Ode to a Grecian box – some thoughts on the multiple histories of our Ancient Greek handling collection
By Celine West, on 11 April 2011
We have several boxes of stuff that we lend to schools. Not any old stuff of course, these are boxes containing some great objects from the collections, including one box that contains 15 objects from Ancient Greece that are part of our Archaeology Collections. There are metal animals and figurative pieces including a ceramic woman; there are decorated potsherds – broken pieces of pottery – as well as a couple of whole jugs.
These objects are roughly two and a half thousand years old and were used in a variety of domestic circumstances in different parts of the Grecian world, by people who we can imagine had not the slightest inkling of where that old jug that Daddy broke when he’d been at the retsina would end up.
The objects have this history, the history of their creation and use in their original context, and they have the history of their discovery and excavation, followed by their journey into our collection. They were brought together as a teaching collection about ten years ago, with the purpose of using them to help Primary School teachers when their class is learning the History topic What was life like in Ancient Greece?