Continuing our walk around the city centre at the corner of Benaki and Papazoglou streets we meet the building of the former Benakeion Archaeological Museum. It was housed in a mansion of the 19th century, donated to the Archaeological Service by Antonios Benakis, the founder of the museum with the same name in Athens. A building of popular architecture with a roof of ceramic tiles, an attic, and three stories high, it hosts today administrative services, while the Museum has been transferred.
The museum exhibits cover a period between the Bronze Age and the Roman period and originate from the broader region of Messenia. Statues, fragments, column heads, ceramic and bronze household implements, kraters (wine vessels), pottery, jewellery and seals are among its main artefacts.
There is an area dedicated to the prehistoric and the first historic years of the region. There the visitor can see findings from the settlement and the Mycenaean "tholos" tomb excavated in the village of Nichoria, an area to the west of Kalamata that was inhabited from the Middle Helladic period until the Byzantine era.
The findings from Nichoria as pottery, stone tools, idols, and weaving equipment are considered significant since they offer information for the "Dark Ages", a period for which we did not have a satisfactory level of knowledge. Its excavation was carried out by the University of Minnesota between 1969-1973, and the researches of archaeologists, geologists, anthropologists, paleobotanists all conclude that the settlement had a cultural continuity without any interruptions. In other words, it never ceased to be inhabited from the Early Helladic period until the Minoan age. This is confirmed by the study of the pottery: decorated shards with motifs and a glaze have a clear Minoan influence.