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Permanent exhibition of the Olympia Archaeological Museum

Complex of Centaur and Lapith woman
Through the many exhibits of the permanent exhibition of the Archaeological Museum of Olympia the visitor is introduced to the history of the great Pan-Hellenic sanctuary from the Early Bronze Age to the sixth-seventh centuries AD. The sculpted decoration (metopes and pediments) of the temple of Zeus, the most important example of the Severe Style in Greek art, the statue of Nike by Paionios and the Hermes of Praxiteles are the museum's pieces de resistance. Equally important is the bronze collection, the richest of its kind in the world.

The recently reorganized exhibition occupies twelve galleries set out in chronological order. Its aim is to present the objects, inform the visitor in a simple yet scientific manner and assist him/her according to the latest museological standards. It gives a full picture of the historical development of both the sanctuary and ancient Greek art through a wide selection of exhibits, as well as information panels, maps, drawings, photographs and reconstructions and models of the monuments.
Olympia Vikatou, archaeologist

Exhibition Units
The prehistoric period at Olympia (Gallery 1)
The introduction to the history of the sanctuary begins in the first gallery with the finds of the prehistoric period. These include pottery and stone tools mostly of the Early Helladic II and III periods (2700-2000 BC) and finds from the tumulus of Pelops, of which a model is displayed. Terracotta, stone and bronze objects and jewellery from the tholos tombs discovered in the area of the new museum illustrate the Mycenaean period (1600-1100 BC).
Geometric-Archaic periods (Gallery 2)
This unit presents part of the large collection of Geometric and Archaic bronze votive offerings to Zeus, the richest collection of its kind in the world. Figurines of humans and animals, hammered bronze plaques, cauldrons, tripods, several other types of vessels and instruments, griffins and sphinxes, all exquisite examples of bronze work, illustrate the wealth and splendour of Olympia during this period. Equally important are the weapons dedicated to Zeus: helmets, grieves, shield ornaments and ornate cuirasses. Here, too, are the terracotta acroterion from the Heraion and the Archaic stone head of Hera, the visitor's first introduction to large-scale sculpture.
Late Archaic period and architectural sculpture (Gallery 3)
This unit presents pottery, bronze jewellery and vessels, and several important sculptures with painted decoration from various monuments, such as the pediment from the Treasury of Megara, the cornice from the Treasury of Gela and a lion-headed spout.
The Severe Style (Gallery 4)
Several examples of large-scale terracottas, including the important group of Zeus and Ganymides, are presented in this unit, along with a battering ram's head and the helmets of Miltiades and Hieron.
The sculpted decoration of the temple of Zeus (Gallery 5)
The large central gallery houses the unique marble pedimental sculptures and metopes of the temple of Zeus, the most important exhibits in the museum, all of them characteristic examples of the Severe Style.
The Nike of Paionios (Gallery 6)
The Nike of Paionios, one of the finest sculptures of the Classical period, comprises this unit.
Pheidias and his workshop (Gallery 7)
This unit is dedicated to the sculptor Pheidias and the making of his celebrated chryselephantine statue of Zeus. The unit presents moulds, tools, pottery, the famous cup of Pheidias and other objects from the workshop.
The Hermes of Praxiteles (Gallery 8)
This exquisite statue by Praxiteles, the finest example of late fourth century BC art, is bathed in natural light from the gallery's skylights and has anti-seismic protection at its base.
Late Classical and Hellenistic periods (Gallery 9)
This unit presents pottery, sculpture and architectural elements of the Late Classical and Hellenistic periods.
Roman sculpture (Gallery 10-11)
The large collection of Roman sculpture is presented here. The fine statuary from the Nymphaion of Herodes Atticus is displayed against a curved wall imitating their original setting.
The last years of the sanctuary's life (Gallery 12)
This last unit ends the presentation of the sanctuary's history. It contains objects of terracotta, bronze and iron of the second through to the sixth/seventh centuries AD, when the site was abandoned.
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