On the 14th of November, Chis & Sid’s Sixth Form Latin and Classics students attended a Classics day at the British Museum. As part of the day, students listened to several lectures, as well as gallery tours in which they had a chance to personally handle some ancient artefacts.
After the introductions, the group of students were given a lecture on aspects of ancient Greek life. In this lecture we were given details of Greek life from birth to death through details presented to historians via found artefacts, which was extremely interesting. Not only because we got some small insight into the day of a museum historian, but also as we could see how much historical value one piece of pottery or a part of a statue could hold for us.
After the introductory lecture we were left to navigate the maze that is the British Museum and attended our first ‘handling session’. In this we got to look at pieces of glass and pottery left over from the Roman invasion of Britain, once again in awe at the age of the artefacts and how much history they represented.
The Roman Women gallery talk was especially interesting as we found out that there had been at least one pair of female gladiators! Not only that but we were able to look at the only carving that had ever been found which indicated female gladiators existed. For now, anyway. It was rather extraordinary to look at something so rare, just sitting out in the open like that. Somewhat of a historical mystery perhaps.
Shortly after this gallery talk, with a short intermission for taking photos and for lunch, we were back in the lecture hall. This second lecture was the favourite part of my day personally, as it was on the aspects of Roman life according to the artefacts. Unlike the Greek lecture, we were told the ins and outs of how to analyse things with some form of X-Ray machine which analysis pigments in friezes and decorations. The juxtaposition between the modern technology and the ancient artefacts was quite mind-boggling.
The rest of the day was another handling session where we were able to actually touch pieces of actual ancient statues! As well as a talk about the perks of studying Classics at university.
The whole day was very interesting and the students found out a lot about the classical world, as well as university options and the methods of working in a museum. It was an enriching experience for all people involved.
By Daniel, Year 12