This Term we were very excited to have the termly Unlocking the Senior Library session curated by one of our students for the first time. Alice Fraser, who is reading for a Masters in Archaeology, has been working in the Senior Library once a week, investigating the Archaeology section in order to produce a collection-level description and she shared with us some interesting items she has discovered as she has worked through the collection.
In the first section, Alice contrasted two items which had made great journeys from Amsterdam to Indonesia and from a school boy’s prize in Leyden to an Oxford student’s shelf in just a few years with an item produced for Abingdon School boys that may never have left this 8 mile area. She also displayed an item which, far from being treasured, appears to have been used as a chopping board! Chronology seems to be a recurring topic in this collection and so books with tabular and narrative formats were contrasted and Alice explained the varied ideas about how much time had elapsed since Creation expressed in these volumes. Disappointingly, for an Archaeologist, not many books in the collection turned out to contain images of Classical artefacts, but Alice had on display works on Numismatics, Sculpture and Funerary monuments and she was able to explain how approaches to such artefacts has changed since these works were published. The final item on display was a mythological family tree, full of characters familiar to readers of Classical Literature. We were pleased to welcome students, staff and Fellows and enjoyed seeing how people interacted with the items we had on display.
Alice will be posting on this blog interesting stories of items in this collection over the next few months, so do look out for those.