Museum of Obsidian
Site Category: Cultural
Pau’s Museum of Obsidian was officially inaugurated in Pau on 6 March 2010. The museum, created in collaboration with the University of Cagliari and the Historical and Environmental Geomineral Park of Sardinia, is the only single-issue museum in Europe dedicated to obsidian. The museum has officially obtained recognition from the Region of Sardinia pursuant to Regional Law no. 14 of 20 September 2006 and of the DGR n. 33/21 of 08 August 2013, as an entity that is part of the Museum System of the Region of Sardinia, based on the ICOM (International Council of Museums) guidelines. The Museum of Obsidian is structured in four rooms:
- “Lithic raw materials of Monte Arci”, where the geological history of Monte Arci is explained;
- “Obsidian and its characteristics”, where the physical and compositional properties of this volcanic glass are explained and where various obsidians from all over the world are exhibited;
- "The obsidian of Monte Arci", focusing on the knowledge of Sardinian obsidian regarding its mechanical and technological properties and the various types present;
- “Prehistoric rock processing”, where visitors find out how obsidian was used during Prehistoric times and how it was processed.
The rooms are complemented by an arcade, which preserves part of the collections of works of art and crafts owned by the Municipality of Pau and the Province of Oristano, and an internal courtyard where there is an example of a mountain environment with the reproduction of a center of obsidian processing. Very briefly, the process started with the raw material, obsidian, which circulated as a semi-finished product and was further transformed in the villages of Sardinia and in the overseas export areas (Corsica, Italian Peninsula, Spain, France) where it reached the end of the exchange circuit. The Museum of Obsidian is also part of the nearby Obsidian Park, located a few kilometers from the urban center of Pau.
The visit to the museum is completed by a pleasant, well-equipped network of paths that cross lush oak woods surrounded by the environmental and landscape features of Monte Arci itself. The guided tour of the archaeological area of Sennixeddu, with the help of an archaeologist, allows participants to visit the places where the Neolithic communities were engaged in the activity of chipping obsidian, to produce a semi-finished product which was then also exported outside the island. In addition, the visitor has the opportunity to also learn to distinguish between a natural obsidian fragment and a processed one and also to understand what constituted a prehistoric stone-processing laboratory and what are the indicative signs useful for recognizing an obsidian fragment as an archaeological finding.
The museum develops projects in collaboration with schools, local authorities, universities and cultural associations, and organizes promotional activities for the enhancement of the collections and the archaeological and cultural heritage of the entire territory, in addition to issues related to obsidian. Guided tours are organized both during the culture week and on the occasion of specific initiatives during the year. The calendar of initiatives for visitors is scheduled periodically and published both on the institutional page of the museum and on Facebook at the "Museo dell'Ossidiana" page. Throughout the year, specialized conferences, educational workshops for children of different age groups, families and groups of adults are organized. The dissemination of information takes place via mailing lists, press, web, social networks.
For further information please visit the Museum website