The classical and Near Eastern archaeology collection of more than 6,000 objects has been built over the past one hundred years. The collection attracts research scholars in archaeology from around the world and permits students to work first hand on objects such as coins, seals, and prehistoric and historic pottery from much of the Mediterranean area, including specific collections from individual excavated sites.

Important parts of the collection include: Greek black- and red-figure vases; Italic, Etruscan, and Roman vases; Greek bronzes; prehistoric, early Iron Age, and Archaic vessels; Cypriot pots; terra sigillata (sealed or slipped clay) Mediterranean vessels; Roman glass; and lamps dating from ancient Egyptian times to the early Middle Ages. One of the highlights of the collection is a red-figure plate by the Attic Greek vase painter known as the Bryn Mawr Painter.

The archaeology collection, also known as the Ella Riegel Study Collection, has been formed from private donations including the Densmore Curtis Collection presented by Clarissa Compton Dryden (Class of 1932, MA 1935); the Elisabeth Washburn King (Class of 17, MA 1937) Collection of classical Greek coins, and the Aline Abaecherli Boyce (MA 1928, PhD 1932) Collection of Roman Republican silver coins. In addition, the late Professor Hetty Goldman gave an extensive series of pottery samples from the excavation at Tarsus in Turkey.

Bryn Mawr was among the first institutions in the United States to recognize the field as an independent area of study by establishing a department of classical archaeology and providing extensive library and photographic resources. The collections have been instrumental in training students who have become curators at the Smithsonian Institution, Getty Museum, Field Museum, and other major institutions.

Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology Department