Museo Arch Com Ferruccio Barreca
The archaeological museum of Sant'Antioco has a vast collection of artefacts that have been found during the many excavations at the ancient phoenician-punic-roman site of Sulki, presentday Sant'Antioco, and the island. The phoenician and punic collection is of a rare beauty, including fine earthenware and jewellery. Part of the museum is also the Phoenician-punic open air sanctuary, the tophet.
Museo Arch Com Ferruccio Barreca
The archaeological museum of Sant'Antioco, named after the archaeologist Ferruccio Barreca, lies on the north side of the town. The museum can be reached easily by car and in front there is a large parking place. The adiacent area of the tophet is also part of the museum. Other interesting sites of Sant'Antioco are within a short walking distance from the museum.
The modern museum houses a very broad collection of archaeological finds of the island of Sant'Antioco and the nearby site of Monte Sirai. In the rooms these finds are shown in chronological and thematical order. The first rooms contain the many finds from the necropolis and the tophet of Sant'Antioco and the necropolis of Monte Sirai, the typical phoenician-punic earthenware and the votive steles of the tophet. The ceramics are mainly waterjugs and plates that contained the meals for the dead that served them in their journey to the other side. The jars with a flat brim were used to sprinkle perfumed oils over the body. The ceramics are made in yellow or red clay and sometimes decorated with a simple band.
A number of cabinets are filled with amulets, made of glass or ivory, that have been found numerously in the graves. Scarabs and small figures of egyptian gods had the function to protect the deceased. Other cabinets are filled with the jewellery and the perfume bottles in faïence. In the phoenician and the punic world the deceased were buried with their personal belongings, that is why the graves of this period have been particularly rich.
In the nearby tophet many votive stones have been uncovered, a number of these stones are now on display in the museum. The votive stones (steles) were offered as a sign of gratitude for received favours from the deities. The image that is carved in the stones is usually a female figure between two pillars and the fronton of a temple. The female figure is often depicted with her hands holding her breasts, as a symbol of fertility. The divinity is interpreted as Tanit or Astarte, the goddess of fertility. The tophet was in fact dedicated to Astarte and probably also Baal, the male divinity. Few votive stones contain also inscriptions in Phoenician or Punic that express the gratitude of the person making the offer. Some votive stones with the female image have even been used as images of the Madonna incorporating them in the outer wall of houses.
In one niche of the museum models of ancient ships of the phoenician-punic period are shown together with amphora's found in the area of the ancient harbour. The ship with the sail is a typical phoenician trading ship, called by the Greeks gaulos (bathtub). The other two ships are warships primarily driven by oars when engaging in battle, the pentekonter (with fifty rowers). The amphorae were used for the transportation of grain, olive oil and wine. In the punic period these were different from the amphorae of the later roman period, shorter and broader.
The museum also contains the statues of two lions. In the punic period these statues may have stood in front of the main towngate. In the roman period they would have been transferred to the amphitheatre where they have been found during excavations, their faces already smashed and broken.
In the last room the finds of the Roman period are shown. In particular a beautiful mosaic of two panthers drinking from a large crater with wine, above them leaves of the vine, a clear reference to Bacchus. There are also a number of latin inscriptions, even in the roman period punic names were still widely used.
Address: Via S. Moscati - Sant'Antioco
Opening times: 09:00 - 19:00
tel./fax: 0781 - 82105
Prices: Euro 7,00 Museum and tophet (for combined and reduced fees for the archaeological and ethnografical museums, tophet, necropolis and sabaudian fort see the website)
Website: Cooperativa Archeotur
The information has been updated for 2019 but prices and opening hours may vary.