This is an archaelogical museum whose main exhibition theme is the abundance and exploitation of mines (feature that made this Island well known and famous since long term) at the Elba Island. The administration of Rio nell’Elba togheter with the Archaeological Superintendency of Tuscany and several researchers from Pisa, Siena, Florence and Venice Universities tried to fill this gap offering visitors a detailed insight of the occurrence of mineral resources in the Elba territory and a picture of the peopling of its eastern area which is strongly linked to metallurgy.
The architectonic project divides the Barcocacio a recently and well-buit building, into two exhibition floors joned by “turret-shaped” display cabinets. Tha audacious design solution of these cabinets (their metal parts are made up of steel treated with acid in order to obtain a corroded and worn away appearance, as if ruined by time) may cause bewilderment at first sight but later appears as perfectly consistent with the peculiar trait of this museum, recalling the old architectures of the mining area’s industrial plants.
The several sections of the exhibition embrace a long time span: from the first knowm archaeological evidence dating to a late phase of Copper age to those dating to protohistory, Etruscan, Roman and Late Medieval age. Everything in this museum speaks of an intense and almost restless activity.
Other collections are exhibited here for the first time, togheter with the materials from “Grotta di San Giuseppe” that, “came back home” after having been displayed of several years in Marciana Antiquarium (new completely restored to good condition). These remains come from recent and from the very last excavations led by Soprintendences and Universities helped by the passionate and careful defence of the cultural heritage pursued by Honorary Inspectors and local Archaeological groups in the Elba. Among these is the extraordinary evidence of the iron smelting plant of “San Bennato” (Cavo, Rio Marina) brought to light in 1991. We owe the grant of these important collections to the great sensibility of the Direction of the Anthropology Museum of Florence University (owner of the paletnological collection put togheter by Raffaello Foresi in the late 1800).
These testify to the great development of metallurgy in the island between the end of the Bronze age and the Early Iron age. A special exhibition in the museum is the collection of the minerals of Elba from the people of Rio that was founded in 2002 with the intention to witness the mining activity of eastern Elba and thanks to the commitment of the Municipality of Rio nell’Elba, which responded to the requests to preserve the memories expressed by the last miners and inhabitants of the village. So, in the museum there are about 200 samples of notable scientific and collectable interest, belonging to the private collections of Rio’s citizens, who have generously loaned them for exhibition to the Municipality of Rio nell’Elba.
The participation of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago which arises from the usual attention for all aspects regarding to knowledge and promotion of the cultural heritage- has been of relevant importance for the creation of this new archaeological museum in the Elba island. This museum joins those already existing in Marciana and Portoferraio, and the Park has encouraged and supported this project since the beginning with great generosity.
The Museum is open from April to November (2th).