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While a lack of money is likely to keep Bosnia's most important archeological collection in a dark basement for many more years, the precious Neolithic-era artifacts are now on display, albeit digitally.
Describing their project, the team responsible for the digital display of artifacts from Bosnia's Neolithic Butmir settlements said they wanted to give a chance to post-war generations of Bosnians “to see those beautiful and rich collections withering and gathering dust down in the basement of the National Museum.“
“We are able now to bring these archaeological collections closer to a wider audience...and to potentially expedite the process of reconstruction and preservation of cultural wealth,“ they said.
Developed as a part of the scientific research program at the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, SSST, the on-line presentation of the artifacts is now available to anyone with an Internet connection and a taste for archeology.
Numerous relics, including unique pottery, weapons and tools, have been excavated from Neolithic settlements discovered in Butmir, near Sarajevo, in the 19th century, as well as two other related settlements.
The on-line display, available at http://dmc.ssst.edu.ba/ButmirNeolithicCulture/, also includes three-dimensional reconstructions of settlements and artifacts, film materials from various stages of research and documents related to the excavations.
In the non-digital world, however, the collection remains tucked out of public view in the basement of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
The collection, as well as many other valuable exhibits, was hidden there at the start of Bosnia's 1992-95 war when the National Museum found itself on the frontlines and suffered major destruction.
Now, fifteen years since the end of the war, insufficient funding means that the restoration of museum galleries to provide exhibition space for many collections, including the Butmir artifacts, is not possible.
Bosnia first began caught the interest of the world's archeologists following the 1893 discovery of the Neolithic settlement in Butmir.
The excavation work in the area continues to date, although it is hindered by a lack of funding and post-war Bosnia’s bloated and complex bureaucracy, home to 13 ministers of culture.
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