The Minister for Heritage, the Hon Professor John Cortes, officially opened a new gallery at the Gibraltar National Museum dedicated to the Pillars of Heracles (Hercules in Roman) on Saturday 21st May, during the Museum Open Day. The Pillars were a significant geographical marker in classical times, signifying the end of the known world.
The gallery spans approximately 8 thousand years. It starts with the earliest arrivals from the Eastern Mediterranean in the Neolithic, some 7,400 years ago and ends with Roman artefacts from the 5th Century CE. During this long period, people from diverse locations arrived at Gibraltar, exemplified by the wide diversity of artefacts of very wide provenance, particularly from the eastern Mediterranean. Artefacts include Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, Carthaginian and Roman. Locally made artefacts from southwestern Iberia, notably Tartessos, are also represented.
Artefacts on display include scarabs, beads, amulets and ceramics from Gorham’s Cave. There are also Roman amphorae and lead anchor stocks, retrieved from the seabed, as well as lamps and fishing equipment. Among the most striking items on display are the reconstructions of the Neolithic “Calpeia” and the Bronze Age “Yantar”, the latter on display for the first time. Also on display for the first time are the remains of the Gorgon Medusa’s ceramic plaque (Gorgoneion) as well as a full reconstruction.
Minister for Heritage, the Hon Prof. John Cortes, said: ‘This is the most comprehensive display of artefacts, representing the Pillars, ever to have been brought together in the Gibraltar National Museum. I am delighted to declare this groundbreaking gallery officially open during a unique and exciting Museum Open Day.’