National Museum of Archaeology

National Museum of Archaeology

is housed in the Auberge de Provence in republic street Valletta. Built in 1571 by local architect Gilormo Cassar, it used to house the Knights of St John which originated from Provence France. The barrel vaulted ceiling was richly decorated in the 17th century by an Italian artist called Nicolo Nasoni. He was responsible to decorate the main corridors of the Piano Nobile at the Grand Master’s Palace .

The National Museum of Archaeology houses the original artifacts from the  prehistoric period which is situated at ground floor level , whilst at the top floor it houses the Phoenician and Punic period.

Exhibited in the first room of the prehistoric period one finds the remains from the first inhabitants of Malta, the Neolithic period 5200b.c – 4000b.c discovered inside the cave of Ghar Dalam. Of particular importance are the ‘Red Skorba’ figurines, the earliest human figures discovered in Malta. The ‘Skorba’ site is situated in the village of Mgarr and the earliest huts were unearthed. These date back to 4500 b.c.

The exhibition continues on to rock cut tombs of the Hypogeum from the Temple period. In the inner most rooms the famous ‘Fat ladies of Malta’ are exhibited. Not to be missed is the ‘Sleeping Lady’ which is a unique statuette discovered at the Hypogeum. The prehistoric period is known for its’ decorated artifacts and stone slabs. At Tarxien temples, symbols which represent horned goats, pig, sheep, bull and sow were all unearthed. At Hagar Qim temple the symbol of a plant carved on a pilaster, most probably of wheat or barley, was discovered, and in the temple of Bugibba, the symbol of a fish was carved. All these carved symbols can be seen at The National Museum of Archaeology. In the last and main hall remains from Tarxien temples are housed. Massive stone slabs with various spiral symbols introduce visitors to the great artistic capabilities that this culture succeeded to achieve during the temple period.

The upper floor of the National Museum of Archaeology houses remains from the Phoenician and Punic period. These two cultures ruled over Malta from the 8b.c – 218b.c. not to be missed is an inscription which was discovered in a tomb in Rabat with the symbol of goddess Isis, a sarcophagus  and a golden amulet represents Horus and Anubis.

The National Museum of Archaeology opening times are from 9 00hrs – 17 00hrs. Contact us to include this museum in your private tour itinerary.