Situated in the basement of Metropol Parasol in Plaza Encarnacion, this is a modern, well-presented archaeological museum following a similar format to the Castillo San Jorge (Inquisition Museum), with sections of ruins visible through glass partitions, and underfoot along walkways.
These Roman and Moorish remains, dating from the first century BC to the 12th century AD, were discovered when the area was being excavated to build a car park in 2003. It was decided to incorporate them into the new Metropol Parasol development, with huge mushroom-shaped shades covering a market, restaurants and concert space.
The museum is reached down the stairs from the Plaza - you can already see the ruins though the plate-glass windows to your right before you enter.
There are 11 areas of remains: seven houses with mosaic floors, columns and wells; fish salting vats; and various streets. The best is Casa de la Columna (5th century AD), a large house with pillared patio featuring marble pedestals, surrounded by a wonderful mosaic floor – look out for the laurel wreath (used by emperors to symbolise military victory and glory) and diadem (similar meaning, used by athletes), both popular designs in the latter part of the Roman Empire. You can make out where the triclinium (dining room) was, and its smaller, second patio, the Patio de Oceano.
The symbol of the Antiquarium, the kissing birds, can be seen at the centre of a large mosaic which has been reconstructed on the wall of the museum. The other major mosaic is of Medusa, the god with hair of snakes, laid out on the floor. Look out for the elaborate drinking vessel at the corners of the mosaic floor of Casa de Baco (Bacchus’ house, god of wine).
If you’ve visited any other Roman sites in southern Spain, you’ll probably have seen fish-salting vats, salazones. There are some here, too, dating from the 1st century AD – the river Baetica used to flow nearby so the fish was brought here to be preserved. Popular fish included sardines, bream, mullet, hake and mackerel – tastes haven’t changed much since Roman times.
Information, on video screens, is detailed and clear, with detailed explanations, VR reconstructions and photographs of the original excavation showing how the various remains were found.
It is planned that the Carambolo treasure, a hoard of Phoenician jewellery dating from the sixth century, currently in the Archaeological Museum, will be housed here.
Plaza de la Encarnación s/n,
Tues - Sat: 10:00 - 20:00
Sun: 10:00 - 14:00
free for Students, Retired, Disabled, and Seville Residents.