Gray Sundays in Warsaw: Archaeological Museum

Last Sunday, we knocked another item off the bucket list by visiting the National Archaeological Museum.


This museum is bypassed by most tourists—as are most of the museums in Warsaw. This is at least partly due to there being no regularly updated central source of information in English on them as there is in Vienna. (I could write a whole blog post about how Warsaw seriously needs to step up its publicity game in this regard, but anyway…)

Neolithic burial.
Neolithic burial.

It’s too bad, because the archaeological museum has a small, but very nice collection of artifacts, all collected from within Poland, or former Polish territories. While the displays are simple, they are immaculately maintained and accompanied by descriptions in near-perfect English: no Google Translate in use here!

Bronze Age jewelry.
Bronze Age toys and gaming pieces.

The painstakingly assembled dioramas of prehistoric and medieval settlements may be old-fashioned, but I could see that the kids in attendance were totally fascinated by them. They were displayed on low tables for that reason, I am sure. Children are always accommodated in Polish museums.

A Bronze Age settlement.
A later hill fort settlement–a reproduction of a recently discovered site.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the items have to do with graves or burial. These funerary urns with faces on them were used to bury cremated remains. An entire display of them is quite spooky.

A funerary urn, complete with earrings.
Glass beads of various kinds.
I forget what these are for–brooches to hold cloaks, maybe?–but they are beautifully worked.
From a later era–maybe early medieval?–these bronze necklaces are pretty awesome. You can easily imagine these at a modern crafts fair.
A medieval sewing/weaving kit. I always love these. The pottery circles are loom weights, and the stick with yarn wrapped around it is a flax spindle. A complete standing loom is also on display, but my photo of that didn’t turn out well.

After the docents made sure we headed upstairs (otherwise I am sure we would have missed it–sometimes the Eastern European museum docent herding instinct is useful) we found a pretty cool exhibit on Romanesque architecture and life during that period. Again, everything was perfectly translated into English.

And now I know what a “squinch” is.
Huge (at least 12 foot) Romanesque church doors.
Detail from another set of enormous bronze doors.
A gorgeous door knocker. This is actually bronze, but for some reason my iPhone decided it should be gold. Pretty either way.

So, another museum visited on a gray Sunday. The Archaeological Museum is happily located very near my favorite Thai restaurant in Warsaw. I recommend both.

One comment

  1. Too cool! Makes you wonder what would be in an archeological museum depicting our current times–a whole display of i-phones? knee-replacement gadgets? yoga-mats? ridiculously-high-heeled shoes? Twinkies? 😉


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