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Recreating Ancient Greek Ceramics

In Spring 2015, Sanchita Balachandran, the Archaeological Museum’s Curator/Conservator taught an interactive, hands on course titled “Recreating Ancient Greek Ceramics.”  In collaboration with expert ceramics artists including Matthew Hyleck and Cami Ascher at Baltimore Clayworks, and thirteen undergraduate students and one graduate student assistant at Johns Hopkins, the course attempted to recreate one of the most iconic, beautiful and technologically complex objects known from ancient Greece–the red-figure kylix or cup.  The course brought together not only students across disciplines, but also involved extensive consultation with art historians, archaeologists, art conservators and materials scientists across the country in the attempt to recreate vessels similar to the ancient examples held at the Archaeological Museum.  Throughout the course, students made replicas of painted kylikes in teams, reported on their progress in the course blog, prepared workshop journals, and created their own tiles to fire.  Please explore our site to learn more about all of these activities!

The collaborative team in the course "Recreating Ancient Greek Ceramics."

The collaborative team in the course “Recreating Ancient Greek Ceramics.” We are holding our contemporary versions of kylikes in front of the case of similar objects made by ancient Greek masters.

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  • Acknowledgments
  • Apprentices
  • Bibliography
  • Film and Radio
  • Our Images
  • Our Results
  • Syllabus
  • Workshop Journals
  • Week 0–Getting Started
  • Week 1–Encountering History
  • Week 2–A Modern Symposium
  • Week 3–An Apprenticeship Begins
  • Week 4–Image and Form
  • Week 5 – Production Mode
  • Week 6–Science of Slip
  • Week 7–Choosing Our Cups
  • Week 8–Slip-Painting Our Cups
  • Week 9–Building and Breaking
  • Week 10–Fire in the Hole
  • Week 11–Opening the Kiln
  • Week 12–Slip Ups
  • Week 13–The Potters Themselves
  • Week 14–Wrapping Up, Looking Ahead

  • Ongoing Projects

    The museum is undertaking several major projects to enhance the use and study of our collection in courses, student and faculty research, and for the enjoyment of the public.  Some of our current endeavors include:

    • Rehousing the entire museum collection.  We are currently unpacking thousands of artifacts which were packed and moved from Gilman Hall prior to the building’s renovation.  Our task is to unpack all of this material and have it rehoused in archival storage containers so that they can be moved into museum study drawers or our new storage area, and thus be made accessible for the first time in many years.
    • Cataloging all objects in our collection.  We are in the process of cataloging our entire collection so that it can be viewed as part of an online searchable database within the next two years.  This challenging project includes extensive archival research; careful description and examination of each artifact; and high quality photography of each object.  As part of this project, we developed a new database which will capture all of this information and include invaluable research information such as references, links to other objects within our collection which are relevant and information on the conservation of the artifacts.
    • Conserving artifacts for display and study.  As part of our mission to conserve and care for the museum collection, we are examining and conserving objects in need of conservation prior to their display or storage.
    • Analytical research of museum objects.  We are currently in the process of purchasing state of the art scientific equipment to better understand our museum collection.  To this end, we will be purchasing a high quality microscope with digital photography and videography capabilities for examination of objects and for displaying this information to students within the classroom.  We will also be acquiring a portable X-ray fluorescence instrument which will allow us to non-destructively analyze pigments, metal compositions, and other material characteristics.

     

     

     

     

     

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    Featured Object

    BySavannah de Montesquiou

    Our dedication, fear, and excitement reached their heights as apprentices, scholars, and master potters gathered around the kiln. Other scholars, many of whom we had the privilege to study and even meet, precede us in attempting this great feat, but our own methods make our firing unique, and its outcome unknown. There were no longer [...]

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