The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, part of the University’s Department of Classics, is the home of one of Britain’s most important collections of ancient Mediterranean ceramics. These include significant stores of pottery, terracottas, and ephemera from ancient Greece and Italy.
Special Collections hold a surprising amount of material relating to the ancient and medieval worlds. These include the collections of Sir Frank Stenton and Lady Doris Stenton, towering figures within the University who brought enormous authority to its teaching of medieval history, and more recently acquired collections of medieval manuscripts. The rare book collections demonstrate how the classical world inspired later generations.
Antiquity and the Middle Ages are two key chapters in Reading’s history.
Following the Roman invasion of Britain, Calleva Atrebatum at nearby Silchester was a significant Roman town, and today is the location of the University of Reading’s Field School, Iron Age Environs Project and Nero at Silchester excavations. Established in 1922, The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology is at the heart of Reading’s classics research and attracts students, researchers and visitors from across the world.
In the Middle Ages, Reading Abbey was one of the most prosperous monasteries in England, from its construction in the 12th century and until the Dissolution. Medieval studies remains an important aspect of academic life at the University where the Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies acts as a forum for those working on the period.
The Ure Museum houses one of the largest collections of Greek ceramics in Britain. Recent projects include Winckelmania at Reading, a celebration of Prussian art historian and archaeologist Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768) and his influence on the reception of the taste for classics in Europe.
Special Collections hold a number of early manuscripts in various collections, including over 100 illuminated manuscripts from c.1100-c.1600 and a French illuminated Book of Hours which dates from the early fifteenth century.
The Stenton Library is the combined academic working libraries of Sir Frank Stenton (1880-1967) and Lady Doris Stenton (1894-1971), both prominent medieval historians. Their collection of coins date from as early as the reign of King Offa of Mercia (AD. 757-96), with a substantial number of Anglo-Saxon and Norman coins.