A MULTIMILLENNIAL HISTORY
Providing an overview of the great civilizations of the past is the goal of the archaeological department, whose collection of Classical Antiquity pieces is among the finest to be found in Switzerland.
The high quality of the museum’s collection is to a large extent due to the generosity and curiosity of Genevans who, from the mid- 16th century, began to gather artefacts from ancient cultures for the museum’s ultimate benefit. Statues, sarcophagi, reliefs, inscriptions, ceramics, objects of daily life, coinage: these pieces illuminate a historical voyage over several millennia through prehistoric, regional, Etruscan, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Nubian and Middle Eastern civilizations.
This tradition of patronage was also bolstered by a “spirit of collecting” that can be traced back to 1535 when a collection of ancient coins was officially established in Geneva, laying the foundation for the museum’s numismatics cabinet that today is the largest of its kind in Switzerland.
26,000 objects from Classical Antiquity
4,000 objects from Egypt
2,000 objects form Middle East
47’000 prehistoric objects
100’000 coins and medals