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The Giuseppe Whitaker Museum

 

The Giuseppe Whitaker Museum, situated in the house built by Giuseppe Whitaker on the island of Motya, which he used as a country residence, contains exhibits coming for the most part, from the ancient Phoenician city of Motya.
In addition to the historical Whitaker Collection, displayed in the Whitaker wing, in the same wooden showcase painted white in the early 1900s, the museum houses a vast selection of materials coming from the modern excavations, which have taken place in different parts of inhabited Motya (1960-1990), placed in the premises after the restructuring of the service area of the building itself.
The first room is dedicated entirely to didactics: a plastic model of the island of Motya indicates archaeological zones and there are numerous illustrated panels regarding the history of the Phoenicians and their civilization. 
The room with the skylight, the old service courtyard of the Whitaker building, houses the statue of “Giovane of Mozia”; at the back of the statue, two doors lead into the new exhibition.
The large room with a trussed roof, the former Whitaker kitchen, contains the showcases and panels, which were found in the prehistoric era, the materials from the Fortifications and those from the various inhabited zones in Motya.
Industrial activities developed on the island, consisting mostly of the making of pots, are illustrated by the objects coming from the “industrial zone south of the necropolis” and in the “east zone K/K”, in which were also found beside a kiln, amphorae still to be fired together with pots which had been badly fired.
A big city like Motya must certainly have had more than one place of worship.  Up to now, we know of the “Cappiddazzu” sanctuary, whose architectural style is of the period after the destruction of 397 B.C.   The excavations of the sanctuary restored to it Phoenician as well as Greek materials (7th -4th  century B.C.) but also Roman pottery and objects from the medieval period, maybe from the frequent visits to the area, by the Basilian monks, who built a basilica right on the remains of the pagan sanctuary.  The English excavations of the 1970s located, moreover, two small chapels outside the walls of the North Gate.   The back room is dedicated entirely to the exhibition of materials from the Tofet, the typical sanctuary of the west Phoenician city, excavated by Professor A. Ciasca.  Large inscribed stelae and masks as well as numerous pots relating to the sanctuary’s long history can be found there.
Finally, three showcases are reserved for the exhibition of the offerings from the ancient necropolis of Motya of both Greek and Phoenician material dating from the end of the 7th and 5thcenturies B.C.  Also presented are offerings from the necropolis of Birgi found in 1996.
A large white panel divides the new exhibition from the Whitaker wing, with the Collection of Giuseppe Whitaker as the last part of the new museum’s itinerary, as well as being its original centre. 

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