The Ure Museum, Reading

Recently I attended the 2013 Classical Association conference in Reading. As ever, this was a great event – plenty of thought-provoking papers and conversations, and the opportunity to present a paper, which of course made mention of Cypriot art in Leeds!

One of the highlights was my visit to the Ure Museum, based on the University campus. It has a great collection of Greek, Egyptian and Cypriot antiquities, and is not to be missed. The Ure Museum also has an excellent online database, which strikes me as a model of how to make University archaeological collections accessible.

Probably my favourite item was this Base Ring juglet, which sheds further light on the themes I was exploring in relation to the Leeds City Museum examples. I love the snaky heads, and the way that the maker’s fingerprints are still visible in the clay.

I was also pleased to find a few comparators for Miss Stott’s aryballos, featuring very similar designs of marching warriors.

The similarity of the decoration makes me wonder whether it is an allusion to some specific mythological scene; but it’s probably more likely that it’s just an attractive design, well suited to the shape of the vessel. The second example above was found in Boeotia, indicating that there was an export market for these containers and their contents, which fits well with Miss Stott’s aryballos having come from Cyprus.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Ure Museum at first hand, and will certainly be making use of the database to compare notes at a distance. Online publication is the way forward!

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