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Excursions: Archaeological Museum of Schimatari                                                                                                                                                                             


   The Schimatari Archaeological Museum, built in 1890, is the earliest in Boeotia. It was founded at the expense of the Archaeological Society to house finds mainly from the cemeteries of Tanagra or which had been retrieved in the field, and also finds from the first excavations conducted by the Archaeological Society. A large number of grave stelai was all that remained after the looting of ancient tombs at the beginning of the 1870s. The objective of these illegal excavations, the superb clay figurines known as Tanagra figurines,, were mostly smuggled abroad.

   The museum closed in 1983 for repairs and modernization. The aim was to reopen it in a new form, with its display enriched by the finds from recent rescue excavations. The renovated Schimatari Archaeological Museum opened its doors to the public in 2006. Through the exhibits in the new, permanent display, most of them finds from tombs, visitors can follow the evolution of the art of Tanagra over the centuries and acquaint themselves with the history of exhibits and the myths, cults and burial practices associated with them. The inscriptions constitute authentic, living testimony to the ancient history of the area and provide information relating to festivals, the economy, the administration, and cultural and economic contacts with other regions. Recent investigations have provided additional evidence for the historical and monumental topography of the area.

The objects on the display in the courtyard and the five rooms of the Museum cover an interval ranging from prehistoric times to the Early Christian period.


   The courtyard is flanked by two large porticoes housing various kinds of funerary monument, architectural members from public buildings and sanctuaries, and two Christian inscriptions in verse relating to burial practices and beliefs about life after death.


   The vestibule contains texts, accompanied by visual aids, providing general information about the city and surrounding area of the ancient Tanagra, the myths, cults and sanctuaries, the burial practices and funerary monuments, the history of the illegal excavations and the archaeological investigation of the area.

--------------PREHISTORIC ROOM----------------------------------------------------------------

    The room devoted to prehistoric times contains a display of objects from various sites in south-east Boeotia. Prominent among them are two larnakes (coffins) with painted representations, figurines, vases, jewellery, etc, from the chamber tombs in the area of modern Tanagra, and a poros cube with engraved depictions of ships from Paralia, Avlis (ancient Hyria?).

--------------ARCHAIC ROOM----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The exhibits in the Archaic Room - funerary monuments, figurines and vases - all come from the cemeteries of Tanagra.

--------------CLASSICAL ROOM--------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Classical Room has some important grave reliefs and offerings (vases, figurines and small objects). One significant exhibit consists of an inscription with the names of the Tanagraeans who died in the battle of Delion. The pedestal was probably erected above a public polyandrion.


    In the corridor leading from the Classical Room to the Hellenistic Room is a display of small sculptures and grave reliefs mainly of Classical and Hellenistic date (two marble statuettes of Aphrodite, a miniature hermaic stele, a statuette of a dog, fragments of relief rave stelai and stelai in the form of a small temple, etc.).

--------------HELLENISTIC ROOM-----------------------------------------------------------------

    The Hellenistic Room contains proxeny decrees passed by Tanagra, relief grave stelai, various kinds of funerary monument, 'Tanagra figurines', vases and small items from tombs, as well as an accurate copy, kindly presented by Professor D. Knoepfel, of an important decree now on display in Louvre Museum.

--------------ROMAN ROOM------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the Roman Room are various kinds of funerary monument, including a number of relief stelai with representations of priests or devotees for Hermes, Dionysus and Isis. Two large sculptures, a headless statue and a Kayatid, are impressive. The display case contains finds from Roman tombs in the region, and also from commercial buildings of ancient Delion (modern Dilesi). Finally, there are two important inscriptions: one, found at Tanagra, refers to the festivals of the Sarapeia, and the other, found at Dilesi, is a list of ephebes of an age to be conscripted.

Source: Ministry of Culture
        Archaeological Receipts Funds
        57, Panepistimiou St. - 105 64 Athens
        Tel.:2103722500 - FAX:2103242684
        Publications Department


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