Delos Archaeological Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

Delos Archaeological Museum

Agios Ioannis Diakoftis, Aegean, Greece

The Delos Archaeological Museum houses finds from the ancient site of Delos.

Peta Stamper

01 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Delos Archaeological Museum

The Delos Archaeological Museum contains findings from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Delos in Greece. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Delos was an ancient Greek holy site, believed to have been the birthplace of the deity Apollo.

Amongst its collection, the Delos Archaeological Museum houses a range of pottery, funerary artefacts and stelae as well as mosaics and jewellery. One of the most celebrated exhibits at the Delos Archaeological Museum are the lion statues from the Terrace of the Lions.

Whilst many exhibits relate to the ancient Greek period, the Delos Archaeological Museum has pieces dating as far back as the 25th century BC, offering an overview of the island since it was first inhabited.

Delos Archaeological Museum history

In 1872, the French School at Athens started their excavation of the island Delos where the ancient Greek sacred site was located. The project was massive in scale – even continuing today – and as the artefacts found grew in number, an on-site museum was built in 1904 by the Archaeological Society of Athens to house the different archaeological findings. The museum’s 5 rooms has since been expanded to 9.

Delos Archaeological Museum today

Today, any visit to the archaeological site of Delos would not be complete without stopping by the Delos Archaeological Museum to explore some of the items that bring the ancient sanctuary to life. From the first habitation of the island in the 25th century BC to the 1st century BC, the ancient pottery collection documents the island’s long history.

A particular highlight are the extensive and well-preserved mosaics dating back to the 1st century BC from the House of Dionysus. The god is shown with wide-stretched wings, riding a tiger that is wearing a string of vines and grapes around its neck. There are also of course remains of sculptures of Apollo, one of which is a colossal hand, once part of a statue dating from 600 BC and dedicated by Naxos.

Ultimately, this small museum is an essential part of understanding the cultural significance of the site at Delos, and is a great chance to get out of the sun after walking around the archaeological park.

Getting to Delos Archaeological Museum

Delos is a small island in the Greek Aegean Sea. To get there from Mikonos, drive up the coast to Mikonos New Port before catching the Delos – Mikonos Ferry (roughly an hour). Port Delos is next to the archaeological site and a 20 minute walk from the museum.

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