Alexander the great at the waterfront of Thessaloniki
On Saturday we had time to do some exploring; some choose to wine & dine, others to shop and some went to museums etc, though yet some did a triplet.
I was accompanied by Anne-Sofie Gräslund (professor of Archaeology at Uppsala University) and Gunnel Engwall (professor of French Language at Stockholm University) and we took the in depth tour including two museums and some scenic spots in the city. I’ll start off with Archaeological museum, unfortunately I’d missed that photographing was allowed as long as no flash was involved, so the bigger part of the museum is not represented by photos.
The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
The museum covers a long period of time, among the oldest finds on display are fragments (though plaster casts) of a skull belonging to an early anthropoid called Ouranopithecus macedoniensis aka Graecopithecus (ca 8 million y o), known from Axios Valley and Chalkidiki in Macedonia (more info here), and a copy of the skull of Petralona (ca 200000 BC) to the Middle Ages. The collections are impressive and I kind of like the displays and info texts. Most of the museum was rather traditional in style, and takes the visitor from the earliest hominid finds to the Middle Ages divided into categories such as ceramics, grave goods, weapons etc. The information signs are also rather traditional, e.g. part descriptive and part story telling – and I kind of like that. It was a good mix of telling what is on display, how it is interpreted and a bit about the context. In some cases there are also larger information signs with more in depth texts for those wanting to learn more and some multimedia presentations.
Ouranopithecus macedoniensis aka Graecopithecus
Further more it is always interesting to visit a museum with others that sheers ones interest which on many occasions led to discussions about certain finds and how they relate to Scandinavian finds. On thing we noticed was that all maps ended just south of the Baltic Sea hence missing the Scandinavia and the Baltic Countries. There are several finds that links the Mediterranean with the Scandinavia and Baltic areas during the prehistory. I also miss a section on historical archaeology, I guess those collections are to be found at some other museum but it should have a place here as well. Another flaw is the logic of the museum, it isn’t easy to find the right way.
Stone cists outside of the museum
No to the goodies, as I found out photographing was allowed I’ve just entered the gold room. Well I got some good photos;
Silver calyces used as wine glasses. Grave goods ca 300 BC.
The Darveni crater is a vessel was used as a burial urn but was originally used as a vessel where wine and water was mixed. 4th century BC.
Iron model of a two wheeled wagon- Grave goods c. 540 BC. We discussed this a bit as it is very similar to wagons found in Scandinavian rock art from the Bronze Age.
Pictures from Kivik grave, ca 1000 BC, Scania, Sweden
Glass alabaster perfume vases. Grave goods ca 300 BC.
Different gold ivy wreaths, grave goods from the 3rd-4th century BC.
…with the reflection of Anne-Sofie Gräslund
Next post will be on the Bysantine museum.