From unique 5000-year-old stone carvings to relics of the Phoenician, Roman, Arab and Medieval Christian eras on the island, the Gozo Museum of Archaeology is a small but important window onto the earliest cultures of Gozo up to the arrival of the Knights of St John.
Sculptures of human figures from the prehistoric Ġgantija Temple complex and the nearby ix-Xagħra Circle burial site are highlights of the collection. Created before the building of the famous standing stones at Stonehenge, these figures give real insight into the lives of the first Gozitans and their remarkable ability to work with stone.
A remnant of Arab culture from the area around ix-Xewkija is also displayed in the Museum. It is the marble tombstone of an Arab girl, Majmuna (pron. Maimoona) with an inscription in Arabic dating back to 1173. Interestingly, this shows that Arab culture continued in Gozo long after the islands were taken by the Christian Count Roger the Norman in 1090. On the underside of the slab is a pagan symbol, suggesting re-use of stone from a pagan temple.
The museum is housed in a 17th century townhouse within the vast fortified walls of the Citadel. It is known as Casa Bondi after the family that originally owned it and boasts a fine carved stone balcony above the main door. Opened in 1960, this was the first museum in Gozo and remains one of the most important on the island.