Filicudi – The museum

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The museum building stands at Filicudi Port, overlooking the prehistoric village of Capo Graziano, the small peninsula that gives its name to the early Bronze Age culture which flowered here around the 21st century BC. This culture can be attributed to the Eoli, who arrived from Greece to guard the tin trade routes and settled on this peninsula, overlooking the dangerous shallows where numerous ancient wrecks have been found. The first section of the museum is composed of four rooms: introduction, general archaeology, underwater archaeology and ethno-anthropology.

The first room houses maps of Filicudi illustrating the geological chronology, history, underwater geodynamics and vulcanology and the vulcanological evolution of the island.

The scientific themes dealt with in this room are those of the evolution of life in an island environment, the preservation and protection of the biological heritage and the relationship between man and the environment. The displays are made up of panels, models, lecterns, samples of flowers and audiovisual aids. In the centre of the room there is a Doric capital found near the present day site of the church of Santo Stefano.

In the second room you will find some prehistoric artefacts, dating from the early Bronze Age (culture of Capo Graziano) to the mid-Bronze Age (Milazzese culture), and from the Greek and Roman eras, including a large dolium (3rd cent. AD), recovered in pieces in 1948 and taken to Lipari for restoration and safe-keeping, but now on display since its recent return to this small museum. The displays in the underwater archaeology room are particularly impressive.

To the left of the entrance there is a Punic amphora (5th cent. BC) followed by a group of three Greco-italic amphorae (4th cent. BC) and, next to the balcony, a group of twenty-three amphorae from the 2nd century BC, recovered from wreck A, or Roghi, from the name of the journalist (Gianni Roghi) who discovered it, set out in a pyramid shape, as they were originally stored in the hold of the unfortunate cargo ship that was transporting them. Visitors can look at the beautiful pyramid of amphorae and at the same time, beyond the balcony, observe the shallows of Capo Graziano, the stretch of sea from which the amphorae were recovered and where others from the same ship still probably lie, waiting to be discovered, ever since that fateful day long ago. Opposite the amphorae, also set out in a pyramid shape, there are five anchor stocks, made of lead, all found in the sea around Filicudi. On the ground floor is the ethno-anthropological room, one which could be much larger if it were to display the whole wealth of materials still existing on the island. It contains a whole variety of traditional work tools and implements, generously donated by the inhabitants, bearing witness to the island community’s ability to adapt with simplicity and to make the essential objects necessary for its own day-to-day survival, giving a cultural dimension to everyday life. Standing out, in the centre of the room, there is a mill for grinding wheat. The Filicudi Museum could be considered as a model to follow in creating an island museum, because its creation has highlighted all the problems linked to the reality of insularity: the importance of natural features and their implications, the presence of sites and artefacts relating to various ancient civilisations and the continued existence of materials and objects with peculiar characteristics, despite the continuous changes going on in the outside world.

Riccardo Gullo

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