National Archaeological Museum of Taranto
The museum has one of the most important archaeological collections in Europe, with exhibits that trace the history of local settlements since the Palaeolithic.
Prehistoric are stone tools and female figurines in bone, coming from the caves of Gargano and Salento, which are considered among the most significant evidence of human presence on Italic territory.
Are the first evidence of Neolithic pottery ceramic painted with geometric motifs, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic (V-IV millennium BC).
The Tarantine section offers a rich statuary, starting with splendid examples of archaic age of the marble kore from Montegranaro and the magnificent bronze of Zeus from Ugento.
Of the centuries IV and V BC are several heads of deities in marble and limestone, with interesting examples of schools of Lysippus and Praxiteles.
Also Hellenistic is the frieze with a limestone relief depicting probably Alexander the Great on horseback against a succumbing warrior.
Of great importance is the core of ceramics, mainly from the excavations of the necropolis of Taranto, which presents Protocorinthian pottery of century VII BC, and later Attic black-figure pottery of the century VI BC; then the beautiful Apulian vases of local workshops of classic period, sometimes depicting farcical characters.
Hellenistic are also the unmistakable ceramics in style of Gnathia (black paint with clear shapes and colors of different gradation from red to yellow); lastly are following the Aretine ceramics in red coral of Roman period.
Famous is the collection of goldsmith, with precious golds of Peucezia, from Ruvo di Puglia, of century VI BC, and Tarantine products of century BC IV, with rings and earrings of elaborate workmanship, as well as the famous bronze nutcracker with two movable forearms, from excavations of the rich necropolis in the city.
Of great value are also funeral wreaths and gold tiaras of centuries III-II BC, with funerary equipment found at the tomb of Golds of Canosa, also including a scepter in gold foil, a silver case for mirror and two jewelry casket.
Very interesting are also the finds of the so-called "Tomb of the Athlete", in which were found the remains of a "pentathlete" of century V BC, in fairly good condition, buried within a sarcophagus, with his "Panathenaic amphorae" (trophies depicting the victories of man to the famous Greek competitions).