first time, in their ‘former homeland’ of South Tyrol.
After the First World War, a hundred years ago, the ‘Treaty of Saint-Germain‘ was signed, effectively transferring the area that is today’s South Tyrol to Italy. This political upheaval also left its mark on archaeology; the responsibilities of the offices in charge of monuments changed, moneys had to be reallocated, and the museums took a new direction. The exhibition explores this time of radical change and grants the visitor an exciting insight into the history of archaeology in South Tyrol before 1919.