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Volos Archaeological Museum

Perhaps you have never heard of the Athanassakeion Archaeological Museum of Volos. Well, it’s not famous. It is not even well known. Nevertheless, it houses an impressive collection of artifacts from the Neolithic era, with some of them dating back to 6500 B.C.! Naturally, there are also exhibits from the Mycenaean and Roman Era.

It was constructed in 1909 at the eastern seaside of Volos. Alexios Athanassakis, a merchant from Portaria, financed its construction and granted it to the Greek State after it was completed. It was only natural that the museum was named after him.

In 2004, before the Olympic Games in Athens, a new wing was added to the Museum, which now had 1200 square meters of exhibition rooms.

One hundred years after the foundation of the Museum, in 2009, the permanent exhibition open in the new wing under the title: “The development of the Thessalian city in the area of Pagasetic Gulf from the Mycenaean period to the Roman imperial times”

Let’s take a look at some interesting exhibits. Please note that these are just a tiny sample.

Deep bowl with tubular handles, for domestic use. Early bronze age, 3200-2100 BC.

Clay figurines; enthroned male, "Phi" type female, animal. Late Bronze Age (Mycenaean period) 15th-12th century BC.

Closed "carinated" vase with incised decoration. Late Neolithic period 4700-4600 BC.

Female and male clay figurines declaring various positions, gestures, age and human activities. Early-Middle Neolithic period, 6500-5800 BC.

Vases of clay, grave offerings from the tholos tomb in Pherai, 1000-800 BC.

Golden necklace made of tesserae in the shape of rosettes and lily-papyrus flowers. From the Mycenaean Tholos tomb at the site "Kazanaki" of Volos, 1500-1300 BC. The tomb was discovered in 2004, while building the ring road of Volos.

From the Mycenaean Tholos tomb at the site "Kazanaki" of Volos, 1500-1300 BC.

From the Mycenaean Tholos tomb at the site "Kazanaki" of Volos, 1500-1300 BC.

From the Mycenaean Tholos tomb at the site "Kazanaki" of Volos, 1500-1300 BC.

Clay figurines of the "Phi" and "Psi" types. From the settlement at "Palaea" and from its necropolis at Nea Ionia. Late Bronze Age or Mycenaean Period 16th-11th c. B.C.

Clay vessels from the settlement at "Palaea" and from its necropolis at Nea Ionia. Detail. Archaic and Classic Age, 700-400 BC.

The head of a marble statue, probably of goddess Aphrodite from the Acropolis of Pherae. Classical Period, 4th century BC

Marble votive stele with a representation of god Apollon and the dedicator. Classical Period, 4th century BC.

Panathenaic amphora depicting goddess Athena on the front side and four athletes on the back side. The name of Pythodelos, Eponymous Archon of Athens, is inscribed, 336/335 BC.

Silver coins from the Theater of Demetrias, 476-427 BC.

Bronze statuette of Zeus from Demetrias, discovered in shrine of a house of the Roman period. 3rd century AD.

The tombstones exhibited in the museum are very interesting and very moving. Their original paintings are still clearly visible, depicting the deceased. The texts engraved on them are worth mentioning. Take a look:

Hediste's tombstone.

Hediste's tombstone. Detail.

Here is the translation of the tombstone's inscription:

“The Fates unfolded a sorrowful thread from their spindle for Hediste, when newly-wed she faced the pains of childbirth. Miserable, because she was not to embrace her child neither to moisten her infant's lips with her breasts. As soon as the baby saw the light of the sun, Fortune fell on these two with cruelty and drew them in one tomb, both mother and child.”

One more:

Archidike's tombstone.

Archidike's tombstone. Detail.

The translation of the inscription:

"If you Radamanthes or you Minos, have judged another woman as virtuous, judge also this daughter of Aristomachos. Lead her to the islands of the happy people, because she was devout and fair. Tylisos, city of Crete, had brought her up and this land surrounds her now. Your fate, Archidike, rated you among the immortals."

It is hard not to think that human suffering has been the same since man walks on this earth, and probably will forever be the same. It is also hard not to appreciate the literary value of these words, written more than 2000 years ago.

Visiting this museum is like deep diving into the past of this land, starting from 6500 BC and finishing at about the 4th century AD. You will leave the museum convinced that Volos and the surrounding area has been bustling with human activity for at least 8500 years. This is quite a feeling, we are sure you will agree.