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Acropolis Museum Collection | Explore the Archaeological Findings from the Acropolis of Athens

The Acropolis Museum, located in the heart of Athens, showcases a comprehensive collection of artefacts from the Acropolis archaeological site. Home to over 4,200 antiquities and relics, this modern museum brings history to life through its extensive exhibits and offers visitors a deep dive into the ancient Greek way of life.

Discover the Acropolis Museum collection

The Acropolis Museums collection spans several centuries from the Greek Bronze Age (circa 3200 BC) to Roman and Byzantine Greece (circa 600 AD). Most of the artefacts belong to the Ancient Greek period between 1200 BC and 300 AD.

Visitors can explore galleries dedicated to the Archaic period, the Parthenon, and everyday life in ancient Athens through more than 4,200 artefacts that showcase the evolution of Greek art and culture. The museum’s highlights include the Caryatids, majestic female statues from the 5th century BC, and the Parthenon frieze, intricate reliefs depicting historical and mythological scenes.

Galleries at the Acropolis Museum

The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis

Location: Ground floor

Notable artefacts: Offerings to the gods, ancient pottery, reliefs and figurines

This gallery immerses visitors in the daily life of ancient Athenians, showcasing objects found in the various buildings that were once located on the slopes of the Acropolis. The artefacts here reflect the religious and public aspects of their life.

The Archaic Aropolis Gallery

Location: First floor

Notable artefacts: The Moschophoros (Calf-bearer) and the Kore 675

Home to the early masterpieces of Greek art, this gallery presents statues and offerings from the 7th century BC to the early 5th century BC, before the Persian invasion. The exhibition highlights the development of freestanding sculpture and includes korai (female statues), kouroi (male statues), and horsemen, showing the evolution of archaic art and dedications at the Acropolis.

The early history of the Acropolis

Location: First floor

Notable artefacts: Early Mycenaean pottery, tools, figurines, and remnants of the formidable walls 

This gallery uncovers the layers of history that transformed the Acropolis from a typical settlement into the epitome of Athenian power and religious devotion. Through a carefully curated selection of artefacts, visitors are taken on a journey through time, exploring how this sacred hill evolved to become the heart of ancient Athens.

Other Monuments of the Periklean Building Programme

Location: First floor

Notable artefacts: Karyatids, friezes from the Erechtheion, parts of the Propylaia’s ceiling and columns, friezes and segments of parapets from the Temple of Athena Nike

This gallery pays homage to the ambitious building programme initiated by Pericles, the ancient Greek politician under whom the most iconic structures of the Acropolis were constructed. It showcases the architectural grandeur of the period and reflects the democratic ideals and cultural flourishing of Athens under Periclean leadership.

From the 5th century BC to the end of Antiquity

Location: First floor

Notable artefacts: Fragments of the Parthenon’s elaborate frieze, detailed metopes, and majestic pediments

This expansive gallery celebrates the zenith of artistic and architectural achievement on the Acropolis during its golden age. It chronicles the evolution of Athenian art and architecture, showcasing the city-state’s cultural dominance through a rich collection of sculptures and artefacts.

The Parthenon Gallery

Location: Third floor

Notable artefacts: The Parthenon friezes, the metopes

Centred around the Parthenon friezes, this gallery offers a comprehensive view of the decorative sculptures that adorned the temple of Athena. Visitors can appreciate the friezes in their historical context through an architectural layout that mirrors the Parthenon’s dimensions.

The Archaeological Excavation

Location: Basement

Notable artefacts: Everyday utensils, fragments of ancient dwellings, and ornate architectural pieces

Set beneath the museum’s modern structure, this gallery is a testament to the living history underpinning the Acropolis Museum itself. The atrium's glass floor offers a literal window into the past, where visitors can peer into the depths of Athenian history. Watch as archaeologists excavate Ancient Greek buildings, including houses and workshops, and get a glimpse of daily life in ancient Athens.

Highlights of the Acropolis Museum collection

The Moschophoros (Calf-bearer)

Location: The Archaic Acropolis Gallery

Depicting a bearded man carrying a calf on his shoulders, the 6th-century BC Moschophoros or calf-bearer statue symbolises a sacrificial offering to the goddess Athena. It showcases the religious devotion and artistic detail of the period.

The Caryatids

Location: Other monuments of the Periklean building programme – The Erechtheion section

The Caryatids are sculpted female figures that served as support columns in the Erechtheion temple. They elegantly blend form with function while embodying the grace and strength of women. Their enduring beauty highlights the advanced sculptural techniques of ancient Greece.

The Parthenon Frieze

Location: The Parthenon Gallery

The Parthenon Frieze captures the grandeur of the religious procession that was once held during the Panathenaea, an ancient Greek festival. Comprising a detailed relief, the frieze once encircled the temple’s outer walls and celebrated Athena’s patronage and Athenian civic pride. It’s a masterful representation of the ancient Greeks’ artistic achievement.

