Museum of Archeology and Ethnography: A timeline of centuries

By Amina Nazarli

Would you like to plunge into the ancient history of Azerbaijan and get acquainted with the art, lifestyle, and culture of great Azerbaijani nation? Then you should necessarily visit the Museum of Archeology and Ethnography.

This unique museum, located in front of the tower gates Gosha Gala Gapisi in the Icherisheher [Old City], is open on weekdays from 11am to 17pm for free to all lovers of history.

The museum's exhibits allow to see a complete picture of the primitive people’s camps, living areas, settlements belonging to pastoralists and farmers, as well as gravestones, early urban culture, historical and material culture of the ancient states.

The museum, founded in 1976, got a second wind after restoration in 2008-2009.

Valeh Alakbarov, a fellow worker of the Scientific Exposition Department of the Archaeology and Ethnography Institute, said that the museum’s exhibits are updated every year thanks to artifacts discovered in Gobustan, Azikh cave, Kamiltepe, Geytepe, Karabakh mound as well as Soyugbulag mound, the most ancient burial mounds in the South Caucasus, and other sites of ancient people.

The items found during excavations are cleaned, washed, dried, restored, inventoried and then transferred to the Museum. The scientific exposition department of the museum every year replaces about 1,000-2,000 exhibits.

He went to add that to determine the age of the artifacts specialists use different methods including radiocarbon analysis, which is mainly conducted in France, the U.S., Turkey, Japan and Russia.

Alekperov and his wife, who is a restorer, participate in the archeological diggings in Geytepe excavations for the sixth year.

“Sometimes we have to work under difficult conditions - at 40-degree summer heat. However, the passion of the work helps not to feel any heat or fatigue,” Alakbarov explains.

One of the ancient exhibits of the museum are the materials related to the Guruchay culture dating back to about 1.2 million years. The museum also keeps items of the Shulaveri-Shomutepin culture included in the UNESCO archaeological cultures list.

Soon, the Museum plans to install monitors with detailed information near each showcase.

The museum also plans to host an exhibition of items collected over the last two years. Holding of themed exhibitions, devoted to items found in several monuments of material culture are expected.

Museum’s Director Farkhad Guliyev believes it will be great to expand the museum area. “Then, in addition to the exhibits, there will be installed mannequins and models necessary for the reconstruction of a historical period. This will allow visitors to immerse themselves in the life of our ancestors.”

“By mid-March, visitors will enjoy an opportunity not only to see the exhibits, but also view the movie showing the process of archaeological excavations. At the moment, all the necessary equipment is installed and montage work is underway,” he said.

Guliyev further said that many foreign tourists visit the Museum.

During the major 1st European Games held in Baku last summer, more than 2,500 foreign guests got familiarized themselves with the museum, he said adding that the museum is very popular among visitors from France, Germany, the U.S. and Russia.

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Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli

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