Until 31-03-2018

Tempus Fugit: Life, death and memory in the former Church of S. Julião

Free admission

Tempus Fugit: Life, death and memory in the former Church of S. Julião

Temporary exhibition that took place between November 10 2017 and March 31 2018.

The Money Museum presented its third temporary exhibition dedicated to the theme of archeology. After the Pombaline stakes and the amphoraes, the objective of this exhibition was to display some aspects discovered during the excavations related to the funerary.


In time, everybody’s time is gone

Rooted in a deeply religious society, the deposition of dead in churches, apud ecclesiam, was a common practice from the Middle Ages to the mid-19th century. Throughout the country, burial on the ground of the church, or in its surroundings, was considered the natural outcome for the life cycle of the faithful, in the belief that the salvation of souls would be provided by the proximity to the sacred ground.

However, with the modernizing advent of Liberalism, this ancestral practice would definitely be banned. The 1844 decree-law, which prohibited burials in churches, beginning a period of internal upheaval, known as the Maria da Fonte Revolution. Since that date, open-air public cemeteries have become the destination for the remains of the population.

The evolution of the Church of São Julião fits in this timeline. Built in the early 19th century, it has gone through troubled times and cyclical crises and, during the first decades, it was the scene of hundreds of burials. The largest portion was discovered in the central nave, creating an intricate mosaic, where a total number of burials still covers men and women, adults and children, lay and religious, individuals and ossuaries, canonical graves and bizarre cases.

Part of this population was revealed by the archeological excavations of 2010-2011. Its more than three hundred funerary events are the starting point for the exhibition, an approach to the demographic, cultural and anthropological universe of the parish of São Julião in the first half of the 19th century.


The history of this place, the old Church of S. Julião, is evoked by the testimonies of its close predecessors, the population of the first half of the 19th century, buried in the necropolis that today gives rise to the museum. Do we seek to know who these individuals are? How did they live? How did they die? What did you take on your last trip?

The exhibition added a chapter to the building's long journey: that of genesis as a sacred space. The exhibition centers around, anthropological and archaeological evidence resulting from the burials of the necropolis, individual and collective, material depositions, documentation, photographs and pieces from different collections that support questions raised during the investigation and inquiries related to an excavation with scale, presented in the field of funerary archeology in Lisbon in the 21st century.

We wanted to expose the scientific contribution of the testimonies of the death to the knowledge of living conditions and, in this perspective, to show the consequences of time and the transformations recorded in physical matter, or in what remains from it.

The exhibition was divided into three main areas:

Cemetery - reproduction, on a real scale, of the burial plan, showing the dimension and extreme complexity of the cemetery and the common line of burials, which were made in a simple pit, without architecture or monumentality, and with the maximum maximization of the church ground; the parish book of death can be seen on the old altar;

Belief and memory - exhibition of personal and intimate objects (rosaries, crosses, medals, buttons ...) deposited with burials and recovered in the archaeological excavation mirror the beliefs, habits and ideals with which the deceased wanted to be accompanied in the Hereafter and portray the simple character and the strong religiosity of the funerary objects of this parish;

Anatomy and pathology - dedicated to scientific issues, this room displays photographs of the excavation work, as well as images related to the laboratory operations that completed them - for example, radiographs that testify to several pathologies identified in this population - and, in addition, some of the medical instruments of the time, which make it possible to establish a bridge between current and at the time science, emphasizing public health issues.


Exhibition credits

Archeologist Artur Rocha

Curatorship and museography, project coordination and cultural and educational programming
Museu do Dinheiro - Departamento de Serviços de Apoio/Banco de Portugal 

Graphic and exhibition design, technical support
Departamento de Serviços de Apoio - Banco de Portugal 

Artur Rocha | Arqueohoje

Audiovisuals, lighting
Departamento de Serviços de Apoio - Banco de Portugal 

Conservation and restoration

Structures and assembly
Uh! Illustrated Phrases

John Huffstot

Departamento de Serviços de Apoio - Banco de Portugal 


Tempus Fugit: Life, death and memory in the former Church of S. Julião
Temporary exhibition that took place between November 10 2017 and March 31 2018.

During the course of the exhibition there were several activities associated with the exhibition guided tours with the  archeologist Artur Rocha, conversations about archeology, one seminar, family workshops.

For more informations contact us at info@museudodinheiro.pt or +351 213 213 240

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