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Archaeology and the discovery of lost civilisations

Buried Treasure: Archaeology and the discovery of lost civilisations - new exhibition

This summer, visitors to the University of Canterbury’s Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities can explore history through archaeology in the new exhibition, Buried Treasure.

Designed for all ages to dig into archaeology and rediscover lost civilisations of ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, Buried Treasure opens on Saturday 2 December at the Teece Museum in UC Arts city location at the Arts Centre of Christchurch.

Most of the artefacts in this exhibition have come from archaeological sites, carefully removed from the ground, sometimes found in tombs or graves, according to the Curators Terri Elder and Penny Minchin-Garvin.

“They represent a type of treasure which has an enduring value, not because they are made of precious materials, but because these artefacts hold the key to our past,” Ms Elder says.

Enriching the exhibition are a wide range of ancient Egyptian, Mycenaean and Roman objects, made possible by generous loans from Canterbury Museum, Otago Museum, and the collection of Doug and Anemarie Gold.

Buried Treasure also highlights the depth of special collections at the University of Canterbury (UC), including a 65-million-year-old ammonite from the UC Geology Collection and original editions of several well-known archaeological texts from the UC Macmillan Brown Library rare books collection, such as The Tomb of Tut-ankh-amen published by British archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter in the wake of his discovery of the lost tomb of the pharaoh in 1922.

Of importance to the University of Canterbury’s Logie Collection, the display includes a range of Bronze Age objects from the island of Cyprus, such as a rare pyxis from the late 21stcentury BCE. The founder of the Logie Collection, Miss MK Steven, sponsored a range of archaeological digs in Cyprus, and as a result, was able to retain some of the objects found for the Logie Collection.

Alongside artefacts from world famous sites such as the Valley of the Kings, the Acropolis, and Pompeii, the exhibition also features archaeological material from New Zealand. In collaboration with the Arts Centre and Underground Overground Archaeology, Buried Treasure includes objects found during the conservation of the Arts Centre buildings.

“UC is proud of the connection it now has to the site of the original Canterbury College, and is pleased to be able to work alongside the Arts Centre to promote the value of our local archaeological heritage,” Ms Elder says.

Buried Treasure will also be available as a teaching resource for classes when schools return for the first term in 2018.

“Children visiting the museum will have the chance to test their detective skills to solve a range of puzzles included in Buried Treasure. Challenges include finding your way out of the maze of Knossos, piecing together a mosaic, and decoding the clues hidden in the sarcophagus mask.”

About the Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities

The University of Canterbury celebrated the opening of the Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities in May 2017. New Zealand’s only museum of classical antiquities, the Teece Museum is home to UC’s James Logie Memorial Collection, one of the most significant teaching collections of Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Near Eastern artefacts in the Southern Hemisphere. Over 9000 visitors made the most of the opening exhibition We Could Be Heroes, which was particularly popular with schools and community groups.


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