The Museum of the Ancient Agora is housed in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos, originally erected during the 2nd cent. BC as a gift of the king of Pergamon, Attalos II, to Athens.
The exhibition in the Museum gallery holds archaeological finds coming from the systematic excavations of the American School of Classical Studies in the area and dated from the Neolithic to the Post-byzantine and Ottoman periods.
The Museum exhibition is organized in chronological and thematic units that reveal aspects of the public and private life in ancient Athens.
The earliest antiquities, potsherds, vases, terracotta figurines and weapons, dating from the Neolothic , Bronze Age, Iron Age and Geometric period, come from wells and tombs excavated in the area of the Athenian Agora and its environs.
The most important exhibits are the objects associated with the various departments of civic life and the institutions of the Athenian Democracy and are dated from the Classical and Late Classical periods. Among them are exhibited official clay measures, bronze official weights, a fragment of a marble allotment machine, official jurors? identification tags, a clay water-clock, official bronze ballots, and potsherds inscribed with names of illustrious political personalities of the 5th cent. BC Athens which were used as ballots in the process of ostracism,
Of special interest is a marble stele adorned with a relief showing the People (Demos) of Athens being crowned by Democracy and inscribed with a law against tyranny passed by the people of Athens in 336 BC. Also exhibited are fine specimens of black-figured and red-figured pottery - some attributed to renowned vase painters-, as well as kitchen and table ware, lamps, terracotta figurines, coins and jewelry.
Finally on display are a collection of miniature Roman copies of famous statues and a number of particularly fine portrait busts and heads of the Roman period.
Upper Stoa Exhibition
The exhibition on the 1st floor of the Stoa of Attalos, inaugurated in 2012, presents to the public a representative collection of Athenian sculptures, with a special focus on the important group of portraits from the Athenian Agora excavations.
The new exhibition has been organized in 6 units:
1. Idealized figures of gods and mortals, comprising Late Classical-Hellenistic works of the 4th and 3rd cent. BC
2. The Athenian workshops reproduce Classical works, comprising Roman copies of Classical works of the 1st -2nd cent. AD
3. Roman portraits of the 1st - 2nd cent. AD, presenting images of wealthy Athenian citizens represented according to Imperial prototypes
4. The city honors state officials, comprising herms bearing portraits of state officials of the 2nd and 3rd cent. AD
5. Roman portraits of the 3rd cent. A.D., presenting portraits of prominent citizens in Roman Athens
6. Collections of sculptures adorning the private schools of late antiquity. This latter group includes an important part of the collection of sculptures from House Ω, some of which are also exhibited on the ground floor of the Stoa
The new exhibition area offers an experiential approach to the architecture of the ancient stoa, while providing also an excellent view of the Agora, the Pnyx and the Acropolis, useful for comprehending the historical landscape and the ancient topography of the area.
In addition, by providing the possibility of visual contact with the area where the ancient ceramics are kept, the new exhibition highlights the role of the Museum as a centre of research of our cultural heritage.