The Archaeological Collections of the Hessian State Museum Darmstadt are among the oldest in Germany. They encompass Prehistory and Early History, Ancient Egypt, Greek and Roman antiquity, and the reception of antiquity. The objects are presented on the ground floor and in the basement of the museum.
Many exhibits come from foundations and donations from the 19th century. After significant losses in World War II, the collections today largely consist of excavation finds after 1945. In addition, a donation from the Darmstadt Wella Collection enriched our museum in 2013.
The first section on Prehistory and Early History is located in the basement of the State Museum. Here, visitors experience excavation finds from the Rhine-Main-Neckar metropolitan region from 5600 B.C. to circa 800 A.D. Highlights of the tour include the skeleton of the “Oldest Darmstadt Inhabitant”, the Bronze Age comb helmet from Biebesheim, and the gold fibula from Mölsheim, a jewelry piece richly adorned with beads and stones.
The second section is dedicated to the Roman imperial era. Here, visitors enter one of the most magnificent rooms in the museum: the hall with the mosaic floor from a Roman thermal bath in Bad Vilbel. The mosaic, which is unique in Hesse, depicts the sea god Oceanus with his entourage. Small finds made of glass and bronze, as well as stone sculptures and reliefs, surround this archaeological highlight object.
In the third section of the collections, visitors gain fascinating insights into Ancient Egypt. They discover objects from the 4th millennium B.C. to the rise of Islam in the 7th century A.D. Among them are countless ushabti (tomb figures), a colorful mummy cartonnage (coffin made of papyrus), and the dagger of Djehuti, a high official under Pharaoh Thutmose III (1479 – 1425 B.C.).
In the fourth section, Classical Antiquity, the focus is on the painted ceramics of the Greek colonies in Italy. The collection showcases a cross-section through red- and black-figure vase painting, revealing a variety of forms and depicted scenes. It is complemented by examples of local Etruscan ceramics.
The fifth section explores the reception of Antiquity. In addition to paintings and historical prints, there are architectural models made of cork by Antonio Chichi (1743 – 1816). They illustrate how influential Antiquity was and is with its consummate principles of proportion and form. Particularly impressive are the Colosseum and the Pantheon, as well as the richly detailed triumphal arches of Septimius Severus and Constantine.