The exhibition program narrates the story of the birth and development of Tegea, the most powerful city in ancient Arcadia. The rural sanctuaries lie at the center of the narration. Among these, the most important is the sanctuary of Athena Alea - famous all over the Peloponnese.
Gallery 1 Artifacts dating from Neolithic up to the Archaic period are exhibited. The exhibition narrative begins with the significant prehistoric sites of the Neolithic Era and the Bronze Age and proceeds in historical times with the significant rural sanctuaries of Tegeatis. The latter played an important part in the process of polis formation from the Early Geometric period up to the 6th century BC. The development of monumental architectural forms (doric architectural elements - tegean anta-capitals) is associated with the emergence of a strong pole of power and the emergence of the polis (city-state).
Gallery 2 A peculiar category of monuments, the so-called Arcadian Herms, is exhibited.The Arcadian Herms, private votive offerings to sanctuaries, constitute abstract representations of gods or deities. They have been discovered only in Tegea.
Gallery 3 The evolution of the polis from the Classical period up to the Roman times is narrated. Many different aspects of the city's life are presented: economy (monetarization, weights and measures, trade), cults, athletic contests - festivals, the world of the dead and the hereafter.
Gallery 4 The story reaches its climax. The sanctuary of Athena Alea, around which the polis of Tegea was formed, is presented. Its development from the Geometric up to the Hellenistic period is narrated: from the very beginning to the development of monumental forms and Skopas' architectural and sculpture creations in the mid-4th century BC.
Outdoor Exhibition It is divided into two entities: in the entity "Public Life", selected inscriptions are exhibited. They refer to the public life in Tegea, while in the entity "The Hereafter" a set of grave stele from classical up to the Late Roman period is exposed. The outdoor exhibition covers a period form the Late Archaic up to the Late Roman period.
The room left to the entry includes the most important exhibits of the museum and is dedicated to the distinguished creations of the late 4th century B.C., that emanate from the architectural decoration of the temple of Alea Athena and constitute works of Scopas and his students. Among the works that emanate from the sculptural decoration of the pediments of the temple, the head of a mature, bearded Hercules with the lion skin (index number 48), the head of a helmeted warrior, that has been identified with the local hero Telefos (index number 154), part of a woman's body in bent position (index number 194), are included.
From the remaining sculptural decoration of the temple, the two full-blooded, juvenile feminine bodies distinguish (index numbers 59 and 2388), that have been attributed to the akroteria of the monument. Moreover, the saved items from the plant architectural decoration of the upper structure of the temple, as the gutter with the head of lion (index number 1306) and a part of an Ionian entablature with elaborate, embossed decoration (index numbers 254-255), are admirable. Finally, particularly enlightening for the function of the temple it is the written column with index number 1261 (IG V2, 3), which depicts a law that regulated the hire and use of the holy properties of Alea Athena.
In the room right to the entry, various creations of sculptors coming from the Tegean land are being exposed, most of which emanate from collections and deliveries during the 19th century. In the space, a head of a bearded Asclepius of supernatural size dominates, that is dated to the Hellenistic season. The long side of a carnivorous with its embossed representation is also interesting, reported in the Heliad, which represents the scene of the exposure of dead Hector from Achilles in front of the walls of Troy (index number 3).
The last room of the museum includes, apart from sculptures, two showcases, with characteristic earthen and metal hommages from the temple of Alea Athena, as well as earthen figurines seated and feminine forms from older excavations in a sanctuary.The first room includes, apart from the exhibits, a space of outpost and a bill of sale of the museum.
The Archaeological Museum of Tegea constitutes today a space in which the visitor can admire works that belong to the paramount moments of inspiration of the ancient Greek plastic. One of the immediate objectives of the LTH' (39th) Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classic Antiquities of Tripolis is also the recomposition of the expositional spaces, according to the modern perception of a museum, so that the entire historical course of Arcadian Tegea is given comprehensively to the visitor.
Author: Grigoris Grigorakakis, Archaeologist
For more information about the Museum visit the official website www.tegeamuseum.gr