National Archaeology Museum, Portugal
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|Location||Praça Império, Belém, Lisbon, Portugal|
The National Museum of Archaeology (Portuguese: Museu Nacional de Arqueologia) is the largest Archaeological museum in Portugal and one of the most important museums in the world devoted to ancient art found in the Iberian Peninsula. Located in Lisbon, the museum was founded in 1893 by the archaeologist José Leite de Vasconcelos. The museum is located in the western wing of the Jeronimos Monastery where the monks had their dormitory. The museum is built in the neo-manueline style and was officially opened in 1906.
The museum is the result of José Leite de Vasconcelos' efforts to create an archaeological museum dedicated to the history of Portuguese man. With the support of the politician Bernardino Machado, a legal decree for the creation of a National Ethnographic Museum was established on 20 December 1893. The museum is the most important centre for archaeological research in Portugal. The museum was given the international "Genio Protector da Colonia Augusta Emerita" prize, awarded by the Foundation for Roman Studies and the Friends of the National Museum of Roman art in Mérida, Spain.
- 1 Collection
- 2 Location
- 3 Mission
- 4 Gifts and donations
- 5 Selected works
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
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|History of Portugal|
The museum's archive consists of Leite de Vasocnelo's initial collection and multiple others: either donated to the state, incorporated from other museums or the result of the extensive archaeological explorations carried out by the museum and its staff. The museum's archive, boasts items from over 3.200 archaeological sites and covers over 500.000 years of the Iberian Peninsula’s history. It has the biggest musicological collection of Roman mosaics in Portugal and an important collection of Portuguese and African ethnography. The museum's archive is available for consultation via MatrizNet.
The main nucleus of the collection consists of arcaica jewelry kept in the Treasures exhibition room, it is one of the most important collections of its kind in the Iberian Peninsula.
Of equal importance are the museum's collections of epigraphy, of which the collection from the Sanctuary of S. Miguel da Mota (from the Endovelicus period) is of particular importance, as are its Roman Mosaics a few of which are National Treasures of Portugal.
The museum's metalwork collection is representative of the mineral and metallurgical history of the Iberian Peninsula, which includes tools created in copper from the Chalcolithic period (middle of the 3rd century BC). Also in its collection are the oldest iron tools found in Portugal found in tombs located in the Alentejo region dating to the first Iron Age (7th-6th Century BC). Of particular importance are a group of artefacts named the "Atlantic Bronzes" and farming tools from the Roman Period.
The museum also has the largest collection of Classical Sculpture in Portugal. From this period, items of particular technical and stylistic value are the toga'd statues from Mertola, Apollo from the Herdade do Álamo (Alcoutim) and the sarcophagi from Tróia and Castanheira do Ribatejo. Of note is the collection found in the Sanctuary of S. Miguel da Mota, which is the largest collection of its kind sculpted in Vila Viçosa / Estremoz type marble. The latter collection was found extensively vandalised, it is presumed this was the result of iconoclasm carried out by early christian communities.
Emblematic of the Celtic period in North-eastern Portugal are the monumental granite statues representing princes or noblepeople, often referred to as the "Gallecian Warriors" which guard the museum's entrance. The museum has the largest and most significant collection of Gallecian sculpture in the Iberian Peninsula. Also in this collection are the "Verraco" zoomorphic sculptures, probably created for totemic purposes.
Even though many Roman mosaics have been found in Portugal, this collection cannot be considered of international importance, especially when compared to collections in neighbouring Spain and Northern Africa. Nevertheless, within this collection, the most important items are mosaics from the Roman Villas of Torre da Palma, Santa Vitória do Ameixal, Milreu and Montinho das Laranjeiras. The most common themes found in these mosaics come from classical mythology: the Journey of Odysseus, Orpheus and the Labour of Hercules. Almost all the mosaics date to the 3rd Century BC.
The museum's collection, built over more than have a century has over 1,000 items of gold jewllery dating from Pre-History to Ancient History. The collection which was kept from the public is now available for all to see, and displayed chrono-culturally. Some of the most important items found in this collection are: the treasures of the Herdade do Álamo and Baião, the Arrecadas from Paços de Ferreira on the notable Torc of Vilas-Boas.
