Archaelogical Museum of Granada is a place that you can not miss it. For the European Community members is totally free. Despite of this, it is very cheap for the rest of the visitors.
Finally, after a too long restoration of the Archaeological Museum (it was closed more than 8 years to the public) it has opened a few months ago, 3 rooms with 150 pieces.
Although they are pieces of reputed relevance, however, the visit is a little short, more especially for in-depth students of the subject.
I have been lucky to be accompanied by the archaeologist Moisés, during a visit of just under an hour, discovering the evolution of the human being as hunter, hunter-gatherer, until the arrival of settlements thanks to agriculture.
It continues with the work of recipients to conserve food and the start of a trade, until the arrival of civilizations such as the Romans that with their roads expand their culture and products, reaching the Muslim period of Al-Andalus.
The first room is dedicated to Prehistory, in the Paleolithic and Neolithic period, and all the pieces testify it, being the most important, the tooth of Orce, of a child that has become the oldest human remains found in Europe.
We have highlighted some small shoes, which have been found in the “cave of the Murciélagos de Albuñol”. It is striking to see the good state of conservation they have dating from the Copper Age, and has been due to the guano or droppings of the bats, which, covering much of the trousseau and everyday objects, have reached us in an exceptional state of conservation.
Bracelets, combs, fibulae and votive sculptures of ivory and alabaster complete the first room. By the way, materials that are not in our area, which speak of an incipient trade, more specifically the ivory from Africa.
The cave of the Murciélagos is currently very transformed due to the extractions of lead and guano, which can be used as an ecological fertilizer, highly appreciated for being rich in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.
The second room shows us the diverse colonizing cultures of Granada and the Iberian times, with the Mare Nostrum trade, where we see a photograph of the industries of Salazón de Sexi (Almuñecar -Granada), which can be visited.
However, I was really impressed by three funerary urns of the Phoenician period, precious alabastrons, of a very important size, and, in the first of them, we see Egyptian inscriptions, which tells us about an Egyptian object, plundered by the Phoenicians, and, thanks to the trade arrived in our country, and reused with the same utility. Surely it would be an Egyptian canopic vessel converted into a Phoenician funerary urn where incineration was common practice. Clear and convincing fact that the plundering of Egypt began at a very early time, as well as the looting of their tombs.
The third room is the room of the great civilizations, Roman and Muslim. We start from the Roman world with the Togada de Periate which is one of the most remarkable pieces, a beautiful Venus, and a bust of Ganymede. Many patricians built their villas in peri-urban areas, and our archaeological museum shows us different examples of this, such as the mosaic of dolphins, very beautiful and well preserved.
Muslim world is the next section, in the second part of the third room, with some remarkable pieces such as oil lamps, fountains, tiling, a very precious inlay box, and, the most beloved and valued object, the astrolabe by Ibn Zawal of 1481, built in Granada by this artisan. This object speaks to us of a high and careful level of knowledge, since in addition to being an instrument of navigation to locate stars and guide sailors, it was an object of religious function to know the hours of prayer, to know when Ramadan began and to be able to orient correctly towards the wall of the Quibla. And also, there is a small selection of Muslim coins, among which we can highlight a square gold dinar.
The Patio of the Archaeological Museum contains Roman markers or cipos that were located on the roadways, indicating the name of the reigning emperor, distances and other important information. Here, you can admire also, the largest and most important piece, the mosaic of the Roman villa of the Mondragones that its correct visualization has been placed on the wall when it was a floor of a Roman villa, with some beautiful geometric drawings, and in quite good condition. This piece is the one I have chosen to put the photo of this post for the blog, for its quality, its size and its special state of conservation.
The upper floor of the museum has its rooms closed to the public but can be accessed by stairs, to see the wonderful views towards the palatine city of the Alhambra with its palaces and citadel. And precisely, the ceiling above the stairs has a magnificent wood paneling, worthy of being admired for the assembly of its pieces.
You should not miss this magnificent visit to the Archaeological Museum, either by our official professional guides of Granada Only, who will gladly transport you to a very distant past of the first settlers of Granada, or on your own take a look at this magnificent legacy, which also is a free pleasure.