All posts by Sarah Leonard

National Archaeological Museum

Tuesday, May 31st we visited the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid, Spain. The museum had great descriptions of the entire history of Spain including a display on the wall that was color coded and showed the history of Spain back into prehistoric times. Further into the entrance was another display with a three dimensional model of Spain where images were projected onto the surface showing the migration of man through the region over time. Seeing the projections across Spain helped us to better understand what we would be looking at or looking for once we reached our cites in Najera.DSCF1233Within the museum we saw many different exhibits about early human life, but my favorite by far was an exhibit about woven grass items from the Neolithic period (circa 3,000 BCE.) that were found in the Cave of Los Murcielagos in Grenada, Spain. The weavings were accompanied by a plaque describing the works and the types of items found along with the woven items. The woven baskets were found to be made of esparto grass and were dyed before they were woven. Additionally locks of human hair and poppy seeds were found inside of the baskets. Besides baskets, woven sandals had been found. I was especially interested in this exhibit because woven items and fabrics are often very fragile and do not withstand the test of time.

Before visiting the museum, all students were assigned a reading to speak about at the museum. I was assigned an article about The Crown of Reccenswith. The crown was a votive crown that was donated to a church by a Visigothic ruler, King Reccenswith. It was never meant to be worn, instead it would have been hung in a church and bring glory to the patron who payed for it. The lettering at the bottom of the crown say RECCESVINTHVS REX OFFERET (King Reccenswith offers this) in Latin. The crown has many inlayed Cabochon stones on the two hinged bands at the base.The entire crown is made with gold and precious stones, as well as cut and colored glass.

The final portion of the museum that we visited was the replica of a cave that had been found with many paintings from ancient peoples inside. The ceiling of the recreation had paintings of animals and a mirrored glass table was in the center of the room so that visitors didn’t have to crane their necks to see the paintings on the ceilings. The display in the room used weak and flickering lighting to give viewers a better understanding of how the paintings would have originally been seen. The low lighting along with the silence in the space seems to transport viewers to another time and awaken their spirit of discovery.