The Aegean Collection of Museo Pigorini in Rome

In the Aegean Collections of the Pigorini Museum in Rome it is appropriate to distinguish between a "Cretan Collection" (FIG. 1 and FIG. 2), developed from 1905 to 1912, consisting of more than 1600 pieces sent from the Director of the Italian Archaeological Expedition in Crete, Federico Halbherr, to the Roman Museum, and a remarkable number of "Mycenaean materials" coming from Rhodes (FIG. 3) and originally belonging to different collections, later kept in the Pigorini Museum, starting since 1913. As to the Rhodian materials, that concern only marginally MUSINT II, an exhausive paper by Elisabetta Mangani is available ("Materiali micenei, geometrici e orientalizzanti di Rodi", Bullettino di Paletnologia Italiana 96, 2005-2007, pp. 203-310). The "Cretan Collection" comes exclusively from the excavations of the Italian Archaeological Mission, and the promotor of this enterprise was just Luigi Pigorini, famous palaeoethnologist: to this collection belong all the cretulae from Haghia Triada, three tablets (FIG. 4) and one pithos, objects reproduced as photos and three-dimensional models in our MUSINT II project. In addition to what has been referred in the panel about the "HAGHIA TRIADA EXCAVATIONS", we stress how the excavation of the Phaistos palace, whose direction was left by Halbherr to Pernier, represents one of the three biggest excavations by foreign missions in Crete with the outcome to bring to light the splendid Minoan palaces of Knossos (English mission), Mallia (French Mission) and just Phaistos (Italian mission): Evans and Halbherr were the first archaeologists to begin these excavations during the same year, the first year of the twentieth century.

FIG. 1 FIG. 2 FIG. 3 FIG. 4

On the history of the beginning and the first steps of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Crete, supplied with a series of documents kept in the Central Public Archive between 1898 and 1912, in which Luigi Pigorini plays a very important role, see Elisabetta Mangani ("La formazione della Collezione Cretese del Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico di Roma"), Bullettino di Paletnologia Italiana 95, 2004, pp. 279-352).

It seems of interest to note that up to 1901 in the Roman Museum only one piece was present coming from Crete, a ribbed pithos likely from Knossos, which was given to the Museum during that year, together with materials from Cyprus, by the Villa Giulia Museum. Since that period, the shipments coming directly from the Cretan mission changed drastically the patrimony of Cretan materials inside the Pigorini museum, reaching almost two thousand pieces.