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Treasures from Hub of Ancient Greek Civilization at Volos Museum

Archaelogical Musem Historical Treasures
The Athanasakeion Archaeological Museum of Volos in the Greek region of Magnesia holds a wealth of artifacts from the glory days of Ancient Greece. Credit: Thaliapap – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

A hub of civilization since time immemorial, the area around Magnesia’s capital city of Volos, forming a natural amphitheater around the city’s port, is rich in ancient Greek  treasures, which are housed in the city’s museum.

Greece’s spectacular region of Thessaly, with its history of ancient settlements dating back to 6,000 BC, is a treasure trove for anyone who would like to explore ancient Greek prehistory.

Volos is full of treasures from Ancient Greece

Just feet to the right of the modern highway, where cars zip by on their way to the bustling port city, elegant stelae and other ancient monuments are clearly visible, though they have now been fenced off as part of further excavation efforts.

This area of Greece, which also serves as a high-speed ferry hub to the enchanting Sporades islands in the Northern Aegean, is one of the richest in Hellenistic and pre-Hellenistic history, and the exhibits in its archaeological museum there are not to be missed by anyone interested in ancient Greek history.

The Volos Archaeological Museum, officially called the Athanasakeion Archaeological Museum, houses thousands of exquisite finds from the many archaeological excavations that have taken place around Volos and elsewhere in Thessaly.

Steles from Ancient Greek Civilizations
Grave steles, still showing their original paint, at Volos’ Athanasakeion Museum. Credit: Thaliapap – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Exhibits there include artifacts from the nearby Neolithic settlements of Dimini and Sesklo with clay statuettes and a wide variety of items from the Geometric Period, and yet other objects from the heroic events of the Argonauts and the Trojan War.

Steles, Complex Treasures from Ancient Greece displayed at Volos Museum

Excavations of the Mycenean settlement in Dimini began in 1980 by V. Adrimi-Sismani. In 2001, the excavations uncovered a Mycenaean city and palace complex they believed could be part of ancient Iolkos. A stone weight and a shard of pottery inscribed with Linear B writing were also discovered there.

stele volos museum
Exquisite painted stele from Athanasakeion Archaeological Museum, Volos. Credit: Sofia AtmatzidouEulgem, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A great many stelae, with a number of them still showing the rich painted colors given to them in antiquity, are displayed at the museum, along with a range of strikingly lovely statues and even very rare jointed statuettes from the Classical period.

The steles, with relief work from the Hellenistic period, are preserved there alongside   relief statues from the early Christian and Byzantine periods. Other not-to-be-missed exhibits include tombs which have been transported in their entirety from the archaeological sites where they were discovered along with the actual skeletons and votive offerings placed in and around them at the time of burial.

Ancient Dimini was largely in control of the production and trade in an exotic and valuable type of oyster shell, which was used in creating personal ornaments such as rings, beads, and buttons. These items were generally limited to the few elites and functioned as an expression of status.

Volos Museum Hosts Great Finds from Ancient Civilization in Greece

The Volos museum houses more recent and more spectacular finds as well, including the exquisite gold necklace shown above, which features intricate carvings of godlike figures, crescent moon and star shapes and precious gems.

Ancient Greek Glass at Volos museum
Ancient Greek glass in perfect condition at the Athanasakeion Museum in Volos. Credit:Sofia AtmatzidouEulgem, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

For those who love ancient glass, the museum has a collection of two-handled glass jugs, goblets, vases, and amphorae which were found in perfect condition in different archaeological sites.

Just outside the museum there are also some interesting reconstructions of the Neolithic houses which were once in the ancient cities at Dimini and Sesklo not far from present-day Volos.

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