Classics and Archaeology Classics and Archaeology Collection

The Collection

The Classics and Archaeology Collection forms part of the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne and is one of the University’s 31 cultural collections.

Objects are on display in the Classics and Archaeology Gallery located on Level 1 of the Ian Potter Museum of Art, Swanston Street, Carlton.

For further information about the Classics and Archaeology Collection contact the Lecturer-Curator in Classics and Archaeology, Andrew Jamieson, on telephone (03) 8344 3403 or email asj@

New Exhibition - Images of Life: Ancient Greek Vases

Ian Potter Museum of Art, 26 April 2016 to 18 September 2016

At the end of the Late Bronze Age, Greece was plunged into a Dark Age lasting for several centuries. In the 9th century BCE there was a revival of economic and artistic activity that culminated in the glories of the Classical period. During this time black-figure and later red-figure vase painting techniques developed, enabling artists to produce some of the most distinctive artistic works of ancient Greece.

Most of the important pottery producing centres of the Greek world are represented in the University of Melbourne’s Classics and Archaeology Collection: Athens, Corinth, east Greece and south Italy. The Greek vase collection held at the Ian Potter Museum of Art covers the period from the thirteenth to the fourth centuries BCE, and is regarded as one of the most significant in Australia.

The images and iconography of Greek vase-painting are a tremendously rich resource for looking into the attitudes and values of the ancient Athenians and classical civilization. The diversity of scenes provides one of the best sources for understanding Greek society, from daily life to religious beliefs. Images of Life includes vases showing mythical narratives and heroic subjects alongside more prosaic scenes such as sporting events, music lessons, domestic chores and children at play, all painting a vivid picture of life in ancient Greece.