Malta Museum of Archaeology Wonder in awe at Prehistoric Architecture and much more!
Wonder in awe at Prehistoric Architecture and much more!
The Malta Museum of Archaeology provides a deep insight on what life was like during the Prehistoric period in Malta. Other exhibits in the museum date from the Phoenician and Roman Period. The museum also houses various temporary exhibitions.
The National Museum of Archaeology is located in Auberge de Provence, in Republic Street, Valletta. The Auberge de Provence was built in 1575. It was designed by the famous Maltese architect Gerolamo Cassar (or Glormu Cassar as he’s known locally).
The Maltese islands are rich in Prehistoric architecture. A visit to the National Museum of Archaeology is a definite must, if you’re also thinking of visiting the famous Maltese temples.
Most people first go and explore the Neolithic temples and then build up on their knowledge by visiting the museum.
At the museum, you will see the original figurines and statues which you will see replicas of at the temples.
At the ground floor, you will see exhibits related to the Prehistoric period of Malta, from the Ghar Dalam phase (5200 BC) to the Tarxien Phase (2500 BC).
The exhibitions are displayed in chronological order. The museum provides a fantastic opportunity to see first hand how Prehistoric people lived.
At the Tarxien hall, you can see many impressive spiral motifs carved on stones which were removed from the Tarxien Neolithic Temple. The motifs are said to symbolize cyclical continuity.
Also on display is a hollowed altar in which animal bones and flint knives were found. This is further confirmation that animal sacrifices used to occur in the Megalithic temples of Malta and Gozo.
You can also learn how these temples were built.
The “stars” of the museum though, are the many human sculptures, collectively known as the fat ladies. These were found at the temple of Hagar Qim.
These were thought to have been made for ceremonial use. They consist mainly of well-endowed female nude figurines with massive thighs and arms but tiny hands and feet and wearing pleated skirts.
A lot of them are headless, suggesting that perhaps different heads were used according to the ceremony at hand. It is widely believed that these figurines represented the Fertility Goddess.
Other figurines seem sexless and continue to baffle archaeologists to this day.
The most popular exhibit of the National Museum of Archaeology is the sleeping lady. This hand sized detailed statue was found in the Hypogeum and depicts a lady in a reclining position.
Location: Auberge De Provence, Republic Street, Valletta.
Opening Hours: Daily from 9.00 am till 7.00 pm. Heritage Malta conducts one-hour guided tours at 10.00 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and at 10.00 am and 11.30 am on Sundays.
The museum is closed on the 24th, 25th and 31st of December, 1st of January and on Good Friday.
Entrance Fee: Euro 5.00. (Discounts apply for students, children and senior citizens).
Telephone: 21 221 623
If you've always been intrigued by Prehistoric artifacts and archeological discoveries, then this is one museum you wouldn't want to miss!