Archaeological Museum

Last update 14 December 2023

Museo archeologico

Three sections are open: The birth of the Museum of Piacenza between antiques and Archaeology, The first stone, From fire to metal.
Three sections are open: “La nascita del Museo di Piacenza tra antiquaria e archeologia”  (The birth of the Museum of Piacenza between antiques and Archaeology)  gathers and displays the foundations of the Institution, initially mostly archaeological; “La prima pietra” (The first stone) is dedicated to human presence in the area of Piacenza from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic (from 100.000 years ago to the half of the 4th millennium B.C.); “Dal fuoco il metallo” (From fire to metal) describes the culture of  human settlements from the Copper to the Bronze Age (3400-900 BC approx.).

The birth of the Museum of Piacenza between antiques and archaeology

This section describes the evolution of the museum from 18th century Antiques collections to the excavations carried out following modern investigation methods.  Exhibits include small objects found in the 19th century. Among the most ancient remains there are green stone and metal axes, bucchero vases and pottery coming from Greece and ‘Magna Greecia’. The Roman materials are divided into classes: bronze handicrafts (small and plastic, among which  a scene describing a sacrifice, and daily tools, like keys, amulets, pendants); glass ( a cup with polychrome stripes and two small bottles, decorated with a spraying and threads technique); ceramic containers to preserve food, kitchen and canteen; bone products (above all hinges for furniture). A window case describes the passage from the Roman age to the middle ages. There are also some Augustan Coins, revealing much about the numismatics heritage of the museum.

The Etruscan liver

The “Liver of Piacenza”, found in 1877 a few kilometers from Piacenza, is the most famous and prestigious item of the whole collection, and dates back to the period between the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 1st century BC.
The bronze object models a sheep’s liver and is a rare, direct witness of hepatoscopy, a very important divinatory practice in the Etruscan world: the priests, known as haruspices, predicted the future and interpreted the Gods’ will by analysing the animal’s liver. The bronze liver is extraordinarily important because of the inscriptions of the Gods’ names, which are organised, on the convex side of the object, so as to reflect the Cosmos according to the Etruscans.

The first stone

The exhibition begins with a diorama of the province describing the distribution of people from the appearance of the first man to the foundation of the Roman Placentia  (218 BC). The oldest evidence dates back to the ancient and middle Paleolithic (hand axes, scrapers and arrow tips); there are also very small flint tools (micro burins, bladelets, triangles, trapezes) from the Mesolithic (9th – 6th millennium BC) and jasper products from Monte Lama workshops active from 100.000 years ago to the 3rd Millennium BC. There are also tools from the Neolithic: a series of flint objects and pottery (pitchers, foot vases, fiascoes) from Casa Gazza di Travo (6th -5th millennium BC) and remains of the Middle and Superior Neolithic (5th - 6th millennium BC ) from Le Mose including remains from settlements and complete sepulchral groups

From fire to metal

There are a few objects from the Metal Age (from the end of the 4th millennium to the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC), which were discovered on the outskirts of Piacenza, as well as the famous knives from Castelsangiovanni  and remains from the stilt house in Chiaravalle. More space is dedicated to the Middle and recent Bronze Age (17th - 13th  Century BC) during which several fortified settlements were built, known as ‘terramare’. The objects from the sites in the area of Piacenza (Colombare di Bersano, Rovere di Caorso, Castelnuovo Fogliani and Montata dell’Orto) and the sections dedicated to the several activities carried out in the communities (pottery production, bone and horn working, spinning and weaving) help to point out the characteristics of the Terramare culture. As to other local sites witnessing a different culture, Groppo di Vaccarezza is remarkable because it was a settlement form the Neolithic to the Roman Age. Namely, there are 5 bronze swords, dating back to the peiod from the 14th to the 12th century BC, which had been thrown in the river Po as offers to the deities.

They used to live outside the city. People from Roman Piacenza

It is a permanent exhibition dedicated to a small Necropolis dug out in 2007 in  Via Venturini, where people of both sexes, probably belonging to the same family or social class, had been buried. The sepulchral groups of five of the 13 tombs found are displayed. Pottery vases (glasses and thin ollas, black varnish ‘terra sigillata’ plates, common pottery bottles), glass unguentariums,censers, lucernes, bone spindles and pins, an iron strigil offer interesting examples of tools used between the Augustan period and the first decades of the 2nd century AC.