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Archaeological Museum of Trifilia

The Archaeological Museum of Trifilia is located in the town of Chora, in the Prefecture of Messenia. It was founded in 1969 with the intention of creating a building to house the excavations that had begun in the area and were rapidly picking up pace. The most important discovery that came to light in the wider area of Trifilia and Pylos is the famous palace of Nestor, of the 13th century B.C.

From the palace of Nestor derive the Museum’s most important exhibits. Apart from vessels and various items of daily use, the visitor can also admire fragments from the great murals that adormed the palace, as well as clay tablet moulds written in Linear B. Among the important findings housed in the Museum, the visitor will find: a huge jar, possibly for storing olive oil; a large white marble lamp found in one of the palace’s corridors; findings from a tholos tomb discovered on Vagenas hill, near the palace, such as copper bottle, kraters and golden rosettes; golden artifacts from graves on Peristerias hill, in Kiparissia, as well as valuable items found in principal tombs.

At the beginning of the last century, a wave of excavations spread through the regions of Trifylia and Pylos, bringing to light a number of archaeological findings, testimony to the rich and active civilization that flourished in antiquity in this region. Among the most important and impressive findings was the Palace of Nestor, on the hill of Epano Englianos, dating back to the 13th century BC. All important discoveries in the area, the most prominent being that of this palace, required a special place in order to be housed and to be made available to the public. Thus, the Archaeological Museum of Trifylia was founded in 1969, in the town of Chora, in the prefecture of Messinia.

The findings from the Palace of Nestor take up most of the museum’s space. Here the visitor will see parts of the exquisite frescoes adorning the palace, some of them showing the clear influence of the Minoan style, for example, a bull-leaping athlete, a popular sport in Minoan Crete. There are also casts from the Linear B clay tablets. These tablets were the only items saved from the fire that levelled the building in the 12th century. There is also a large lamp, made of white marble, discovered in one of the palace’s corridors, which was apparently used for lighting, as well as various vases, principally for everyday uses, such as cooking pottery that still bears the marks of the fire.

Apart from the findings from the Palace of Nestor, the museum also houses others, found in two tholos tombs on Vagena hill, close to the palace: a crater depicting a scene from a hunt, relief gold rosettes, a bronze bottle, a bronze dagger, as well as four large jars. From another tholos tomb, an enormous jar, adorned with horizontal rings, possibly used to store oil, is especially impressive. Other exhibits come from the excavations of the large Mycenaean burial ground in Volimidia, by Spyros Marinatos; findings from the tholos tombs of the Peristeria hill in Kyparissia as well as findings from the excavations at the princes’ tombs in Routsi, Myrsinochori, dating from the 15th century.

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