Created in 1918 and revitalized in 1980, the Museum D. Diogo de Sousa is an archeology museum, open to the public since June 2007, in a building built from scratch. Its collections consists mainly resulting spoils of archaeological research that has been conducted in the North, particularly in the city of Braga.
History of the Museum
The story the museum’s name is associated with the Archbishop Diogo de Sousa (1461-1532), to whom were the important duty measures of urban redevelopment in Braga and the fact that it gathered the oldest archaeological evidence of this town, previously dispersed.
Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries there have been some initiatives for the establishment of a museum, but only in 1918 came the “History Museum of Art and Archaeology”.
Mercy of adverse circumstances, the museum did not have a regular operation until 1980, when it was revitalized as Regional Archaeological Museum.
Since then it has developed its activity within the preservation and dissemination of local and regional archaeological heritage, having opened in June 2007.
Dependent on the Institute of Museums and Conservation and the Ministry of Culture, the Museum is part of the Portuguese Network of Museums and also the Atlantic Axis of Museums set.
The building The Museum’s facilities are designed for the most significant and best preserved archaeological site of the city of Braga.
The architectural design is by Carlos Guimarães and Luís Soares Carneiro and develops into three bodies, articulated – the technical and services sector, the cafeteria and the area for the public. The technical sector encompasses a restoration laboratory and other industries related to the study and appreciation of the collections, this and other museums in the region.
The project shop, the reception and the Permanent Exhibition Halls is Ana Leandro’s authors.
The area for the public part of the exhibition spaces, an auditorium, shop, library and educational service.
In addition to these facilities the museum has large landscaped outdoor spaces, freely accessible to the public.
The exhibits of its collections consists mainly of resulting spoils of archaeological research that has been conducted in the North, particularly in the city of Braga. The collection covers a wide chronological and cultural period between the Palaeolithic and the Middle Ages.
The permanent exhibition starts on the entrance floor of the hall, with a short approach to the history of the Museum, to which the following four major exhibition centers.
In room 1 are exposed collections ranging chronologically from the Palaeolithic and the Iron Age.
In room 2 to address the issues related to the integration of Bracara Augusta in the Roman Empire, that is, to what extent trade and contact with technological innovations influenced the development of the local economy.
In room 3 can be taken contact with aspects related to the development of the project of urban archeology programs in place relating to the organization of public and domestic space in Bracara Augusta.
In room 4, testimonies are presented depicting the road connections of Bracara Augusta, the cemeteries that were located in the vicinity as well as some findings associated with religion in the Roman and Paleochristian period.
The basement of the block services “space-crypt” vestiges “in situ”, a home from Roman times with a mosaic.
Room texts provide detailed information about the pieces on display and their original contexts.
Pre- and Post-History
This room features since the first Human occupation of testimony in the region, dating back some 250,000 years until the pieces dating century AD, with full integration in the Roman Empire.
- The diversity of raw materials that gradually the man helped himself to their objects;
- The development of manufacturing technology of these parts since the stone whittle the implementation of metal containers;
- The progressive social differentiation between individuals and communities.
Bracara Augusta and the Roman Empire
The first contact between the Bracari and the Romans took place between 138-136 BC, under military reconnaissance expeditions.
Since then, and until the foundation of the city of Bracara Augusta (16-15 BC), this region lived a climate of peace that favored the development, so trade on a large scale, provided by the integration into the Roman Empire, has opened new opportunities expansion and business.
Emphasis on the quality of the ceramic pieces produced locally, some imitating perfectly imported parts. The abundance and quality of pits in this region led to the development of pottery to the present.
Bracara Augusta – Urban Space
The archaeological excavations carried out in Braga, from the mid-seventies provide a better understanding of the organization of the Roman city of Bracara Augusta.
Some of these vestiges of Roman occupation have been integrated into the existing urban fabric can be visited.
Bracara Augusta – Roads, Death and Religion
In the latter exhibition space to address three main themes – the roads linking Bracara Augusta to the other cities of the Roman Empire, the distribution of cemeteries in the city and the testimonies of the relationship of its inhabitants with the various deities.
In Roman times, the space of the dead was out of town, or the world of the living. The cemeteries were located usually close to the exit routes of the city.
Some of the pieces found in graves are associated with funerary inscriptions. The analysis of all these materials is very interesting from the point of view of social organization of the city.
The relationships of men with the deities were epigraphic testimonies of great significance and elaborate aesthetic expression.
Finally, there are some traces associated with the Paleochristian period and specifically the replica of the sarcophagus of St. Martin of Braga.
During the archaeological excavations, which preceded the construction of the Museum building, they were found traces of habitation of the century, with the peculiarity of having a mosaic.
Given the high soil acidity in Braga, this type rarely found preserves, so we proceeded to their integration in the premises of the Museum, in space-crypt the service pack.
The mosaic consists of geometric motifs bicromos (white and black). One of mosaic panels consists of a board, where the houses have crosshead to the center in colors of opposition and the other is decorated with grid lines hourglasses with granite and limestone tessera.
Temporary Exhibition Hall
Exhibition on the life cycle of ancient glass in Portugal, organized into four sections: from birth in a Roman workshop to death and rebirth, through recycling and the life in the form of objects in glass that were part of the daily lives of people.
They present pieces of great archaeological and aesthetic value, little known to the public, since they are not exposed regularly.
The Education Museum Service provides guided tours, and other activities designed especially for Schools and Families.
The Museum D. Diogo de Sousa organizes guided tours, workshops and other activities for school and other groups.
Archaeology notebooks, in cooperation with the Archaeology Unit of the University of Minho.
Document collection: archeology, heritage of the region, Restoration and Museology.