A spectacular collection and an alluring experience of the Maltese Islands’ prehistory and early history. With artefacts dating back from Malta’s Neolithic period (5900-2500BC) up till the early Phoenician period (8th – 6th Century BC), the National Museum of Archaeology is definitely your first step to understanding the richness of the land you tread on, its people and their ancestors.
The ground floor, dedicated to the Neolithic period, displays the earliest tools and vessels used by the prehistoric people to facilitate their daily tasks. Representations of animal and human figures not only show advanced artistic skills of the first islanders but also give us an insight of their daily lives. Excavated from the renowned Maltese UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the megalithic temples and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, these include highlights such as ‘The Sleeping Lady’, The Venus of Malta and the colossal statue from Tarxien temples.
The upper floor currently houses the Bronze Age and the Phoenician period sections. The majority of the artefacts vary in size from small ritual vessels to funerary urns and amphorae. Phoenician glass and gold artefacts alongside an impressively large terracotta sarcophagus enjoy the pride of place in this section. The National Museum of Archaeology is housed within the Auberge de Provençe, a fine exemplar of a Baroque that flourished in Malta during the Knights of Order of St John. Dating back to 1571, it housed the langue of Provençe, France.
An attraction on its own merits, the upper floor prides the Gran Salon, a uniquely large painted hall, with decorations dating to the early 1800s. This is currently being used for national exhibitions and a miscellany of events such as conferences, fashion shows, photoshoots, and tv filming. At the National Museum of Archaeology, we also have back to back temporary exhibitions which normally showcase artefacts from the reserve collection.