The archaeological collection of City Museum of Novi Sad includes numerous objects of material and spiritual culture of the prehistoric ages, Roman domination and the medieval period. They originate from the identified localities in the city area and the territory that gravitates towards Novi Sad and Petrovaradin, i.e. area of southern Bačka and northern hillsides of Fruska Gora.
At the locality Karaš – Laka Staza, in the area of Sremski Karlovci, along the right bank of the Danube, minor archaeological research were carried out (in the periods of 1927-1928, and in 1989) and were found the remains of a large settlement with dugouts from the late Neolithic period, which belongs to the Vinča culture.
At the locality Popov Salaš, in the area of village Kać, were found the remains of the settlement from the Bronze Age which belong to Vatin cultural group and associated necropolis with urns. Rescue archaeological excavations were conducted periodically from 1960 to 1991.
At the locality Nova zemlja, in the area of borough Žabalj, minor rescue archaeological excavations were carried out in 1965. At that time were discovered the remains of a multilayer Neolithic settlement. It belonged to the Vinča culture and cultural group of Potisje, which was then for the first time registered on the territory of Bačka.
The remains of the settlement from the period of the Late Iron Age (1000-800 BC), with preserved semi-dugouts and ceramic pithoi (silos) for storing cereals, were discovered at the locality Kalakača, in the area of village Beška, during rescue archeological excavations in the period from 1971 to 1974.
During rescue archeological excavations of Petrovaradin Fortress (the locality of Upper Fortress) in the period from 2002 to 2004 was discovered multilayered finding. Stone artefacts which were found here belong to Neanderthals, people of the Last Ice Age, and are among the oldest archaeological remains in Serbia (Middle Palaeolithic, 60000-40 / 35 000 BC). Younger layers of prehistory include material remains of the Neolithic Vinča culture, then the remains of habitats from the Eneolithic period – Vučedol Culture, the Metal Age –Vinkovci cultural group, as well as findings from the period of the Early and Late Iron Age. The remains of earthen fortification with ramparts and wooden palisades from the Eneolithic period (about 3000 BC) are also discovered. This fortification was rebuilt several times, and was also used in the period of Roman domination and later.
Archaeological findings have confirmed the assumption that Roman Kuzum Fortress (Cusum) was on the Petrovaradin Rock as a part of the chain of fortifications on the right bank of the Danube, which formed the Roman defense system – the limes. Plenty of Roman bricks with stamps of military units give evidence of temporary or more lasting residence of the parts of the Roman army in the fortification. The remains of buildings’ porches are found as well. Plenty of movable material – fibulae, Roman coins, pieces of glass containers, copies of luxury containers and ceramics for everyday usage, give evidence about the continued presence of the Romans in Kuzum from the 1st to the 4th century.
The antique collection of the City Museum of Novi Sad, in addition to material related to Kuzum, found at Petrovaradin Fortress and in the Lower Town, consists of many findings from the Roman period, originated from immediate surroundings. These are findings from the smaller places on the right bank of the Danube, more precisely from: Čerević, Rakovac, Ledinci, Sremska Kamenica, Bukovac, Sremski Karlovci and Čortanovci. On the basis of their characteristics, they can be linked to the Roman limes on the Danube, which consisted of a road with fortifications and smaller settlements along them. The findings from Begeč, Futog, Veterinik, Novi Sad, Kać, Rumenka, Gardinovci, and the remains of the Roman ditches in southern Bačka testify that even the territory on the left bank of the Danube belonged to the Roman border area.
During the Great Migration, the Petrovaradin rock did not have greater significance. It has regain the important role only in the 13th century, during the reign of Hungarian king Bela IV, when the monks of Cistercian Order came to Petrovaradin. They raised the monastery and the church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and protective ramparts as evidenced by archaeological traces of the three-naved Gothic basilica surrounded by ramparts with the main defensive tower and a semi-towers, as well as numerous movable objects (stone plastic parts, building materials, decorated fireplaces, fine ceramics, etc.). Hungarian kings (Andrew III, Charles Robert, Sigismund, Matthias Corvinus, etc.) sojourned in medieval Petrovaradin using it as a fortified shelter or a place to rest.
At the locality Ciglana, near Čelarevo, was discovered a medieval village with a necropolis from the end of the eighth and beginning of the ninth century AD. Former researches were mainly carried out on the parts of the necropolis. Unfortunately, the work of brick plant destroyed several thousand graves. Archaeological research has examined 650 tomb units so far. Three different ethnic or religious groups were buried at the necropolis at the same time, with remarkable respect for other people’s funeral customs, rituals and practices.
The first group includes the graves where the deceased were mostly buried in coffins with a horizontal wooden construction above the pit, which protected the deceased from direct covering with ground. They can be associated with north Mongol tribes, most likely the Khazars and their shamanistic vision of life and death.
The second group is buried in the graves with niches and wooden barriers, which performed the function of preventing the deceased of direct covering with ground. Burial mounds were marked by fragments of the Roman brick with carved seven-pronged candleholder – Menorah This type of graves belonged to the Jewish population or individual Khazars who accepted Judaism.
The third, Slovenian group, buried their deceased in two ways: the first was cremation and burial of the collected ashes in urns and the second inhumation, which was practiced after the acceptance of Christianity, where the the deceased were laid in shallow, almost anatomically dug pit.
The necropolis in Čelarevo is rich with tomb items of high artistic and craft value, which are stored in the medieval collection of the City Museum.
Thanks to many years of field work and work on the archaeological map, medieval collection is rich in archaeological findings and data on a number of localities from Southern Bačka and northern hillsides of Fruška gora.