Press Releases

Ure Museum gets into the Greek groove – University of Reading

Release Date : 02 July 2007

Those wishing to impress the locals with a few dance moves on their Greek holiday this year should pay a visit to the University of Reading's Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology – where popular Hellenic dances will be taught this month.

In celebration of National Archaeology Week, the Ure Museum will be holding Greek dance workshops for all the family – as well as delving into Greek culture and democracy for those not keen on the dancefloor.

Dance is an important art to the Greeks and was incorporated into many aspects of their ancient culture, including religious rituals, preparation for warfare, symposia, and wedding and funeral celebrations. Its prominence is seen in the various representations of dance on numerous ancient Greek vases. Children will also be able to decorate there own 'mandili' a type of handkerchief used in some Greek dances.

Teacher Elizabeth Stamoulis, a member of the Hellenic Dancers of New Jersey, said: "We hope that it will make the vase paintings come alive for a modern audience and will demonstrate the relationship that archaeology allows us to establish between the past and the present."

The Hellenic Dancers of New Jersey is a professional traditional Greek dance troupe in America. Elizabeth also performed Greek dance in the Closing Ceremonies of the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics.

Also on offer will be the chance to learn about Greek culture and how Athens flourished thanks to its belief in democracy.

Lynette Fortey, assistant curator of the Ure Museum, said: "Greece and particularly Athens is the birthplace of the theatre and the origin of some of the finest architectural forms and works of art in the history of mankind. The aim of our event is to give people both young and old an insight into the cultural legacy of Classical Athens by using fun activities as learning experience".

"Many people believe that Athens flourished because of its belief in democracy or 'rule by the people' a revolutionary system of government that took power out of the hands of the few and into the many".

These events are being held as part of National Archaeology week. National Archaeology Week is the council for British Archaeology's flagship event which aims to encourage young people and their families to visit sites of archaeological/historical interest or museums, heritage and resource centres, to see archaeology in action and to take part in activities on-site. "By hosting these events at the Ure Museum we are giving people the opportunity to learn not only about the ancient Greeks, but also about the attitudes of early British archaeologists and antiquarians towards the Greek world."

What is going on and when:

Mandili Madness: Greek Dance Workshop

Tuesday July 17 and 24 1.30 pm – 4.30pm

Have you ever seen dancing on an Ancient Greek vase and wondered what it was like? Do you enjoy dancing and want to learn more about it? Come to our family dance workshop at the Ure Museum! You can decorate your own Greek "mandili" and even learn some Greek dances! Booking is required. This is co-organised by the Centre for Hellenic Studies.

Suitable for children ages 6 and up. We do ask for a £2.50 contribution per child to cover the cost of materials. All Children should be accompanied by an adult. Adults enter free of charge.

Power to the People

Saturday 21st July 10am – 1pm and 1.30pm – 4.30pm

Step back in time and find out what it was really like living in the world's first democracy. Write in ancient Greek, be selected for a jury, perform a Greek play and make your own Greek pot like the pots in our collection.

Various activities will take place throughout the day include an explanation of citizenship and a demonstration of how citizens would have been selected for jury service. Children will also have the opportunity to perform in a Greek play and make their very own, black or red figure pot to take home and hear the story of Percy and Annie Ure, the Museum's founders.

We do ask for a contribution of £2 per child to cover the cost of materials. All Children should be accompanied by an adult. Adults enter free of charge.


For more information contact the Ure Museum on 0118 378 6990 or visit visit the Centre for Hellenic Studies information page, the Ure Museum website, or the Council for British Archaeology website.

More information about the Ure Museum:

The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, owned by the University of Reading and an integral part of the Department of Classics, is recognised as the fourth largest collection of Greek ceramics in Britain. The collection primarily consists of material from the Greek and Greco-Roman civilisations of the Mediterranean, most notably Greek and Etruscan ceramics and terracottas. Other artefacts include prehistoric pottery, as well as metal and stone artefacts of Greek and Roman date. There is also an important collection of Egyptian antiquities, ranging from the Pre-dynastic to the Roman period.

There are approximately 2,000 objects in the museum, not all of which can be displayed at any one time. However the displays are changed periodically and less valuable items may be handled by school groups.

The museum is open between 9am and 5pm weekdays. The museum is also used for various educational activities so visitors may find themselves sharing the space with a class.

The Ure Museum is accessible to people with disabilities, who may prefer to enter the building from its East entrance (opposite the Student Union), turning right and then right again upon entry to the building. WCs and refreshment facilities are available both within our building and in an adjacent building.


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