Himera was established in 648 BC by the colonist from Chalcis urbo settled here together with the exiles from Zancle and Miletus. It was the only Greek colony overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, a very important commercial outpost at the time, and for this reason it became a major interest for the Carthaginians and the people from Agrigento and Syracuse. The colony only lasted 240 years, but this time was enough to let it become on the most important centers of Magna Graecia. In fact, the excavation started in 1929 by Pirro Marconi, revealed so many significant finds that building a museum became necessary in order to keep and exhibit all of them. The Antiquarium was inaugurated in the mid-1980’s, located between the tableland of Himera and Tamburino. A pioneering project at the time, because the museum is barrier-free and all the multi-level exhibition areas are connected to each other by large ramps. The museum remained closed for a few years to be finally reopened to the public in 2001. The exhibition areas follow a topographic order instead of a chronological order, each area of the old colony is illustrated by some specific educational boards allowing visitors to get an overall view of the objects exposed in modular cases and lower glass cases obtained from the gaps between the different levels. In the introducory room of the museum, there is the “Phiale Aurea” of Caltavuturo, a gold libation dish only recently recovered from the black market and an ancient coins case containing a remarkable collection of old coins used in the Sicilian colonies, including the colony of Himera. In the second level there are several achitectural items and votive offerings coming from the Temenos of Athena, located in the upeer sacred area of the city, where the remains of the three temple (A,B,C), the Stoa and an altar are still visible. Other remarkable pieces of the museum are the small gold lamina featurng the Gorgon on her knee, coming from temple A, and some decorative element such as acroterions and antefixes coing from temple B, all exemples of refined Siceliot coroplastic art. In the third level we find objects related to the old artisian tradition and manual works such as loom weights, oil lamps, kitchen pots but also terracotta altars and louteria coming from the built-up area of the old city. The bottom level is instead dedicated to the colony necropolis, only three nceropolis were believed to exist in the city until the recent excavations whose finds will be shown in the projectof the Archeological Park. Here we have different funeral ornaments, vessels, big Punic and Greek-Norman amphorae commonly devoted to the burial tire of young children, the so-called enchytrismòs. Another impressive piece of museum is the cast representing the “Sarcophagus of the Spouses” dating back to the end of the VI century and containing the two skeletons of a man and a woman buried in an embrace. Finally, there is a whole sector devoted to some remarkable sites of the area such as a Terravecchia di Cuti, Monte Riparato, Brucato adn Cefalù. The warehouse of the museum is overcrowded with many other remains and hundresa of bones and funeral items unearthed during the recent excavations of the western necropolis and not yet exhibited. The mass graves have revealed the bones of soldiers still pierced by daggers, arrows and spears, victims of the battles occurred in 480 BC and in 409 BC, when the city was eventually destroyed. The necropolis has rendered other numerous tombs of the enchytrismòs kind providing evidence of the high infant mortality rate by that time, small ceramics, guttus and also adult tombs of the cappuccina kind, holding small treasure of Siceliot coins.
- “Termini Imerese ritorno alla Civitas Splendidissima” della Dott.ssa Manuela Sinatra; tratto da la rivista “I Beni Culturali” anno 2012