The Archaeology of Fishing

Sit down, “keep calm”, and prepare for a little insight from the history of having fun, something that starts in the nature. 

Stories told by museums might repeat in specific types of museums across the world. i guess that almost every archaeological museum has those usual pieces like tools, army or jewellery on display, and there is also a kind of map that shows which area was occupied by s specific culture. Furthermore, a topic which is also very talked in this kind of museum is agriculture, and the ways of its development, once a culture is not nomadic anymore.

Today there are new nomads, but it’s not a topic of this article 🙂

Prehistoric Agriculture on display in the Vucedol Culture Museum
Agriculture in Vucedol on Display in the Museum

The same applies to regional or municipal museums whose stories go from the earliest habitation to the present days. Most of these museums can’t be declared as fun due to their not-very-fun policies (for instance, some of these museums love to be closed in the time when people actually have time to visit them), or due to their boring and conservative exhibition spaces with bad user experience. Even in these museums I can find things that are fun, but would I recommend it to my readers? Not at all.

I talk about the positive – and – fun – examples. Only.

One of the many great museums of this type I already wrote about is the Vukovar Municipal Museum, that has amazing exhibition spaces in the baroque castle and long and tremendous stories about the city and fun facts I particularly enjoyed.

Another example is the one I discovered during my trip to the Arctic Circle. The Sami Culture Museum has a huge, characteristic fishing boat carrying a giant salmon on exhibit, so visitors can experience how the traditional fishing looks like.

This is another example how the traditional fishing can be observed in a museum.

In the Vučedol Culture Museum, where an entire Eneolithic culture is represented along the whole, fully designed exhibition space, there is a real aquarium inside the museum.

Aquarium and the fishing boat in Vucedol
You must not enter this boat 🙂

You can see it at the bottom of this room. There are several types of river fish, and bigger fish obviously eats smaller. A huge catfish eats any new fish that comes to the aquarium, except his only “friend”, a fish whose name I can’t remember (even its name in Croatian, haha, I’m not an expert in biology or zoology that much), that generally also serves as food for catfish, but in this case it isn’t 😀

The aquarium is intended to represent the fish species that reside in the Danube, particularly near these lands. The river fish from the Danube has served for food since the times of Vučedol culture. The fishing boat placed next to the aquarium represents what a real Vučedol fishing boat could possibly look like. There are several examples of how things could look like on this place 5000 years ago, such as fashionable clothes and footwear.

There is an indication that it’s not allowed to enter the boat, but I believe that my readers would understand it without any signage 🙂

Fishing Tools
Impressive fishing tools

The impressive wisdom of Vučedol people is notable also in the way they used to go for fishing on the Danube. There was a particular place when they could catch the fish in peace, without fear of being taken by the river’s flow. They knew how to get to that place (situated on the river’s island nearby) and return safely.

Also, by their agricultural practice they showed that their culture was not nomadic – they settled on their place and had pigs, the animals that cannot be owned or handle in combination with a nomadic way of life. Interesting facts to know.

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