On Tuesday 12th November, the Year Eight Latin classes visited the Ashmolean to explore two different ‘lost cities’. We started by taking a tour of the stunning ‘Last Supper in Pompeii’ exhibition, which is at the Ashmolean until January. The exhibition includes an olive oil jar that had not been opened since the eruption in 79 AD (and which still smells of olive oil), a body of a Roman woman preserved in resin, making it transparent, a range of carbonised food items from the Roman Empire, beautifully-preserved amphorae,and a very large non-stick frying dish. There were also a number of striking statues, a glirarium (for fattening dormice), a snail jar, and a lamp stand.
After the group had seen the Pompeii exhibition, we went down to the Aegean World Gallery. This term, the group has just started learning about the Minoans and Mycenaeans, and how the English archaeologist Arthur Evans excavated these Bronze Age sites. We looked at many of the fascinating finds he donated to the Ashmolean. The trip was an opportunity to see some of the many items we will be looking at in lessons, ranging from artistically decorated Minoan pottery with its sea life and floral motifs, such as drinking cups and oil lamps, to intricately detailed seal stones.
We also saw burial coffins, “larnaxes”, and the very large storage jars called “pithoi”. Everyone enjoyed the reconstructions of frescoes, Linear B tablets, a throne, and found a range of bronze tools and weapons.
We are very grateful to the Ashmolean for welcoming us and enabling the group to explore such a range of objects from two very fascinating ancient civilisations.