Introduction | Arthur Evans | Archive Overview | Aegean Collection

Aegean Collection


View of the Cycladic and Minoan collections on display in the Aegean World gallery at the Ashmolean Museum.


View of the Minoan and Mycenaean collections on display in the Aegean World gallery at the Ashmolean Museum.

The Aegean collection at the Ashmolean Museum comprises around 10,000 objects. It is the largest and most comprehensive outside Greece. It contains Neolithic, Bronze and Early Iron Age material from mainland Greece and the islands.

The Cycladic collections, which include several marble figurines and vessels, copper and stone tools, jewellery and clay pots, were largely the gift of Prof. R.M. Dawkins and of the early BSA excavations (1896-1899) at Phylakopi on Melos as well as of A.J. Evans's purchases for the Museum. The Ashmolean houses the largest collection of Aegean seals, rings and sealings and of Aegean scripts outside Greece and of Minoan antiquities outside Crete. The largest part of the Cretan antiquities comes from Sir Arthur Evans's excavations at Knossos and his personal collections from his travels and explorations throughout Crete. It comprises clay, stone and metal vessels, fresco fragments, bronze weapons and tools, jewellery, clay coffins (larnakes) and figurines. Among the most notable assemblages are also the offerings from the Psychro Cave (A.J. Evans excavations) and the Petsofas Peak Sanctuary (J.L. Myres excavations). The collection also includes hundreds of historical replicas and a number of famous forgeries, such as the gems of the so-called 'Thisbe Treasure' and the 'boy-God'. In addition, the Ashmolean holds representative Neolithic and Mycenaean collections, mainly pots and sherds from mainland Greece and the islands.

A major strength of the Aegean collections is the relatively high percentage of provenanced material and the presence of the Sir Arthur Evans and Knossos excavations archives. Both elements present a remarkable opportunity to restudy the material from old excavations. The Aegean collections play an active role in research and in the University’s teaching. A companion guide to the Aegean World gallery and the Aegean collection at the Ashmolean, edited by Yannis Galanakis, is available: The Aegean World. A Companion Guide to the Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean Collections in the Ashmolean Museum", University of Oxford, Oxford and Athens: Ashmolean Museum and Kapon Editions, 2013. shop.ashmolean.org/index.php/books/the-aegean-world.html

For a list of sites, from which the Ashmolean holds objects, check the regions below:

  1. Crete
  2. Mainland Greece
  3. Islands

  4. Digital Linear B Tablets from Knossos


View of the Cycladic and Minoan collections on display in the Aegean World gallery at the Ashmolean Museum.


View of the Minoan and Mycenaean collections on display in the Aegean World gallery at the Ashmolean Museum.