Even if you only have one hour available, do not hesitate to visit the Museum and explore its permanent collections. Within one hour you can admire several of the most important artefacts in our collection.
Begin on the exhibition "Life in Prehistoric Macedonia"
- Stand in front of the showcase with the cast of the Petralona Skull. It was discovered in 1960 in the Petralona Cave and it is the oldest secure testimony for the presence of humankind in Greece. It is the skull of a man who has lived approximately 200.000 years ago. It is attributed to Homo heidelbergensis an ancestor of the Neanterthals and a late stage of Homo erectus, a milestone in the evolution towards modern humans. The original is kept in the Museum of Geology and Palaeontology of the Geology Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
- Make a short stop in from of the Prehistoric Metallurgy showcase to take a look at the impressive collection of bronze tools, known as the "Petralona Hoard"
- At the Army section, pause in front of the showcase 2Α. It displays the finds from a large pit grave dating to the late 5th century BC from the northern cemetery of Pydna in Pieria. The dead was placed on a wooden couch. The bronze rings from its foot decorations are preserved. He was accompanied by his armour and helmet, as well as bronze sheets of a war horse armour. The dead, apparently a rider, belonged to the military aristocracy of Pydna, which means that he was a Hetairos (Royal companion). The grave was also adorned by clay vessels. Among them, the impressive assemblage of four white lekythoi stands out, vessels for oils used in burial offerings. They depict scenes taking place in a cemetery, among grave stelae and are attributed to the "Reed Painter".
Move along to the exhibition "Thessaloniki, Metropolis of Macedonia"
- Take a minute to stop in the centre of the main hall, to admire the mosaic floor of a rich house of the 3rd century AD, found in the centre of the modern city. The exhibits displayed around the large mosaic were chosen in order to give us an overview of the environment in the urban houses of the wealthy class during Roman times. The Roman portraits belong to prominent members of the upper class, who were honoured while still alive or after death, the lavish clay and glass vessels were used in official dinners, the elegant jewellery were worn by wealthy ladies. They are all testimonies of the high living standards and the affluent way of life enjoyed by the ruling class of that era.
- The next room is dedicated to the city's burial monuments, and you should stop at an extremely rare find! In 1962 a lead coffin was discovered within a marble sarcophagus in the area of the Municipal Hospital, where the ancient city's eastern cemetery was located. The sealed coffin, alongside the possible treatment of the dead (such as wrapping the body or using plaster that seals humidity) helped preserve organic material of the 3rd century AD burial. According to the skeletal examination, the person was a 50-60 years old woman, 1.60 m. tall. Parts of the gold-woven cloth of her dress were also preserve in exceptionally good condition.
- The next exhibition unit is dedicated to the public and social life of Thessaloniki. Take a pause in front of the "Small arch of Galerius" located at the centre of the hall. We are now in the transition from the 3rd to the 4th century AD. Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus, Caesar of the eastern part of the Empire since AD 293 transferred his seat to Thessaloniki, thus making it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. The city extensively embellished and rebuilt. We also recommend that you visit the archaeological site, in the heart of the city centre, in close proximity to the Museum. If you can spare some time, you can digitally stroll around the baths of the Palace Complex through the Museum's application.
- Our next stop is at the Sarapeion, the important sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods in ancient Thessaloniki. The offerings of the worshippers towards the deities are very interesting. The plaques bearing relief impressions of ears or feet are characteristic offerings. The ears show that the god is listening to the believers' prayers and grants their wishes. The footprints (also known as 'traces' or 'steps') are of Egyptian origin and show the presence of the deity who has listened to the prayers.
- Our last stop in our exhibition about Thessaloniki is on the archaic temple, where the visitor can experience the feeling of moving among remains of an ancient temple. The rich accompanying material presents the story of the discovery of this "itinerant" temple, various representation proposals, as well as how it is displayed inside the Museum.