Museo Archeologico Nazionale e Castello di Gioia del Colle
Gioia del Colle
Housed in the Norman-Swabian Castle of Gioia del Colle, the halls of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale exhibit relics from the excavations of the old settlement on Monte Sannace. Fully renovated, the Museum features new exhibits, informative displays and visual set-ups.
The Museo Archeologico Nazionale, its laboratories, offices, services and exhibition halls, is part of Gioia del Colle’s Norman-Swabian Castle. It was opened in 1977 to collect all the relics found in the excavation of the ancient settlement on Monte Sannace. The Museum was built to house the important archaeological discoveries of the 1929 excavations on Monte Sannace, and later on the large number of artefacts unearthed during the excavations conducted between 1957 and 1961. Over time, the findings from subsequent excavations of local archaeological sites were added to the Museum collection. Excavations continue to this day and have been extended to wider areas.
Gioia del Colle Castle is one of those Frederician fortifications that better preserved their architectural layout, typically encompassing an ample quadrangular courtyard, massive corner towers and mighty ashlar masonry curtain walls.
Perched on a hill, 360 m a.s.l., the castle was erected mainly as a fortress to defend the territory at a crossroads of communication along major roads that linked Bari to Taranto, connecting the Ionian-Taranto region with the Adriatic coast.
The building is the product of an architectural and artistic synthesis developed over three periods (pre-Norman, Norman and Swabian), which also includes more recent contributions, i.e. twentieth century restorations, though fortress is mainly Frederician in style.
The following rooms are open to the public: on the ground floor, the courtyard, the oven room and dungeon below, and two halls containing the archaeological exhibition; on the first floor, the throne hall, the women’s quarters, de’ Rossi tower, the Empress’ tower and three rooms with archaeological displays.
The archaeological exhibition is dedicated to artefacts belonging to the ancient Peucetian population (7th-2nd centuries BC). The collection consists essentially of vessels recovered from grave excavations and daily use vases discovered in the ancient settlement of Monte Sannace, 5 km from Gioia del Colle, which is currently a state-owned archaeological park open to the public. Grave goods include large earthenware jars decorated with geometric patterns, kantharoi depicting swastic patterns, semicircle pendants and Attic, Ionic and Corinthian vessels, evidence of trade between the indigenous Peucetian population and Greek peoples.
In summer, the Castle hosts performances and events, thus becomign a popular cultural and social meeting place for the local community.”
Black-figure Corinthian krater (mid-6th century BC), called “Memnon Krater”. The vase, unearthed during excavations of the acropolis on Monte Sannace, is decorated with a mythological scene, the clash between the Greek hero Achilles and the Trojan warrior Memnon
Antefix with a Gorgon’s head (end of 6th-early 5th century BC) from the acropolis excavations on Monte Sannace.
This helmet is part of the complete armour of a 4th century BC warrior, which also comprises a cuirass and greaves, found in a tomb in Conversano (BA).
Ivory plaque portraying the profile of Silenus (second half of the 3rd century-early 2nd century BC), found in the acropolis excavations on Monte Sannace.
Rattle in the shape of a wild boar with a small warrior wielding a shield and lying on his back, found in Tomb 40 on Monte Sannace (second half of 4th century BC).
Red-figure rython (drinking vessel) in the shape of a stag head, unearthed in Tomb 7 on Monte Sannace (375-350 BC). The upper order features a spear wielding young warrior about to strike a stag, as a satyr approaches the scene with a torch.
Piazza dei Martiri del 1799, n.1
70023 Gioia del Colle
Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities
No profit/donation museum, gallery