Key points about this information item National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta, MaltaInformation on the National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta, Malta Description:
National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta, Malta
The Malta National Museum of Archaeology is located in the Auberge de Provence on Republic Street in Valletta. This fine Baroque building dates from 1571 and is richly decorated making a visit to the museum worthwhile for the architecture alone.
The Auberge was used by the Knights of St John as a place to negotiate business deals and also as a banqueting hall. The Grand Salon s now used as a temporary exhibition area. The French occupied the building during their brief stay, while the British used the building for a number of purposes from military barracks to a hotel.
The museum was officially opened in 1958 by Ms Agatha Barbara, who was the Minister of Education of the time. The museum originally contained works of fine art along with the archaeological exhibits, but by 1974 the collection had out grown the building and so the fine arts collection was moved to a new home in Admiralty House on South Street.
The museum was fully refurbished in 1998 and now contains a relatively small but important collection of artefacts from Malta’s Neolithic period of 5200BC. Work iisi currently underway to open the upper floors of the Auberge giving space for permanent exhibits of items from the Bronze Age, Phoenician, Punic, Roman and Byzantine periods.
Items of particular note:
- The Sleeping Lady – Dating from circa 3600 – 2500 BC, the Sleeping Lady is one of the highlights of the museum. It is a small pottery figurine of a lady lying on her side on a couch and there are several hypotheses as to the items meaning
- Venus of Malta – Dating from circa 4500 – 4400 BC, the Venus of Malta is a fired clay statuette f a woman.
- Tarxien Altar – Dating from circa 3600 – 2500 BC, the altar was found at the Tarxien Temples and is housed in the museum for conservation. Experts believe the altar was used for animal sacrifices that may have formed part of a ritual
There are many more interesting items in the museum, which gives a fantastic insight into Malta’s ancient past.
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