L. Pigorini National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography
Piazzale Guglielmo Marconi, 14
Opening time: Tues. to Sat. 9-14, Sun. 9-13 • closed Mon.
Admission charge: Lit. 8,000
The museum, inaugurated in 1876, is named after its founder Luigi Pigorini. It was originally housed in a 17th-century building which already housed the Kircher Museum, a collection of antiquities belonging to the Gesuit Athanasius Kircher. After the unification of Italy, the building was acquired by the government and part of the original collection was included in the new institution founded by Pigorini. Between 1962 and 1977 the museum's material was relocated to the House of Sciences were is currently housed. From an architectural point of view, the building is a compromise between rational Modernism and the rhetoric of the Fascist regime. The polychrome stained-glass window designed by the Florentine artist Giulio Rosso in 1942 is particularly noteworthy; it consists of 54 rectangular elements with symbols combined to form a complete cosmogony.
THE MUSEUM'S LABORATORIES
The museum is connected with an anthropological laboratory, devoted to research on human finds; a pale-ethnological laboratory, were the relationship between climate and animal species is investigated; as well as with a conservation workshop and an educational laboratory.
The museum's material is divided between two sections devoted to pale-ethnology and ethnography. The pale-ethnological section mainly concentrates on Latium prehistory and protohistory, with exhibits from the local human settlements dating from the Iron Age onwards. Important Neolithic items come from Grotta del Sasso di Furbara and from Palidoro, while the Tomb of the Young Widow dates back to the Bronze Age, which is also represented by a number of finds from the communal grave of Fosso Conicchio and from the necropolis in Tolfa. The ethnographical section gathers various material of the indigenous cultures of Africa, America and Oceania, collected by missionaries, travellers, scholars and merchants. The collection of more than 6,000 pieces originating from China, Thailand, India, Indonesia and Laos is quite remarkable.