The MUSEUM OF CROATIAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MONUMENTS (MHAS) is one of the oldest Croatian museums and the only museum in Croatia that was founded with the unique task to explore, collect, present and study the remains of tangible and intangible culture of the Croats from the Middle Ages, respectively from the 7th to 15th century, in particular from the time of the early mediaeval Croatian State (from the 9th to 12th century).
The Museum was founded under the name “First Museum of Croatian Monuments” in Knin in 1893. During World War II, fearing the threats of the war, it was initially moved to Sinj, later to Klis and finally to Split, where it is still located up to this date. From 1976, its archaeological treasure is kept and exhibited in the monumental and representative building that was designed by M. Kauzlarić.
The Museum’s inventory consists predominantly of exemplars of various jewellery, weaponry and objects of everyday use, as well as a large number of stone monuments that were part of the interior of early Croatian churches. With its collection of early mediaeval interlacing-ribbon and figural sculptures and a large number of early Croatian epigraphic monuments in Latin, the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments possesses currently one of the greatest collections of such kind in Europe.
"There is no science or art, which has been levelled by pure coincidence and not by a system. Without it, all science would be a mere combination, simple dilettantism, if nothing but a waste of time."
The Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments has an extensive inventory of early Croatian archaeological heritage with about 20000 artefacts, out of which only 25% are displayed in a permanent exhibition. Inter alia, the most significant and historically most valuable collection is the selection of epigraphic monuments from the 9th to 12th century, depicting the engraved names of Croatian rulers, secular and ecclesiastic dignitaries. This part of the Museum’s archaeological collection, as the oldest Croatian “archive” (archive in stone), has in this respect a unique historical documentary value. Besides museological work, the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments conducts also comprehensive archaeological excavations at early Croatian find spots, particularly in the south Croatian region between the Cetina and Zrmanja Rivers, i.e. in the cradle of the Croatian state, and deals extensively with exhibition and publication activities.