ARCHEOLOGY MUSEUM OF  LANZAROTE

The Archeology Museum of Lanzarote brings us through the origins of the people from Lanzarote valuing its rich ethnographic heritage.

The museum is located in a unique building in the Canary Islands due to its architectural features, and it consists of two halls: one for a permanent exhibition about the culture of the majos(aboriginal people from Lanzarote) and another temporary exhibition dedicated to number 5Fajardo Street, as heritage site of the city of Arrecife, the family behind it, and the historical context during which it was built.

Opening hours:Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:00 to 18:00 and Saturdays from 10:00 to 14:00.

Adulto: 3,00 euros
Menor: gratis (0 – 12 años)
Residente canario y residente en Lanzarote Adulto: 1,00 euros
Descuento aplicable a personas con discapacidad:  30% descuento sobre precio entrada al centro presentando acreditación en taquilla.

45 minutes

Exhibition hall about the different topics related to archeology inLanzarote.

People with reduced mobility can access the centre.

No pets allowed, except for guide dogs

901 200 300

museoarqueologico@centrosturisticos.com

HALL  A

The exhibition of themajosat the Archeology Museum of Lanzarote is an introduction to the aboriginal world on the island in itself. Throughout the rectangular hall, there are themes exhibited related to archeology on the island, which is done in a scientific, approachable and enjoyable manner. The first thing visitors come across, is a globe that stands out of the wall where the North African origin of the first inhabitants of the Canary Islands is portrayed alongside an explanation of the possible hypothesis about the settlements. The hall has been provided with state-of-the-art resources combined with a selection of the most relevant pieces in the archeology of Lanzarote. All of it, allows for a better understanding of who these people were and what their life was like on the island.

VirtualReality

Afterwards, there is a room with an audiovisual screening about archeology on the island using virtual reality to make visitors feel part of an archeological excavation.

When visitors exit this room, there is an area dedicated to the majoswith texts and archeological objects that tell the story of who these people were and how they lived. Among all the display cabinets, one displaying scenography of a cave stands out. In it we can see the reproduction of a burialfound inMontaña Mina. There is also pottery, utensils made out of stone, bones and horns, animal remains, ornamental objects, ritual objects, etc. In the cave paintingssection there are different sites that can be seen on a touchscreen.

The hall narrows in the middle, separating the majossection from the research one. Both sides show themes that help us understand the significance archeology had and continues to have on the island in order to recover its past. There are themes about how thehistory of archeologyexplains the different interventions carried out with images on a screen in some of them. Visitors also have access to a 360º virtual tour of the different archeological sites using a touchscreen.

Another one of the areas is dedicated to the buried history, informing of the impact of natural events and research about the past of the island, mainly mentioning the volcanic eruptions and the progress of the use of jablecovering the island in the past centuries. This explanation goes with a display cabinet where there are elements found during excavations carried out in Peña de Las Cucharas (Fiquinineo).

Underwater Archeology

Underwater archeologyhas its own place in this exhibition showing the different related interventions carried out and showing the objects that resulted from these actions that took place underwater. Among the objects displayed, there are amphoras, canon balls, a pipe, etc. There is also a special section for the conquest as well as the pirate attacks to the island between the 14th and 18th Centuries. A screen is used to tell both stories with a language selector anda video where you can see the corresponding language. An animation technique has been used on these videos that allows you to cut long stories short. In addition, a copy of the book Le canarienis also exhibited, written by the Normansupon their arrival to the island talking about the conquest.

The Majos, the origin of a people

The first humans who settled in Lanzarote come from the north of Africa and they were known as majoso maxies.These Berber people have contacts with different Mediterranean civilisations resulting in a significant cultural exchange in a way that they take new features and influences and add them to their own way of life. Without a doubt, the groups that colonised the islands came from a North African context and therefore brought along their own culture with a strong Berber impact alongside other elements that came from other Mediterranean corners.Although the origin has been thoroughly contrasted, there is no consensus as to how or why they came to the island. The most likely theories are the ones that say they were brought over by powersdominating the Mediterranean during the first millennium B.C. It is undeniable that settlements on the island were planned ahead, since they brought animals and seeds along with them which allowed them to colonise the islands.

The social organisation on the island is influenced by the physical characteristics of the land and the demand to exploit large areas of land needed for a farming economy. It is possible that the island was organised as a sole political unity with a leader or chief who was assisted when it came to decision-making by the most important members of the family. However, some researchers point to the possibility that some time before the Conquest, the island could have been divided into two different sides. One of the most interesting features of the social organisation of the majosis that they were polyandric, women married several men. There is a number of hypothesis that try to explain this fact, and most of them are connected to having adopted this social measure in order to guarantee the survival of the population.

 

There are permanent settlements consisting of casas-honda(a type of home), made of dry stones with different shapes semi buried on the ground with stone walls generally covered by tegueon the inside. In addition, there are other less significant structures as well as natural caves used temporarily as a base for seasonal resources like grazing, shellfishing, etc. The lack of water is, without a doubt, the factor that determines and limits the life of this people the most. When choosing the location of their settlements, they used to take into account if there was water available, in ravines or water fountains. These temporary hydric resources were complemented with infrastructures they built likemaretas, a water deposit used to collect and store rainfall.

The population centres are generally located in places close to grounds that are potentially arable, where agriculture complements a farming economy. Fishing, shellfishing and possibly hunting improve their diet.

The environmental features of the island determine their material culture. They made up for lack of metals by using materials found in their surroundings such as rocks, stones, horns, shells, etc., to make different everyday life utensils.

There are plenty of majoutensils: cheese dishes, canals, small pots, small canals, water basinsand different types of engravings. It is possible that many of these manifestations were blended in with the environment and closely linked to different cultural rituals like it can be seen in some ethnohistoric texts where cults and rituals were carried out in the summit of the mountains.

Death for the majosis yet another great mystery due to a lack of burial grounds that are archeologically confirmed. It is likely that this is due to a great geological transformation undergone by the island in its most recent history: volcanic eruptions and the invasion of Jablein the 18th and 19th Centuries. With the little data available, we know that themajosused caves and graves outdoors to put their dead at rest and they had standardised funeral rituals.

The start of the archeological research in Lanzarote can be traced back to the end of the 19th Century, with the first contributions ofRené Verneau andSabino Berthelot. Aquilino Sebastián Jiménez Sánchez researched the island in the 1940s and 60s. In the 1960s, there was an inventory carried out of the archeological sites and the first excavations by brothersSerra Ràfols in the area ofSan Marcial del Rubicón. As decade later, this work resulted in the first Archeology and Ethnography Museum on the island, located in theSan Gabriel fortress inArrecife. From the last fourth of the 20th Century, there were excavations of significant sites such asZonzamas andFiquinineo, which continue to be researched currently.

MU

HallB

This hall holds a temporary exhibition and a space for different purposes like educational workshops, conferences and heritage-related courses.

The temporary exhibition is dedicated to the home in number 5 Fajardo Street, as heritage site of Arrecife, to the family behind it, and the historical context during which it was built.

In this room, visitors can enjoy Arrecife, un patrimonio arquitectónico por descubrir, (Arrecife, architectural heritage to be unveiled) a fascinating journey through the most important elements and constructions and the architectural worth of the capital of the island.