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Archaeological Museum of Kos

The Archaeological Museum of Kos is housed in a nice two-storey building with three entrances topped by arches. Several sculptures from the excavations carried out by Italians after the strong earthquake of 1933 are displayed in three rooms surrounding the atrium, which is decorated with the excellent mosaic presenting the arrival of Aesculapius at Kos. Access to the atrium is possible via an anti-chamber. The first floor has been reserved for the pottery collection, but it is closed to public. Several of the mosaic pavements, which should be displayed in the museum are actually found at Rhodes, as Italians, in late 1930s’ had transported them there in order to decorate the famous Palace of the Great Master, which was then being restored.

The program of the Museum includes educational programs for students, aiming at familiarizing the kids with the archaeological material available and at stimulating them to study the history of their home island.
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The most important collections of the museum are the following:

1. The collection of prehistoric pottery and metallic objects of everyday use, all of them found at the hill of Serayia, the site of Bronze Age Kos 20th -12th centuries b.C.), at the Neolithic site of the cave of Aspri Petra («white stone») and from other archaeological sites. The collection is closed to public.

2. The great collection of pottery from Geometric up to Hellenistic periods (8th -1st centuries b.C.), also closed to public.

3. The collection of sculptures both of men and of women, mainly of the Hellenistic and Roman periods (4th century b.C., to 3rd century A.D.). Most of them come from the excavations in the town of Kos (the Roman Odeon), from Pyli (the sanctuary of Demeter) and from other sites on the island.

Apart from sculptures, the collection also comprises votive and tomb bas relief, altars and «trapezofora» (supports of tables). Most of them have been found in excavations within the town of Kos.

4. You may also see very nice mosaic pavements from houses of the Roman period.

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The most important and interesting of the sculptures and other exhibits are:

a. «Hippocrates» The statue of a bearded man, wearing a garment has been dated in 4th century b.C. It was found during the excavations at the Odeon. An interesting detail is that it was the workers of the excavations who gave the statue its name.

b. Three statues, of two women and a bearded man, have been dated in 4th-3rd century b.C. It is thought that the women present the goddesses Demeter and her daughter Persephone (Kore) and the man is Pluto. According to the inscriptions on their base, the statues were votive offers of individuals and of the priestesses of a small rural sanctuary.

c. A tomb bas relief of the 3rd century b.C. presents a young standing athlete wearing a garment and holding the victory crown he has been awarded. A few letters, «ΔΑΙΔ...», carved on his chest, may indicate his name. The statue had been found at the area of Roman Theater.

d. A few statues of women, dated in Hellenistic times (3rd to 2nd century b.C.), wearing the characteristic cloth of Kos.

e. A «trapezophoron» (support of a table) dated to the Hellenistic times (2nd century b.C.), is in fact a copy of an older original. Decorated with bas relief, it presents Marsyas, waiting do be punished by Apollo.

f. A mosaic pavement found in the restored Roman house is dated in the Hellenistic period and presents sea life; another one presents the arrival of Aesculapius at Kos and Hippocrates who receives him. This latter is dated in the 3rd century A.D.

g. The mosaic of Hermes (2nd century A.D.) comes from the house of the Mosaic of Europe. It presents the god Hermes sitting on a rock and wearing a garment and bearing the signs of his power.

h. A nice complex with Dionysus, Pan and a Satyr come from the same place. It presents the god Dionysus drank, supported by a Satyr; a small Pan plays the pipe. A small Eros and a panther are sitting at the feet of Dionysus.

i. Finally, there is the headless statue of Aesculapius, holding a stick with a snake around it (a typical symbol of the god), with Telesphoros, the god of recovery sitting at his feet. The statue is dated in the 2nd century A.D. and comes from the same house of the Mosaic of Europe.

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