The Martinique Pre-Colombian Archaeology and Prehistory Museum
The Archaeology Museum preserves and disseminates the oldest heritage items found in Martinique (500 B.C.). There are archaeological remains dating from the 4th century B.C. to around the 16th century A.D. They are evidence of the existence of life and of a social organisation in Martinique long before the arrival of the Europeans.
Apart from movable archaeological items such as ceramics, stone and shell items, bones and a gift of a piece of pre-Hispanic Colombian jewellery, the museum displays other facets of our Amerindian heritage. The visitor is invited to better understand Martinique’s Amerindian history through items of daily life used then that we borrowed in the 20th century from the Amerindians of French Guyana, Brazil, Venezuela and Dominica.
The aim of the General Council is to make this global knowledge of the ‘first peoples’ of the West Indies available to as many people as possible through the Archaeology Museum today and in the future through the MUCAPA (Museum of Amerindian Civilisations of the Lesser Antilles).
The mandate: acquire, develop, preserve and disseminate
The museum is housed in the former military supplies building that was completed in 1898. The museum saw the light of day in 1970 with Mr. Mario Mattioni as curator, one of the pioneers of archaeology in Martinique.
In 1983, with help from the French Department of Museums (DMF), the museum became the Pre-Columbian Archaeology and Prehistory Museum of Martinique. It belongs to the General Council of Martinique but comes under the technical control of the DMF. It offers the public the largest and most diversified archaeology collection in the Lesser Antilles.. Like many such museums, the Archaeology Museum obtained the ‘Musée de France’ seal in 2003. This seal is regularly reviewed by the DMF, which does a scientific assessment.
The museum has a library open to the public by appointment and storage space containing objects found during excavations in Martinique.
Over the years, with the support of donors and depositors, the museum has enlarged its collections. It now offers the public access to all of them through images and documentary records.
The museum in the project
The museum contributes to the Martinique Heritage Database not only archaeological remains, but also a rich collection of photographs of Martinique in the 1960s from the Arlette Lameynardie collection that invites us to follow the development of our island both through aerial photographs and through scenes of daily life and economic and social events.
Participating in the Martinique Heritage Database is a way for the museum to contribute to the development of scientific research and to give the public of today and tomorrow access to Martinique’s heritage.
The Archaeology Museum
Le Musée départemental d’archéologie précolombienne et de préhistoire de la Martinique
9 rue de la Liberté
Tel: +596 (0)596 71 57 05