7000 years of history
Malta’s location at the epicentre of the Mediterranean made it a focus for myriad settlers, starting with the first arrival of man more than 7000 years ago. The National Museum of Archaeology takes us through this journey and gives us an insight into the lost civilization of the temple builders and the fascinating artefacts that they left behind.
The museum presents a tantalising glimpse into the Maltese Neolithic period. The artefacts on display help us understand how the people used the few resources they had during that period to make things they needed for their daily lives. On display are the earliest prehistoric tools that the Neolithic people used, in addition to representations of animal and human figures, personal ornaments and temple architecture. The cultural significance of these artefacts are frequently sources of debates for archaeologists.
The environment of the museum itself is more than mere background for its exhibits, hosted as it is in the baroque Auberge de Provence, once home to the Knights of St John. The Knights used the museum’s Grand Salon, on the upper floor, as a dining and banqueting hall. Now this impressive space, with its lavish wall-paintings and wooden-beamed ceiling, serves as a venue for temporary exhibitions.
- The exquisite 5000 year-old statuette of the ‘Sleeping Lady’.
- The mysterious ‘Fat Statues’ unearthed from the Neolithic temples.
- The ‘embracing couple’, the sole Neolithic figure so far discovered that depicts human emotion.
- The roofed temple miniature, a stone model representing the former state of the Neolithic temples.
One can overlook some of the most fascinating artefacts in the museum, highly historic and often mysterious, because of their diminutive size! It’s recommended to refer to the museum catalogue during your visit, or attend one of the excellent guided tours available.
Auberge de Provence, Republic Street, Valletta, Malta.
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- The Auberge is only a 5 minute walk away from Valletta’s main Bus Terminus.
- Mon - Sun from 9am to 7pm. Last admission at 6.15pm.
- Closed on 24, 25 & 31 Dec, 1 Jan, Good Friday.
- €5 adults, €3.50 concessions, €2.50 children.
Valletta: highlights of the Museum of Archaeology
Maltese archaeologist and curator of UNESCO World Heritage Sites Reuben Grima provides an insight into the fascinating culture of the megalithic temple builders.