Welcome

Welcome to the Iris Classics Centre’s blog! The Iris Classics Centre, hosted at Cheney School, is a vibrant community learning venue for people of all ages to attend events, workshops, lessons, and exhibitions. The Centre opened in October 2013, and a schedule of events is available on our website. The Centre is founded and run…

Bakeries and Snack Bars: Exploring Businesses in Pompeii

In this week’s lesson, I started by showing you Oxford’s Westgate, before showing you the Pompeian equivalent! We saw how the shop fronts opened to the main thoroughfare, and their entrances were often combined with entrances to living accommodation too. A good example of this was the “Pistrinum of Sotericus”. This was one of thirty-three…

Vesuvius: An Eye-Witness Account

In this week’s lesson, we explored the details of the eruption of Vesuvius on 24th and 25th August, 79 AD through the eyes of Pliny the Younger, who left us a very detailed and vivid eye-witness account. This account has enabled archaeologists and scientists to better understand both this particular eruption and many others. We…

A Shark in a Roof and a Poet on a Wall: Interpreting the Past

In our lesson this week, we started by looking at some photographs of modern day Oxford, and asking you what you thought an archaeologist from the future might make of them? We all know that one picture shows tourists taking a group photograph, and that another shows the university traditions of graduating and celebrating a…

What’s in the Jars?

For our next lesson, we looked at an area of the Palace at Knossos which appeared on the site map as lots of very long, very narrow rooms. There were various interesting guesses from the groups about what these rooms might be for. Suggestions included a gallery or slave rooms. In fact, these were storage…

Piecing Together the Palace

In this week’s lessons, we have been exploring the challenges of reconstructing the past from fragments of archaeological evidence. We looked at some of the striking reconstructions of the palace at Knossos which Sir Arthur Evans undertook; these have been a big part of what has made visiting and viewing the ancient site so alluring…

Minoan artefact stories

After introducing you to five Minoan artefacts in our last lesson, I set you all a homework challenge of creating a story based around one of the artefacts below: an octopus jar, a vase with a harvest scene, the famous and mysterious Phaistos disk, a sistron and a model of a snake goddess. Below are…

Introducing the Labyrinth!

We started last week’s lessons by discussing what a labyrinth was and where the idea of a labyrinth originated – the story Theseus, the Minotaur, Ariadne, and Daedalus’ dark and complicated maze. Arthur Evans had long been obsessed with finding the civilisation behind the labyrinth story; when he uncovered the remains of a vast palace…

Building Characters and Drawing Techniques

Yesterday, both classes got started on the process of starting to imagine their characters and build their story lines. For homework, I had asked everyone to choose a character (or characters) that you would like to base a graphic novel around if you were writing your own novel. I asked you to imagine what they…

Reinventing Greek Myth: Circe and Ulysses 31

In today’s lesson, we explored reinventing Greek myths through two very different adaptations. I asked you to read two pages from Madeline Miller’s novel, Circe, which tells the story of the witch Circe, who famously appears in Homer’s Odyssey. In the Odyssey, Circe is a relatively minor character. She is the daughter of the sun…