Ancient Lives - Ian Potter Museum of Art

Ancient Lives

24 Jul 2023 — 08 Nov 2024

Ancient Lives: Insights from the Classics and Archaeology Collection

Curators: Dr Tamara Lewit and Dr Caroline Tully, Honorary Fellows, Classics & Archaeology

This exhibition provides a glimpse into life in the Greek and Roman worlds, through everyday, ritual and luxury objects from the University of Melbourne’s Classics and Archaeology Collection.




Guest curators Dr Tamara Lewit and Dr Caroline Tully, both Honorary Fellows in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, have chosen items that tell a fascinating story of the often-hidden lives of women, men, children, athletes and artisans, rich and poor, in the ancient world – including wine drinking, mourning the dead, and beauty routines.  


The Classics and Archaeology Collection is one of the cornerstones of object-based learning at the University of Melbourne. From the origins of the Collection in 1901 with the donation of five Egyptian papyri, it has played an important role in teaching and research. Now managed by the Museums and Collections department, it has continued to grow through donations and purchases to encompass over 2,400 objects, with significant holdings of Classical, Cypriot and Near Eastern material.  


The Classics and Archaeology teaching program at the University of Melbourne offers a multidisciplinary perspective on Egyptian, Near Eastern, Aegean, Greek and Roman civilisations and their interactions with each other and the wider Eurasian region from prehistory to late antiquity. It includes the study of archaeology, ancient society, politics, literature, myth and art, and Greek, Latin and Egyptian languages.