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Culture and history museum
One of Madrid’s oldest museums, Museo Arqueológico Nacional dates back to 1867. It shares the same building as the Biblioteca Nacional and Museo del Libro.
It traces the evolution of human cultures, from prehistoric times up to the 15th century, and the collection of artifacts includes finds from the Iberian, Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, Punic, Roman, Paleochristian, Visigothic and Muslim cultures.
Remarkably, the great majority of pieces came from excavations carried out within Spain, illustrating the extraordinary continuity and diversity of human settlement in the Iberian peninsula. Some of the most interesting relics are from the area Madrid itself, such as the many 4,000-year old bell-shaped pottery bowls.
The first floor holds the museum’s most famous possession, the Dama de Elche, the intricate stone bust of an Iberian priestess, believed to date from 500BC. In the garden, steps lead underground to a reproduction of the renowned Altamira prehistoric cave paintings in Cantabria.