More Codebreakers and Groundbreakers

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A follow-up to yesterday’s post on the Fitzwilliam Museum’s new exhibition to add some information on the related exhibition also running at the Museum of Classical Archaeology (in the Faculty of Classics). This is showcasing two aspects of the Faculty related to the Fitz’s exhibition: our collections of archival material relating to excavations by the archaeologist Alan Wace at the palace of Mycenae (which uncovered a set of Linear B tablets), and the range of current linguistic-related research taking place in the Faculty. This includes work on Linear B in the Mycenaean Epigraphy Group (which I’m a part of); the CREWS project on relationships between other ancient writing systems; the Greek in Italy project, whose name is pretty self-explanatory; and the team working on a new ancient Greek lexicon (dictionary) – a project that was started by John Chadwick, Michael Ventris’ collaborator in publishing the decipherment. Like the Fitz, it’s free to enter, plus you get to see the wonderful collection of casts of classical statues as well!

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My Museum Favourite: a Syracusan coin

George Watson explains why a replica of a Syracusan coin is his Museum Favourite from the Cast Gallery.

One of the less well known of the cast gallery’s holdings is a collection of electrotypes* of Greek coins. Amongst this pretty little set, my favourites have to be the decadrachms of Syracuse: large silver coins of about 35mm diameter struck in the Sicilian city in the late 5th century BC. I don’t normally find coins all that pretty (despite being a numismatist!), but these are real miniature masterpieces.

decadrachm

Continue reading “My Museum Favourite: a Syracusan coin”

The Labours of Herakles: Cast Gallery exhibition

Just thought I would put in a quick plug for the Cast Gallery’s current exhibtion, which launched on Friday: ‘The Labours of Herakles’ by New Zealand artist Marian Maguire. The exhibition is a series of interesting and beautifully-done etchings and lithographs depicting Herakles as a participant in the history of New Zealand – mostly focusing on the impact of colonisation, but also other events such as Gallipoli or the women’s suffrage movement. A personal favourite is the one entitled ‘Herakles Writes Home’, done as a Greek vase-painting showing Herakles the colonist in his cabin – the details of the illustration are wonderful, right down to the titles of the books on the shelf (ranging from a Greek/Maori dictionary to Mrs Beeton). But the whole series is well worth popping into the Cast Gallery for a look! (For readers not in Cambridge, you can also see them here, though the images are unfortunately rather small – these are works that really need to be seen in person to appreciate all the details!)

My Museum Favourite: the Belvedere Torso

Ruth Allen, our Graduate Museum Rep, explains why the Belvedere Torso is her Museum Favourite from the Cast Gallery.

The Belvedere TorsoDepicting just the torso and upper legs of a male figure seated on a rock, the Belvedere Torso is a remarkable fragment of classical sculpture. Although fractured, what remains is a powerful evocation of masculine physicality: the broad shoulders, the colossal chest with its rippling muscles, those mighty legs; the sheer mass of this body is breathtaking. It truly is a tour de force of ancient sculpture.

Continue reading “My Museum Favourite: the Belvedere Torso”

My Museum Favourite

Cast Gallery

Over the last two years, the University of Cambridge Museums have been running a series entitled ‘My Museum Favourite’, in which members of staff blog about their favourite museum objects. This year, it’s Res Gerendae’s turn to invite students, staff and visitors to share their favourite objects from the Museum of Classical Archaeology, aka the Cast Gallery, with us.

Anyone interested in contributing should get in touch via the comments or resgerendaeblog@gmail.com, but for now, the series starts off with Jennie Thornber, Education and Outreach Coordinator, telling us about her favourite cast, the Baby Boy with an Egyptian Goose. Continue reading “My Museum Favourite”