Gdańsk archaeological museum

The museum is housed in a 16 century building with a tower used by merchants in Gdańsk’s trading heyday to keep an eye on the traffic on the Motława and renovated after damage caused in WW2. The welcoming party outside consists of a number of Prussian hags, stone statues from old Prussia, also called stone babas and holy stones, a different gathering of whom you met in a previous post.


The view from the top

Inside an young woman obviated the echoing shrieks of a party of excited school children by following me into brief silence and directing me up the tower until they had dissipated. I’m not real keen on heights or stairs, but I love getting a bird’s eye view of cities so I braved the stairs, clinging to the banisters for security, and even managing the last bit by ladder. Because I was up there alone, I felt free to open the windows and poke the camera out for a better look. It was raining quite heavily and the taller buildings were fading into thin mist.

The Sudan Gallery

Polish archeologists have been everywhere, and as a result there are unexpected displays in many museums. The Sudanese one here is very engaging: photos of landscape and people; artefacts that are cognate with ones we use, but handmade; ; models of huts and people dressed for the desert; burial niches, sacrifice tables and ancient times rock art.

The amber gallery

You can’t visit Gdańsk without encountering amber – lots of it. The streets are lined with amber shops, and the footpaths filled with glass cases of amber. The archaeological museum devotes a gallery to it: its formation, its history, it’s gathering, its uses, and its processing. Amber is beautiful, but hard to photograph. The only cases I managed to capture contained  the works of modern amber artists. Otherwise, amber preserving living things, a net for amber fishing, and a couple of reproductions from old books.

Every step leaves a trace

I suspect I might be a shoe fetishist. My favourite item in the Cairo museum after a piece of very ancient bread, was an equally ancient sandal. When I saw the Gdańsk museum had an exhibition of ancient footwear I was more excited than I was by the thought of amber. This  exhibition began with a language-free slide-show of footwear through the ages: styles and dates are shown along the bottom of the screen. A video, a particular medieval shoe found in the harbour in Gdańsk as protagonist, takes you through the history of this particular shoe and its conservation process. Then there are paintings showing court styles, and many examples of ordinary shoes in varying stages of disrepair: the more tattered they are the more the imagination can get to work on them.



About morselsandscraps

A retired Australian who spends a lot of time in Warsaw, and blogs as a way of life.
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28 Responses to Gdańsk archaeological museum

  1. Suzanne says:

    What a fascinating museum. I can’t decide which exhibit I like the best. The stone babas are fabulous but that amber and those shoes – I’m drooling. What a treasure trove.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue says:

    What a great museum, Meg! The amber looks interesting, the shoes most intriguing and as for the views from the top! Like you, I always want to get to the top of a tower, but I’m hopeless when I’ve got there because I have very little head for heights!


    • I was hanging on, especially when I came to the opening that led to the ladder. There was also a special amber museum, sharing space with a torture museum, but I bypassed it this time. I may well go back. There’s a post coming listing all the things I missed, once I’ve covered all the things I didn’t!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sue says:

        Torture museum, eh? I went to a talk on Amber, and it was stressed that only a very small percentage of Amber has petrified insects…most is completely clear…. Looking forward to your next posts on what you saw in Gdansk. And what Warsaw museums would you recommend? I think I want to go to the Warsaw Uprising museum, shall work on Vivi!


  3. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I want to go there, it has so many things I like, Sudanese things remind me of Nigeria and Ghana, the amber, a Russian man once gave me a simple bracelet and the shoes, you can’t beat real history about everyday items used by real people. The Baba-yagas are just as they should be and aren’t you the lucky one getting a birds eye view?


    • Try it for your getaway with school friends. Although I guess if Kraków was a battle, Gdańsk won’t get a look in! I love the connections you make with Nigeria and Ghana and your Russian gift. I knew you’d like the stone ones. One of them was a mere boundary marker.


  4. desleyjane says:

    I’m with you, those shoes were fascinating. But the amber is beautiful too.


  5. restlessjo says:

    Good morning, lovely shoe fetishist 🙂 🙂 This is another ‘Meg’s cornucopia of delight’ post. Shame about the rain after you valiantly challenged those stairs but the shots are still atmospheric. I can feel the damp entering through the window. 🙂 I love that one down onto the street with the humongous big church at the end. What a monster! 🙂
    Amber- yes, lots of shots in Krakow. I think I retained one. 🙂 I tried to follow the arrow on your shoe sign hoping it led me into the exhibits but no luck 😦 And an amazing cull of exotic exhibits! I could see Gilly here. 🙂 Love the witches coven at the start too. Happy days, Meg. Not long till meeting Sue and Viveka.


    • I’m a bit of a fan of rain: I wasn’t disappointed by it, just wet! More of the big church in a couple of later posts. Sorry about the arrow: those tiny images at the bottom are all I got when I pressed it. I’m going to have to improve my museum photography and my strategies. Trying to write the Solidarność post now and having a restful day disturbed only by workmen hammering. Great to see the kids again, and find that “this little cockatoo” is still alive and well. Hugs as you launch into the week: I spend Thursday and half Friday with Sue and Viveka.


  6. Heyjude says:

    So you have been with Sue and Viveka today? I bet that was fun. Hopefully no rain! Sorry I have been a little late reading your posts. Days are so busy at the moment, out in the garden mostly, and by the time I get to the computer I am so tired and really only glance at blogs. I noted yours, and had to come back to them when I had sufficient time and energy to read them properly. Looks like you had a good trip and I am impressed that you went there on your own, very brave! You took some really interesting photos there Meg. I have enjoyed the trip with you.


  7. freebutfun says:

    Seems interesting. Now I’m wondering, whether our 5 and 6 yo children would be enough interested for us adults also to have a chance to see some… or maybe we need to come back without them some day 😉


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