José Leite de Vasconcelos was a noted epigraphist, on account of his love for epigraphy, the museum boasts one of the best national collections of epigraphy. The vast majority of the collection is of Latin Epigraphy, and tombstones. The museum also holds a collection of important Early Christian epigraphy.
Characterised by three motives - funerary, votive and honorific. Templates obeying predefined formula were often used for Roman Imperial Latin epigraphy. Inscriptions such as D.M.S. (dis manibus sacrum), H.S. E. (hic situs est) e S. T. T. L. (Sit Tibi Terra Levis) leave no doubt as to their funerary nature. The museum also holds a notable collection of votives to an indigenous divinity from the Endovelicus period located in the Sanctuary of São Miguel da Mota. Although in lesser numbers, there are also honorific epigraphs, which, amongst others, include the Civitas Ammaiensis to Emperor Claudius (imperial cult).
Medals and coins
The museum has a small medals collection, its coin collection consists primarily of coins from the Portugal's roman period. There are over 30.000 roman coins in the museum's archives, which include some of the first coins used in Lusitania. The vast majority of this collection comes from several collections from the Roman Republican period. A significant collection was found in the Santana da Carnota and in Mértola. rom the late Roman Period, a 3rd Century AD collection was found in Porto Carro and from the 4th Century AD a collection was found in Tróia.
The fragile and difficult nature of preserving organic materials, led to the development of special storage facilities in the museum, where such materials could be stored in a controlled environment. In this deposit are items such as wooden step ladders and ropes from Roman mines located in Vipasca (Aljustrel), mummified remains and baskets and items made from leather belonging to the Egyptian Collection.
The Collection of Ancient Egyptian art contains over 500 items, of which 300 can be found on display. The collection has several origins, the bulk of the nucleus was purchased by José Leite de Vasconcelos in 1909 during his visit to Egypt; later the collections of Queen Amélie of Orléans and of the Palmela Family were added. Despite its relatively small size, this collection covers the history of Egypt from the pre-dinastic to the Coptic eras.
The museum contains holds a diversity of items stemming from the Greco-Roman Mediterranean from the Classic and Pre-Classic period. In this collection, amongst others, are the items collected by José Leite de Vasconcelos in Greece, along with items purchased at auction, as happened recently with an ancient Panathenaic Amphora originating from Pompeii or Herculaneum.
According to the scientific beliefs of the time, Ethnography was central to the museum's underpinnings. To this effect, José Leite de Vasconcelos traveled through numerous regions, obtaining artifacts, which are to this day at the core of the National Museum of Archaeology and the National Museum of Ethnology's collections. Of particular note are the nuclei of Popular Religious Art which contain religious iconography, votive offerings, votive panels, amulets, and pastoral arts (spoons, horns, gunpowder horns) items with keys, musical instruments (including an 18th Century Accordion), toys, and smoking paraphernalia, Portuguese faience from the 17th to 20th centuries from several factories and periods, as well as pottery from Barcleos, Gaia, Caldas da Rainha, Mafra, Nisa, Estremoz, Redondo and the Algarve.
The collection of Amphora in the National Museum of Archaeology is an important testament of the socio-economic relations between the province of Lusitânia and the great economic epicenters of the Roman World. Lusitania's geographic location, situated in between the Atlantic Coast and the Mediterranean Sea, allowed archaeologists to find archaeological remains dating from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD.
The Amphora in the Museum's Collections are today part of a collective study on the complex maritime trade routes of the Roman Empire. Archaeological sites in Mértola, Castro Marim, Torre de Ares and Troia have revealed commercial ties between the oriental and western Mediterranean and the North of Africa through the importation of the famous Baetic olive oil and wine found in amphora type Dressel 20, Dressel 14, Haltern 70 e Africana I e II. One cannot fail to mention the many the many amphora created in Lusitania, namely Almagro 51 C, Almagro 51 a-b, Lusitana 3, Almagro 50, Dressel 14, which were used to store a range of goods, from fish conserves to luxury products such as scented sauces referred to by classic writers as garum ou o liquamen.
The Museum is located in Lisbon in Santa Maria de Belém in the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in a 19th-century building, which was granted by the then-government to the museum on 20 November 1900. The museum takes up almost the whole of the part of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos that faces the Praça do Império. This is an area of high tourism influx on account of its multiple museums and heritage sites.
