Places to visit - Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum of Kalymnos is located at Pothia, at the district of Agia Triadha and was inaugurated in the year 2009 Β .The museum building was constructed by the Ministry of Culture, in a property donated for the purpose by the Solonian Home for the Elderly in 1997. In the same property is located the Vouvalis Mansion, an exceptional example of 19th century urban architecture, where a small part of the Prehistoric and Byzantine collection were previously housed.
The organizations of the exhibition as well as partial conversions to the building were implemented by the XXII Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities within the South Aegean Regional Operational Programme 2000-2006.
In the entrance hall a short introduction informs the visitor of the long history of Kalymnos. Artifacts with no indication of provenance, finds of illicit excavations, confiscated or handed-over, are displayed in a case; stripped of their true archaeological value they are presented merely as objects of art. Notable among them are the bronze ceremonial (?) object crowned with a group of five Egyptian deities, of the 1st c. BC- 2nd c. AD, the hydria of alabaster and the krater with a dionysiac scene. On the wall next to the entrance funerary stelae with inscriptions bearing the name of the deceased and funerary banquet relief are exhibited, dating from the 3rd c. BC until the Roman Imperial period. Two large pithoi from Dhaskaleio cave at Vathy belong to the prehistoric section.
In room A, the first section refers to life on the island in the Prehistoric Period, with finds dating from the Late/Final Neolithic down to the Mycenaean period (5300- 1180/1065 BC), from the excavations Β in the Agia Varvara, Dhaskaleio and Choiromandres caves. The exhibit includes tools and vessels of the Neolithic period, pottery an tools of the Early Bronze Age, finds of the Minoan and Mycenaean period; exceptional among them is the bronze Minoan worshipper figurine. The large marble Cycladic statuette is displayed in a separate case; a confiscated item, probably from Amorgos.
The second and largest section of the exhibition refers to the most important religious and political center of ancient Kalymnos, the sanctuary of Apollo Dalios. The great numbers of offerings found in the two votive deposits of the sanctuary testify to the sanctity and cultic character of the site. The early historic times (7th β€“ 6th c.BC) are represented with large kraters and dinoi with painted decoration, a bronze griffin, a great number of terracotta offerings in the shape of bovines and the rare in the area type of draped kouros with painted decoration, dedicated to Apollo, dating in 530 BC. The Classical and Hellenistic times, i.e. from the 4th until the 3rd/2nd c. BC, are illustrated by a great number of marble sculptures, among which sculptures of Apollo (?), nude youths, the goddesses Hygieia (?) and Athena, young children, as well as the colossal figure of the cult statue of god Asklepios, of the 2nd c.BC. The sanctuary section concludes with inscriptions which give valuable information about Kalymnosβ€™ public life, honorary decrees granting privileges to foreigners who benefited the island, testimonies to womenβ€™s status, as well as inscriptions with manumissions of slaves.
In Room B, silver and bronze coins, strikes of Kalymnos and Kos, as well as of foreign city-states are exhibited. The second section includes finds of excavations at Damos, the ancient settlement which developed in the area of Panormos during the Late Hellenistic period. Notable are the relief oil lamps, as well as insence burners, altar miniatures, figurines and metal tools. The third section consists of typical finds from the Kalymnian necropoleis and valuable gold jewelry: diadems, wreaths, impressive earrings, finger rings and appliquΓ©s from the garments of the deceased, vessels, as well as exceptional artifacts of glass. The section ends with a funerary stele with relief depiction of a mother breast- feeding her baby, of the 4th c. BC.
Dominant in the room are unique works of Hellenistic bronze casting, hauled up from ancient wrecks in the wider sea area of Kalymnos. These are the colossal female figure, draped in chiton and tasseled himation, known as the "Lady of Kalymnos", the head of a ruler with kausia and strophion, the legs of a portrait- statue on horseback with elaborate sandals and spurs, and finally, the dolphin.
On the upper floor of the building the Early Christian (4th- 7th c.AD), Byzantine (8thc.- 1453 AD) and post- Byzantine Kalymnos are presented. Architectural members from numerous monuments on the island are used to reproduce an Early Christian basilica, while displays include pottery and everyday life objects, grave offerings, as well as icons and manuscripts, representative cultic objects of the Byzantine period on the island. In the last section finds from the Kastro in Chora Kalymnou and information panels about other castles on the island are presented.
(Text: Anastasia Dreliossi- Herakleidou, Dimitris Bosnakis
Translation: Fotini ZervakiΒ
XXII Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities)