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    Pottery Project guest Blog: Pottery on the move.

    By Alice E Stevenson, on 15 April 2014

    Guest blog by Margaret Serpico

    In our fifth in the series on different perspectives on Egyptian pottery Mararet Serpico, Curator of Virtual Resources at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, looks at the topic of transporting commodities.

    I never cease to be amazed by the lengths ancient Egyptians and their neighbours went to transport goods back and forth to each other around the Mediterranean. Especially when it involved moving small, delicate pottery containers or, alternatively, large pottery storage jars (which even empty weigh a lot!) over great distances. We are lucky in the Petrie Museum to have a number of these large jars in the collection. Not only did they make it around the Mediterranean, but they also made it here to England.

    Example of a Canaanite amphora. Preserved height, 55.0 cm.

    Example of a large, 55 cm-tall Canaanite amphora in the  Petrie Museum.


    Introducing the Touching Heritage volunteer blog

    By Nicholas Vogelpoel, on 26 November 2012

    I am not sure that I will ever look at a piece of opal the same way again, after a patient at UCLH told me that the piece they were holding reminded them of jellied eel. Apparently, the opal looked, felt and even smelled like a slithery, slimy eel. I’ve heard of flint axe heads that look like poached flathead, amazonite that feels like soap and, eerie faces hidden in the sides of smoky quartz. But, this obviously takes things to a new level.

    Jellied eel anyone? Delicious.

    Touching objects from UCL’s collections seems to ignite all sorts of stories and memories. Patients at UCLH are genuinely excited to see my team of volunteers, with their ‘very useful boxes’ brimming with wondrous, weird and beautiful objects. For me, it is all about the conversations. I’ve met people from all sorts of places, with all sorts of pasts. Every now and again, I meet a real-life expert, and the information cards I have created for the objects pale in comparison to their wealth of knowledge. Never mess with an archaeologist, I guess.

    As part of the project, the Touching Heritage programme has a volunteer-led blog, where volunteers working on the project will upload regular posts about their experiences. To find out more about the project and to read the latest blog entries, jump in and see just how the UCL museums are working to improve community health and wellbeing.

    Most people we meet in the hospitals, care homes and community health settings we are working in rarely go to museums, and are often bored, tired and unwell. The amazing team of volunteers working on the Touching Heritage project bring their energy and enthusiasm to each participant, and the object-handling sessions notably lift spirits, relieve boredom, and always spark the most unusual conversations.