Unseen Museum

23 MAY 2023 - 31 JULY 2023

“Ancient hot-water bottles”

Ancient clay hot-water bottles from the National Archaeological Museum.
Stamped inscription: ΗΡΑΚΛΕΙΔΗΣ. Detail from the triangular flask (hot-water bottle) from Tanagra (?), inv no NAM A 2235.
Graphic attribution of the functional position of such vessels from the cemetery of Gialova, Messenia. (©Archaeological Museum of Pylos/Ministry of Culture and Sports)
Ancient clay hot-water bottles from the National Archaeological Museum. Snapshot for the conservation of the triangular flask (hot-water bottle), inv no NAM A 27857.

The Unseen Museum is the well-known exhibition project of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens that brings to the fore antiquities stored in its vaults away from the visitor’s eyes.


In the late spring of 2023 the Unseen Museum presents the “ancient hot-water bottles”. It is a set of clay vessels for therapeutic use, dating from the end of the 3rd to the 1st century BC,  from Athens, Chalkis, Tanagra and from other origins. These objects, which for years were characterized as ordinary flasks, were recognized as the paraphernalia of doctors, athletes and pharmacists of antiquity. The strange shapes and the special way of making them made them suitable for the relief of various ailments.  The “ancient hot-water bottles” are presented in the “Hall of the Altar” (no. 34) from Tuesday, May 23 to Monday, July 31, 2023.


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