Among the Seville museums, the Museo Arqueológico is a very special one. Not only it contains invaluable pieces of art (some of them more than 2,000 years old!) but it is also one of a kind on its own.
Check the Museo Arqueológico website for more information on opening hours and entrance fares.
The museum is currently closed to undergo renovation work. Some of the highlights are exhibited at the Convento de Santa Inés.
5 keys to the Museo Arqueológico in Seville
Not only does the Archaeological Museum in Seville have one of the best collections in Spain, it’s also very well organized and distributed. It’s inexpensive, educational, and interesting, all of which make it very worthwhile.
- It has one of the most complete collections in Spain, with almost 60,000 pieces, among which those from the Roman period stand out for their quality.
- With works dating back to the Neolithic Age through Roman occupation and the time of the Moors, this museum tastefully and successfully demonstrates the different ruling periods of Spain and gives a fascinating window into the past of the Andalusians who occupied the land 1500 years ago.
- You’ll find one of the most extensive collections of Roman works of art from Seville and its surroundings.
- If you take a day trip to the nearby Itálica (the best preserved Roman city in the entire Iberian peninsula!) visiting this museum is an absolute must to compliment what you see at the ruins of Itálica since the bulk of the museum’s collection comes from there.
- You can see the prehistoric remains of municipalities such as Valencina de la Concepción or Castilleja de Guzmán, one of the most important archaeological centers in the region with a multitude of mounds and dolmens from the Bronze Age (third millennium BC).
A little bit of history
The Museo Arqueológico de Sevilla was inaugurated in 1867. And it was first located at the Alcázar.
The museum was actually founded after a meeting of the Seville Museums Board. The Board was created in 1835 to manage the incredibly huge collection of art, masterpieces, sculptures, mosaics and other objects coming from convents and monasteries plundered by the Mendizábal liberal government.
The former Antiques Museum – precursor of today’s Arqueológico, started in the mid-19th century exhibiting several private collections. Then, the initial collection was complemented with confiscated church properties and from what was left of the Itálica excavations.
Throughout the years, it has grown considerably and it now covers the period from the Roman Empire to the Middle Age (15th century).
The Museo Arqueológico is located at Maria Luisa Park, Seville’s largest green extension.
The exact location is at the Plaza de América (America Square) where you can see a grandiose complex of beautiful neomudejar style buildings – a style can only be seen in Seville. As a matter of fact, the Museo de Artes y Costumbres is right in front of the Museo Arqueológico.
Both buildings were built along with the Plaza de España for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. And this particular construction was the Renaissance Pavillion during the Exposition.
What to expect from the Museo Arqueológico
The museum is organized in 27 rooms arranged in chronological order, from Prehistory (Lower Palaeolithic) to the Middle Ages:
- The ground floor is dedicated to prehistory, Iberian Turdetan culture with stone sculptures of people, animals and gravestones.
- The underground floor is devoted to El Carambolo treasure, a remarkable example of the level achieved by the gold and metal workers of the Tartessos culture.
Through its permanent collection, the museum offers a reading of history in the light of recent archaeological discoveries in the region.
Masterpieces not to miss
The Museo Arqueológico has a very rich collection, particularly of the Ancient Roman Empire. Apart from the usual daylife objects, the sculptures and mosaics are impressive. But there are also other highlights…
- El Carambolo treasure made of 21 crafted gold pieces (16 rectangular plates, 2 pectorals or pendants, 1 necklace and 2 bracelets) of Phoenician jewelry dating from the 6th century. The design is clearly inspired by an Oriental influence, raising questions about who these people were.
- The statuette of a Phoenician fertility goddess named Astarte-Tanit, sitting on a footstool. This is the oldest and most extensive testimony in Phoenician language found in the Iberian Peninsula.
- The Trial of Paris mosaic, dating from the second half of the 4th century, during the time of the low Roman Empire. It comes from a villa of the Alcaparral, in the municipality of Casariche (Seville).
- The sculptures of local born emperors, Trajan (discovered in 1788 in Itálica) and Hadrian.
- The Mairena treasure including 13 pieces (a torque, a tiara, a fibula, a belt, a ring, 2 pendants, 3 bracelets and 3 silver cups. The context in which it was found is unknown, although it was probably hidden during the second half of the 3rd century BC, at a time of instability associated with either the Carthaginian conquest or the second war between the Romans and the Carthaginians.
- The sculpture of Venus (Afrodita Anadyomene) emerging from the sea.
- The Triumph of Bacchus (Triumph of Dionysus) mosaic dating from the 3rd century BC and discovered in Écija.