Beneath the Gothic Quarter’s landmark square in Barcelona lies an impressive archaeological site, the Conjunt Monumental de la Plaça del Rei, which offers visitors a glimpse of what the Roman colony of Barcino was like.
In addition to this large site, which covers an area of 4,000 m2 below the square, the monumental ensemble comprises the 11th-century Palau Comtal – the Count’s Palace – later to become the Palau Reial Major – the residence of the kings of Catalonia and Aragon –, highlights of which include the Saló del Tinell, or Great Hall, and the 14th-century Chapel of Santa Àgata. The Watchtower of King Martí was added in the 16th century. The Casa Padellàs, a Gothic Renaissance palazzo which was moved to the Plaça del Rei at the beginning of the 20th century, completes the architectural ensemble.
The museum collections mainly comprise objects taken from archaeological digs and feature such diverse materials and objects as ceramics, stone, epigraphs, glass, silver and gold, marble and stone sculptures, architectural elements, organic materials, coins, etc… spanning the Neolithic period to the present day. Highlights include Roman portraits, most of them from archaeological digs around the Roman walls; Roman and Hebrew inscriptions and ceramics (plates, bowls, oil bottles, jugs, water bowls, drinking vessels…). The museum also has a varied collection of objects from other sources.