Throughout the years, the National Museum of Archaeology has been the subject of multiple reorganizations of its space and collection in order to better serve its collection. The National Museum of Archaeology started by being based in Lisbon's Academy of Sciences in room provided by the Geological Commission. In 1093 it was moved to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and on 22 April 1906 it opened its doors to the public. It's reported that José Leite de Vasconcelos was jubilant about this move. However, because the museum became the national deposit of archaeological findings its size increased significantly. In order to solve the physical limitations of its facilities, in the 1950s it was suggested that the museum move part of its collection to the Lisbon University Campus. It has also been suggested that the museum move to the Cordoaria Nacional.
As a museum with over a hundred years of history, its name has changed on multiple occasions and in 1989 it was decided that the museum should be renamed to National Museum of Archaeology - Dr. Leite de Vasconcelos.
The Directors that followed supported multiple archaeological excavations, the finds of which entered the museum. The majority of research carried out, however, has focused primarily on the museum's already existing collection. The museum continues today, with the same basic mission to tell the history of people in Portugal's national territory, from their origins to the birth of the nation. The country's main center for archaeological research is located within the museum.
Besides research and education, the museum is also the national deposit and space for exhibitions of an archaeological nature. The museum also regularly publishes the Portuguese Archaeologist, a publication which has existed since 1895 and is the most important of its kind in Portugal.
Gifts and donations
The National Museum of Archaeology has, in its short history, benefitted from several important gifts and donations, which have enriched its collections. Of particular importance have been the donations of António Bustorff Silva, D. Luis Bramão and the Sam Levy Family.
- Balsa (Roman town)
- Carmo Archaeological Museum
- Castro Culture
- Lusitanian language
- Lusitanian mythology
- History of Portugal
- Timeline of Portuguese history
- Pre-historic Iberia
- Romanization of Hispania
- Raposo, Luis. "Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: percursos e desafios de uma casa centenária nas construções oitocentistas dos Jerónimos. Lisboa:". Grupo de Amigos do Museu Nacional de Arqueologia. Lisboa: Instituto dos Museus e da Conservação: 22–25.
- "The History of the National Museum of Archaeology". Retrieved 17 January 2018.
- "RTP News - National Museum of Archaeology Awarded Prize". Retrieved 17 January 2018.
- "Biography - Dr. José Leite de Vasconcelos". Official Website: National Museum of Archaeology.
- "List of Archaeology Sites Coordinated by the Museum". National Museum of Archaeology (Portugal).
- "National Museum of Archaeology (Portugal) Archives". National Museu of Archaeology (Portugal).
- "Sculpture Collection - National Museum of Archaeology (Portugal)". National Museum of Archaeology (Portugal). Retrieved 18 January 2018.
- Raposo, Luis (2012). "Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: Percursos e Desafios de Uma Casa Centenária nas Construções Oitocentistas dos Jerónimos. Lisboa: Grupo de Amigos do Museu Nacional de Arqueologia". Grupo de Amigos do Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: 22–25.
- Vasconcelos, José Leite de. História do Museu Etnológico Português (1893-1914). Imprensa Nacional. pp. 2–3.
- Raposo, Luis (2012). Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: percursos e desafios de uma casa centenária nas construções oitocentistas dos Jerónimos. Grupo de Amigos do Museu Nacional de Arqueologia.
- Raposo, Luís (2009). "Um projecto para instalar o Museu Nacional de Arqueologia em Telheiras... e as vicissitudes que o acompanharam". Lisboa: Telheiras – Cadernos Culturais. no. 2: 24–33. Página 25.
- "Decreto no. 21, 117 18 de Abril de 1932". Diário da República. 1932.
- Raposo, Luis (2009). "Um projecto para instalar o Museu Nacional de Arqueologia em Telheiras... e as vicissitudes que o acompanharam". elheiras – Cadernos Culturais. 2.a série, no 2.
- Raposo, Luis (2012). "Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: percursos e desafios de uma casa centenária nas construções oitocentistas dos Jerónimos". Lisboa: Grupo de Amigos do Museu Nacional de Arqueologia.
- Fabião, Carlos (2015). "José Leite de Vasconcelos Archeólogo". Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda.: 61–89. Página 78.
- "Important dates in the history of the museum I National Museum of Archaeology". Retrieved 18 Jan 2018.