Did you know that Strasbourg was founded by the Romans? Some of the remains can still be seen in Strasbourg's archaeology museum. During a visit, I took my daughter on a journey through time, from prehistory to the Middle Ages, via the Roman camp of Argentoratum.
An archaeological museum in the Palais Rohan
Created in the 18th century, Strasbourg's archaeology museum has one of the largest archaeological collections in France. It has been housed in the vast basement of the Palais Rohan since 1896. The objects on display bear witness to the region's rich past and the incredible work of the archaeologists who have brought these forgotten stories to life. You'll be fascinated by the remains of the civilisations that have succeeded one another here, with discoveries ranging from Palaeolithic tools to medieval artefacts.
But that's not all! The museum also offers activities for families, such as games and interactive trails that allow children to have fun while they learn. They can go in search of animals hidden in the museum or discover the ancestors of everyday objects. And for those who dream of becoming archaeologists, the museum offers an observation and experiment booklet to explore behind the scenes of this fascinating profession.
The museum's collections: a journey through time
The region has been home to many cultures and eras, from the Neolithic to the Roman era, via the barbarian invasions and the Middle Ages. Strasbourg's Archaeological Museum takes you on a fascinating journey through these different periods, highlighting the evolution and diversity of the peoples who have trodden this land.
Your visit will take you through the major stages in the history of Strasbourg and Alsace, from the first traces of human life in prehistoric times to the splendour of the Middle Ages. In particular, you'll discover the remains of the Roman era, when Strasbourg was known as Argentoratum, as well as evidence of the Merovingian period, marked by political and cultural upheaval.
The museum houses an incredible variety of objects. You'll find sculptures, inscriptions, pottery, tools, jewellery and many other treasures testifying to the richness of this region through the ages.
An exceptional collection
Strasbourg's archaeological museum has one of the largest collections of archaeological objects in France. These include prehistoric tools, works of art, sculptures, jewellery and weapons. These objects come mainly from excavations carried out in the Alsace region, but also from other parts of France and Europe.
Prehistory and Antiquity at Strasbourg's archaeological museum
The museum tour is divided into several sections, each dedicated to a specific historical period. The first part of the museum is devoted to prehistory, where you will discover the first flint tools used by our ancestors, as well as prehistoric art objects such as figurines, pottery and jewellery.
The tour continues with the Gallo-Roman era, when the city of Strasbourg was founded as Argentoratum. Here you'll discover a wealth of finds from excavations in the region, including fragments of mosaics, bronze and stone statues, and everyday objects such as crockery, oil lamps and jewellery. You can even see a scale model of the Roman camp at Argentoratum, the forerunner of Strasbourg.
The Middle Ages and modern times
The final part of your visit to Strasbourg's archaeological museum is devoted to the Middle Ages and the modern era. Here you can admire a fine collection of medieval sculptures, including capitals from Strasbourg's former cathedral, as well as objets d'art and architectural remains bearing witness to daily life in the Middle Ages.
The tour ends with the modern period, where you can discover objects dating from the Renaissance to the end of the 18th century.
My opinion of the Musée Archéologique de Strasbourg
I have to say that I was impressed by the quality of the reconstructions and the richness of the collections. The different styles and periods are magnificently represented, providing an exceptional visual experience.
However, this is an 'old-fashioned' museum that clearly lacks an attractive, interactive touch to make the collections more accessible. The itinerary is not always clear, which can make the visit confusing, especially at the exit.
Practical information for your visit
The museum is open every day except Tuesday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 6pm on weekdays and from 10am to 6pm at weekends.
The full price is €7.50, the reduced price €3.50.
- If you are planning to visit several of the city's museums, in particular the Museum of Fine Arts or the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, both located in the Palais Rohan, I recommend that you take the 1-Day Museum Pass, available from the museum ticket office.
- Visits to the museum are free on the 1st Sunday of each month and during Heritage Days. On the other hand, it's a bit more crowded.
- The Strasbourg City Card gives you a 50% discount on the price of admission. The pass also gives you discounts for 7 days on many other visits and activities.
Strasbourg City Card - 7-Day City Pass
Explore Strasbourg with a 7-day city pass that offers discounted rates for attractions and activities. Climb up the Strasbourg Cathedral, take a guided walking tour, or visit the Château Vodou Museum.