Statuette of Athena Promachos

Location: The Archaic Acropolis Gallery

This statue depicts the goddess Athena in a confident battle pose, with her arm raised to strike her enemies with a weapon, most likely a spear. Made of bronze and created in the 5th century BC, the statue shows the goddess wearing a magnificent crested helmet and her aegis, which was a protective cloak.

Relief of a small temple and portico

Location: Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis

Made of Pentelic marble, this relief sculpture depicts the god Aslepios, his wife Epione, and his daughter Hygeia receiving worshippers at his temple. Reassembled from several fragments found in the Sanctuary of Asklepios on the south slope of Acropolis Hill, it includes many sculptural elements typical in Greek art during the Classical period. It is one of the most beautifully restored artefacts at the Acropolis Museum.

The Nike Adjusting Her Sandal (Sandalbinder)

Location: Other monuments of the Periklean building programme – The Temple of Athena Nike section

Masterfully carved from marble, this sculpture captures Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, in the act of adjusting the sandal on her right foot. The elaborate folds of the garment and the way it is draped over the body showcase the unparalleled craftsmanship of Athenian sculptors in depicting complex, transient movements in a timeless medium.

The Peplos Kore

Location: The Archaic Acropolis Gallery

The Peplos Kore is the statue of a young woman wearing a peplos – the traditional ancient Greek women’s attire. It is significant because of the decorations in vibrant colours that once adorned it, challenging the monochromatic image of ancient sculpture. It also provides a glimpse into ancient Greek fashion and clothing practices.

The Kritios Boy

Location: The Archaic Acropolis Gallery

Marking a significant evolution in Greek sculpture, the Kritios Boy exemplifies the shift towards realism and the introduction of contrapposto – or a statue depicted standing with its weight resting on one foot. It offers insights into the intellectual and artistic advancements of the early Classical period of ancient Greece.

Fragments of the Erechtheion Frieze

Location: Other monuments of the Periklean building programme – The Erechtheion section

An intricate Ionic frieze once surrounded the Erechtheion in the Acropolis of Athens, depicting ancient Greek gods, heroes, citizens, and scenes from Greek mythology. Today, fragments of this frieze have been preserved and kept in the Acropolis Museum. They showcase the exquisite craftsmanship of the ancient Athenians and provide a window into their spiritual and cultural world.

Loutrophoros

Location: Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis

The Loutrophoros-amphora is one of many clay amphorae (two-handled jars) recovered and displayed at the Acropolis Museum. However, it is notable because of the decorations in the form of ritualistic scenes depicted on it using the black-figure technique. Since a Loutrophoros was used in wedding ceremonies, scenes of a wedding procession are inscribed on its narrow neck and wide body. It provides a rare insight into Ancient Greek culture and customs.




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Frequently asked questions about the Acropolis Museum collection

What kind of artefacts does the Acropolis Museum hold?

The Acropolis Museum boasts a diverse range of artefacts, including sculptures, friezes, pottery, and everyday objects from ancient Greece, primarily focusing on the Acropolis's archaeological findings. These pieces span several centuries from the Greek Bronze Age through the Roman and Byzantine periods.

How big is the Acropolis Museum collection?

The Acropolis Museum collection includes more than 4,200 artefacts, carefully curated to tell the story of the Acropolis and its surrounding area through the ages. It is one of the most comprehensive collections of Greek antiquities.

Is the entire Acropolis Museum collection on display?

Not all the artefacts from the Acropolis Museum collection are permanently on display. The museum selectively displays artefacts that best represent the historical and cultural significance of the Acropolis across different eras. Some items are in storage for preservation or research purposes, but the collection is rotated to allow varied exhibitions.

How long does it take to see the Acropolis Museum collection?

Generally, it takes about 2 to 3 hours to thoroughly explore the major exhibits of the Acropolis Museum collection. Those with a keen interest in ancient history or art might wish to spend longer to fully appreciate the details of the collection.

What are some of the highlights from the Acropolis Museum collection?

The key highlights of the Acropolis Museum collection include the Caryatids from the Erechtheion, the Parthenon Frieze, the Moschophoros (Calf-bearer), and the Kritios Boy, among others. These artefacts showcase the pinnacle of ancient Greek art and architecture.

How old are the artefacts in the Acropolis Museum collection?

The artefacts in the Acropolis Museum collection range from the Greek Bronze Age (circa 3200–1100 BC) to Roman and Byzantine Greece, making some of the oldest pieces over 5,000 years old. The collection offers a comprehensive overview of Greek history and culture through the millennia.

Is it necessary to book tickets in advance to see the Acropolis Museum collection?

The Acropolis Museum is one of the most visited attractions in Athens. Booking your tickets at least a week in advance is highly recommended, especially during peak tourist seasons, to avoid long waiting times.

What is the best time to visit the Acropolis Museum?

The best time to visit the Acropolis Museum is during the off-peak season months from April to mid-June and mid-September to the end of October. You can also visit early in the morning during the summer months to avoid crowds and the midday heat. Weekdays are typically less crowded than weekends.