Located inside Alcoutim Castle, the Archaeology Museum comprises two long-term exhibitions:
- Alcoutim’s Archaeological Heritage
This exhibition was opened on 15th April 2000 by Member of the European Parliament Mr Joaquim Manuel Santos Vairinhos, and has since undergone remodelling on three occasions. The core idea of the exhibition is a historical journey starting in the Neolithic (5,000 to 3,000 B.C.) and ending in the 20th century, and a thematic tour of the exhibition that directs visitors in such a way as to establish a relationship with them based on a sequence of surprises.
The objectives that led the Municipality of Alcoutim to create this exhibition were as follows:
– To present to the public the collection of archaeological material that has been gathered, analysed and researched by a range of researchers in the municipality over the years;
– To publicise, enrich and promote the archaeological heritage as a means of safeguarding the collective memory and cultural identity of the region, thereby consolidating the sources and foundations of the regional structures themselves;
– To showcase the archaeological structures present in the “Castle Exhibition Room” by making them part of the tour of the exhibition and thereby recognising their value.
- Exhibition Timeless Games. Timeless Games – Boards and playing pieces from the Old Castle of Alcoutim.
The exhibition was opened on 20th November 2005 in the former magazine of Alcoutim Castle, with the aim of displaying the collection of games from archaeological digs carried out in the Old Castle of Alcoutim by Doctor Helena Catarino since 1985.
The collection comprises 39 boards, some complete and others in fragments, and 18 small playing pieces. Carved on slabs of schist, these boards belong to six different types: Alquerque, Tabula, Nine Men’s Morris, Tapatan, Mancala III (?) and Game of the Soldier (?). It is worth noting that this collection comprises the largest group and the largest number of different types of boards dating from the Islamic era from a single archaeological site in Portugal.
A visit to this centre is complemented by visits to the archaeological sites of the Lavajo Menhirs, the Montinho das Laranjeiras Ruins and the Old Castle of Alcoutim.