Memento Mori


Memento Mori


The exhibition "Memento Mori" showcases archaeological research of the Salona Western Necropolis on the Solin Bypass from 1986 to 1987. The Archaeological Museum in Split brings us the discoveries of this fascinating treasure that archaeologists unearthed during the construction of the Solin Bypass in the 1980s. It took almost 40 years to analyze, scientifically process, interpret, and contextualize thousands of exceptionally valuable archaeological finds. After all the conducted activities, the focus emerges on the story of the Salona residents buried in the Western Necropolis. We learn their stories through the analysis of 615 discovered graves (dating from the 1st to the 6th century) and a series of stone monuments. This knowledge has further enriched our understanding of ancient Salona and resolved some previous scientific uncertainties.

The exhibition follows two main threads. One part is dedicated to the research itself, while the other exhibits objects found in the graves. Through these objects, we learn about the burial customs of the Salona residents, and through burial practices, we can infer their life values. But that's not all. Using modern technology, a reconstruction of four individuals has been created, presenting to the public for the first time what they looked like.

The "Memento Mori" exhibition not only brings the past to life through the story of death and Salona residents' customs over six centuries but also explores the contemporary significance of the discoveries. It is a journey through our own identity, uncovering the secrets of the past and connecting them to our present. The discovered remains become messengers from the past, reminding us of the fragility of life and the importance of gratitude for the present moment. Hence, the Latin phrase in the title, meaning "Remember death," becomes a key theme, encouraging visitors to deeper appreciation of the current moment, life in general, and cultural heritage.

And how did it all begin? During the construction of the Solin-Trogir expressway (the so-called Bypass) from October 1986 to November 1987, a team of archaeologists conducted protective excavations. What they found took their breath away and marked the beginning of a dramatic struggle to preserve the past against modern needs. Although already known as the Western Salona Necropolis, its magnificence truly emerged at that time, and seemingly silent witnesses of time spoke through the dust of the centuries. With superhuman efforts, archaeologists fought against time and public pressure, saving a significant part of the found artifacts, which were stored in the Archaeological Museum in Split. Since then, these artifacts have been cleaned, restored, analyzed, interpreted, scientifically processed, and prepared for public presentation.

The remains of ancient monuments and graves revealed the secrets of the magnificent life of the important ancient metropolis - Salona. We learned crucial details about the city and intimately connected with the people who once lived in this same area. Through this exhibition, we delve deeper into history through archaeological finds, exploring each piece as a portal in time, discovering fates waiting to be told, and creating a bridge between the past and the present. Through the prism of archaeology, we become explorers of our own identity.

Frane Balta
Ana Bodrožić

Exhibition design
Ozana Ursić
Vedran Kasap
Tanja Virag

Exhibition authors
Zrinka Buljević
Katarina Jovanović Eterović
Jagoda Mardešić
Josipa Marić
Ana Marinović
Vesna Matić
Nino Švonja
Ema Višić-Ljubić

Drako Škrobonja

Archaeological Museum in Split