The Archaeological Museum of Pylos was built in 1956 with a donation by dentist Christos Antonopoulos; for that reason it is officially known as Antonopoulio. The Museum was initially created in order to house the rich collection of philhellene Rene Puaux, which he had donated to Pylos. The building was eventually used as an Archaeological Museum, which houses findings from the area of Pylia, from the Middle Helladic to Roman times.
The Museum’s exhibits take up two halls. Among them stand out the findings that were discovered in a tholos tomb in Koukounara at Paleochoria, which include a seal, golden bands, a burial jar and two necklaces, also a large astragalus (“knucklebone”; knucklebones were often used in games of chance) from the Hellenistic tomb of Tragana, as well as a plethora of burial offerings, vessels and copper utensils.
A recent decision was made to transfer the Archaeological Museum of Pylos to Niokastro, the city’s fortress. As soon as this plan has been completed, the Museum’s areas will be turned into storage rooms and a conservation workshop.
The Archaeological Museum of Pylos, also known as the “Antonopoulio”, taken from the name of the man who sponsored its foundation – dentist Christos Antonopoulos from Pedassos, who lived and worked in America – was built between the years 1956 and 1958 and was inaugurated in 1961.
The museum’s initial purpose was to house the rich collection of the French philhellene, Rene Puaux, which included documents, engravings and battle relics. Puaux, who was declared an honorary citizen of the municipality of Pylos, had envisaged the creation of a museum which would house, apart from his collection, all the relics of the Greek Revolution. The museum, the construction of which was fraught with difficulties, in the end housed only part of the Puaux collection, which has still to find its permanent home. The Antonopoulio Museum was eventually used as an archaeological museum, containing findings from the wider Pylos region, from the Middle Helladic to the Roman years.
The museum is divided into two rooms, based on chronological criteria. The first room displays prehistoric findings, of which of particular note are the findings from the Mycenaean tombs of Koukounara, north of Pylos. These include various vases, as well as burial goods, such as golden coins and other valuable objects. The second room contains findings from the Archaic to the Roman years, most significant being the findings from the Hellenistic tomb uncovered at the location of Tsopani Rachi. This tomb also contained gold coins, as well as glass and bronze artefacts.
A few years ago the decision was taken to move the Archaeological Museum of Pylos to the ground floor of General Maison’s building at Niokastro, within the grounds of the city’s castle. This relocation falls under a broader framework of restructuring and better utilization of the castle’s spaces, while the museum will have the opportunity to expand in what is a more modern and spacious site.