Archaeological Collection of Galaxidi

The Archaeological Collection of Galaxiidi is housed in one of the galleries of the Maritime and Historical Museum of the town and is managed by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Phocis. The building was constructed shortly before 1870, in order to shelter the Girls' School, the Town Hall and the Police department, and it was used as such until 1979, whereas already since 1932 it sheltered a school for weaving and handcrafts. The collection was established in 1932 through donations by citizens and it then hosted excavation finds from the broader regions of Galaxidi in both land and sea.

The exhibition is organised in three thematic units: (a) Private and daily life, (b) Trade and maritime activity and (c) Cemeteries. Its character is mainly educational with plenty of pictures and texts, yet offering a very interesting view on the life of ancient Haleion, with which Galaxidi is identified.

Description of the exhibition

In the first case, to the left of the entrance, are exhibited finds from the ancient settlements in Dexameni, Kefalari, Apsifia and Anemokambi, at the outskirts of Galaxidi, as well as the finds from the earliest habitation, dated to the Early Helladic period (3200-1900 B.C.). Among the exhibits stand out some obsidian blades and pottery sherds from Apsifia, as well as Mycenaean vessels (three-eared amphora, stirrup jar and pyxis) along with Geometric vessels (wine jugs and skyphoi) from the cemetery of Agios Athanasios.

In the next case are exhibited finds from the city of Galaxidi itself. The city wall, extant in many spots within the town and dating to the period of the Aetolian League (beginning of the 3rd century B.C.), surrounded the ancient settlement which was one of the most protected ports of the Corinthian gulf. From the intra muros settlement very few things are preserved, yet we learn a lot about the life in the city by the cemetery which has been excavated in Heroe's Square (Plateia Heroon) as well as through the grave goods of particular tombs.
Among the finds stands out a black-glazed kantharos, two lagynoi, a red-glazed cup, a tiny lekythos with upright handle, some spindle-shaped unguentaria (perfume bottles) and terracotta lamps dated to the Hellenistic and Roman period.

In a case on the NW wall are displayed vessels and finds related to the daily life of the inhabitants. Among the most ancient ones are listed two cotylae with angular handles dated to the 7th century B.C. There are also some skyphoi, an amphorisc, globular aryballoi and cylindrical pyxides of Corinthian workshops, mainly dated to the 6th century B.C. The attic vessels comprise black-figured kylikes and lekythoi of the end of the 6th-beginning of the 5th century B.C., as well as two black glazed kantharoi and a single-handled cup of the last quarter of the 5th century B.C.

Particularly interesting is the red-figured pelike with the representation of a man leaning on a stick and talking to a young man (2nd quarter of the 5th century B.C.).

Spindle-shaped and bulb-shaped unguentaria, lagynoi, amphorae and a cookpot stand out among the Hellenistic pottery of the museum. On the lower shelf are 
also displayed  several Hellenistic and Roman oil lamps, among which stands out one with and anthemion-shaped handle and two holes for the wick. 

Seven vessels made of blown glass (cups, amphorisc, unguentaria) constitute specimens of 
1st century A.D. glass making. Among them stands out a moulded cup, bearing the inscription “Be happy in everything that you participate at”, which is a goading to the guests to enjoy their dinner. 

Beauty items, such as two bronze mirrors, represent women's world. One is formed by a simple disc and it must have been held by a wooden handle, whereas the second one is folding, bearing a lid decorated with a female head; the latter was probably made in a Corinthian workshop (end of the 4th century B.C.). Furthermore, some bronze jewellery of the Geometric period (9th-8th century B.C.), such as hair clips, two 8-shaped spiral brooches and a belt ending up in spires are also displayed. Finally, a pendant in the form of a head of Ammon Zeus probably dates to the Roman period. Pins and needles made of bone suggest a care for one's attire. Household weaving, after all, was one of the basic women's activities, as attested by numerous clay loom weights at the end of the case, one of which bears the name “Agesiou”.

The case right across the entrance displays clay figurines and metal vessels and tools. The clay figurines comes from the site Akona or Ankona on the foothill of the mountain Xerotyri, where a female deity was worshiped. There are mainly busts, seated figures and standing figures with a tall headcover holding a bird in their chest. A tile depicts a sphinx, birds and seated rams. The finds comprise also loom weights, astragaloi and miniature vessels, dated to the late Archaic and Classical period.

More than 100 bronze vessels and utensils from Galaxidi are found scattered in 15 museums in America and Europe. They have all been illegally excavated and exported in the second half of the 19th century. This was attested by the discovery, in 1973, of a peculiar lekythos with bell-shaped body and a tall handle, similar to two more lekythoi of the British Museum and one in Edimburgh which bear the label “Galaxidi”. This type is unknown from anywhere else. This particular vessel is placed next to a black glazed one, possiby from a Corinthian workshop. In the same case is displayed also a 7th century cauldron, a wine jug of the 5th century B.C, as well as a pyxis and an ink bottle, all bronze items from the region of Agios Vlasis.

In a case in the corner is displayed a quasi-globular amphora of the Late Early Helladic II period (2400-2200 B.C.) from Anemokambi, covered entirely with shells' residues, as it was found in the sea. In a lower case are displayed obsidian blades and kernels from Melos island and vessels from Corinth and Athens which attest to the spectrum of trade networks in this region. In a compartment with sand on the floor have been placed seven commercial amphoras for transportation of wine, dated to various periods and of various areas of provenance (Corinth, Corfu, Cnidus, Hellensitic of the 1st century B.C., Aegean type of the 5th-6th century A.D).

At the end of the hall lies entity related to cemeteries, with finds from Agios Athanasios (Geometric period) and from the town of Galaxidi itself (Classical-Roman period). Part of a marble statue and a funerary relief of the Roman period are still displayed as well as three inscribed funerary stelae, two with a pediment and rosettes. One more stele with anthemia is located by the reception. They all date between the 3rd and the 1st century B.C.

Geometric pottery comprises mainly skyphoi and wine jugs from Corinth, as well as some unglazed vessels, whereas the pottery of the Classical period comprises Attic black figured lekythoi, a red-figured little lekythos, two black glazed wine jugs with trefoil mouths and a pyxis, as well as bell-shaped, painted Corinthian lekythoi, black glazed skyphoi and cotylae. The Hellenistic pottery includes lagynoi in various types, Corinthian kantharoi, miniature lekythoi, spindle-shaped unguentaria and several oil lamps. In the Roman period common types are the bulb-shaped unguentaria, usually made of pottery or glass, some amphiconic wine jugs of grey pottery, some red painted vessels as well as oil lamps with depictions in relief. Among them stands out one with the pattern of a gladiator, another one with a cupid and a third one with the depiction of a female figure, holding torches and bearing a crescent on the head, possibly an incarnation of the Night.

Text: Dr. Athanasios Sideris, Archaeologist
Translation: Dr. Aphrodite Kamara, Historian