Gustavianum

The Collection of Classical Antiquities

The Collection of Classical Antiquities contains about 4,000 items from the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean countries. The Collection features Greek and Roman ceramics, bronze and terracotta figurines, Greek and Latin inscriptions, antique coins and plaster casts of Classical sculptures.

The University already had some antiquities in their possession in the 19th century. With the establishment of a professorship in classical ancient history in 1909, the acquisition of classical antiquities for use in teaching became more methodical.

The first official mention of the collection was in 1913, when it was stored at the home of the then professor, Sam Wide. The subject of classical studies did not yet have its own premises, but in 1920 it moved into Gustavianum and the collections could be expanded. Items from Uppsala University’s Museum of Nordic Prehistory and from the University’s Art Collections were transferred to the Collection of Classical Antiquities, and the National Museum in Stockholm also deposited a number of items.

The Swedish cyprus expedition 

Over time, the number of items in the collection has increased, mainly through donations and gifts, only in a few cases through purchases. Many of the objects have been donated by Swedish researchers who carried out excavations in various Mediterranean countries. During the mid-1930s the collections were expanded, partly with items from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition and partly from material from excavations in Asine (Greece), which generated about 25 tonnes of archaeological material. The latter material forms a separate collection, the Asine Collection.

The public was given the opportunity to see the antique items after 1955 when a completely new and permanent exhibition was opened in Gustavianum. It was also in association with this that the ‘Collection of Classical Antiquities’ became the official name. In 1985, around 15 tonnes of additional archaeological material came from Cyprus to the Collection of Classical Antiquities, when material from Arne Furumark's excavations in Sinda in the late 1940s was donated to Uppsala University. The collections are an important resource for students and researchers, both from our own university and from other universities in and beyond Sweden.

conservation project

During the spring of 2011 Museum Gustavianum conducted a conservation project to ensure the future of the unique Collection of Classical Antiquities.

The project was made possible thanks to financial support from King Gustav VI Adolf's Fund for Swedish Culture..

More information about the conservation project can be found in the menu on the left. Read more about King Gustav VI Adolf's Fund for Swedish Culture here: Konung Gustav VI Adolfs fond för svensk kultur.