Museum Marathon

A small but very nice museum is that of Marathon, a few kilometers from the famous burial mound. The museum displays numerous finds from the region’s rich past, with a pre-historic (Middle Helladic 2000-1600 BC) burial field at Vranas, where among other things 7 burial mounds have been excavated, each 1.5 m high and surrounded by a circle of stones. Each hill lays in a larger courtyard, containing several coffin tombs. The dead lay in a foetal position and had been given terracotta vases, jewelry and tools made of stone and metal. An even older burial field (3200-2000 B.C.) has been excavated in Tsepi, containing Cycladic idols and other typical Cycladic vessels. The main reason to visit the museum, however, is that some of the rooms are dedicated to the incredibly wealthy Athenian Herodes Atticus (101-177) who was born in Marathon and owned a large estate there. Like many contemporaries, Herodes Atticus no longer sought his religious experience in the classical gods, but instead focused on one or more mystery religions. For example, he had a shrine erected near his estate for the worship of Isis, an Egyptian goddess who promised an afterlife. Located close to the sea near the town of Brexiza, this sanctuary has been beautifully preserved and is accessible during the museum’s opening hours. The many fine Egyptian-looking statues are in the museum of Marathon, with concrete replicas on site. The remains of a large bathhouse (also built by Herodes Atticus) lies next to it.