The Archaeological Museum of Asturias is located in the very heart of Oviedo, in the back of the cathedral, in the former Monastery of San Vicente, whose origin is attributed to the year 761, when the abbot Formestano decided to settle in a then desert place: Oviedo. From this primitive construction hardly any remains have come, as well as the later building of the late eleventh century from which we will appreciate some restored elements.
We do not exaggerate a hair if we say that this The museum is the most emblematic and modern of Spanish archeology. After twelve years of remodeling, and an investment of 16 million euros, the museum supposes a spectacular bath in thousand-year-old waters. It is still unknown to many, including the Asturians themselves, but we speak of the most surprising center of Asturias. We invite you to visit it so that you can give us the reason.
Nothing less than 4.800 square meters to undertake an enigmatic journey from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages, including in an outstanding way the two Asturian elements recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage of Humanity: rock art and pre-Romanesque art. In short, an outstanding collection, as it can not be otherwise, in a land that dates the first presence of human groups makes 300.000 years, in the ancestral Quaternary.
What treasures do we find in the Archaeological Museum?
The building puts at our disposal three floors. In the first, the Asturian and Neolithic prehistory is fulfilled; the second is for the time of the castros astures and the presence of Rome in the region; the third delights us with the Medieval Asturias.
The tour of the museum is completed with the exceptional visit to the cloister of the old convent, formed by twenty vaults of four meters of light, of Gothic design and a frieze of Renaissance air. In this space the ancient sarcophagi and medieval shields remain and a semicircular structure has been added, dating from between the seventh and ninth centuries, possibly related to the capture of water and which has appeared in the bowels of the convent itself during the restoration work .
The archaeological works in Asturias go back to the old Monuments Commission of Asturias. Created in the mid-nineteenth century, it is the first institution to protect the cultural heritage of Asturias that collected the remains of the main Asturian monasteries, collecting pieces of chance findings or donations from scholars and collectors of the time. From 1990, the Asturian archeology obtained a remarkable development, entering a great amount of materials of all the epochs -especially of the Average Age- coming from historical helmets of cities and towns, as well as of temples and monasteries. Needless to say, hundreds of relevant pieces are exhibited in this space: Bison bones, hunting harpoons, funerary vessels, Roman stelae, reconstructed mosaics, ashlars, nobiliary shields ...
But the exhibition of the museum is articulated in a way that transcends the material record to enter into the true essence of the societies that preceded us: its organization of the territory, social hierarchization, political structures, beliefs, artistic manifestations and thousand enigmas. As for prehistory, in this center we will discover the richness of its manifestations, Asturias has almost fifty decorated caves and abundant art furniture. From the Neolithic we will be surprised by the megaliths, with their ritual and territorial sense, incorporated into the Asturian landscape as a reflection of the new peasant society. The intensive exploitation of copper mines during this period speaks of a long history as a mining region. The castros constitute the social model of Asturias between the end of the Bronze Age and the Roman conquest. The use of iron is generalized, the cultivation techniques are improved and the first fortified villages are built. Nowadays, the castros remain as one of the most significant elements of the Asturian landscape. A landscape also occupied by the Roman army in the time of Augustus, who sought the benefit of the gold mines in the western sector of the region. In this period, new economic and commercial activities are developed and the transformation of customs is promoted in a population of mining and peasant tradition.
The Kingdom of Asturias inaugurates the Middle Ages. Royal seats, churches, monasteries and castles are the main centers of power of the monarchy and the high medieval aristocracy. The art of the Astur Monarchy will stand out for its architectural and ornamental originality. From the thirteenth century, the new urban centers and towns (the Asturian polas) concentrate population and centralize the administrative, commercial and craft functions. In these cities, towns and villages, new Romanesque and Gothic churches are built ...
How do you tell us?
One of the greatest merits of this museum is that access to all this information density is simplified and easily assimilated, partly due to the numerous interactive tools that allow you to acquire knowledge as if you were playing. Tactile screens, pieces that propose a set of hands, trays that are extracted from their supports, a variety of audiovisuals and other resources designed for children, such as i-points: interactive tables with small games. There are also replicas of significant objects that we can touch, and technological alternatives for people with auditory or visual dysfunctions.
In addition to exhibiting, the Archaeological Museum of Asturias has the function of safeguarding all remains and archaeological objects exhumed in the excavations of the Principality. It also has the obligation to carry out the promotion of research and the promotion of Asturian archeology. Therefore, it is equipped with a modern storage infrastructure and a strict conservation and restoration program for the exposed and stored materials.
Finally, the Library of the Archaeological Museum, with more than 9.000 copies, it is considered a specialized center in prehistory, archeology, history and numismatics. It is aimed at museum professionals, researchers and is open to the general public interested in the world of archeology.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com
Information of interestAddress / Location:
c / San Vicente nº 3-5
Tel: 985 20 89 77
Fax: 985 20 84 33
Monday and Tuesday closed.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 9: 30 to 20: 00 h.
Saturdays: from 9: 30 to 14: 00 and 17: 00 to 20: 00 h.
Sundays and holidays: 9: 30 to 15: 00 h.