Nicholson Museum

The Museum was founded in 1860 by Sir Charles Nicholson, Chancellor of the University from 1854 to 1862. By writing to antique dealers abroad during the 1840s and 1850s Nicholson built up a collection of antiquities from all over western Europe. In the enlightened belief that it would be of greater value in Australia than in Europe, he donated to the University his collection of some 400 Egyptian antiquities, about 100 Greek vases, and some prehistoric, Etruscan and Roman objects. These formed the basis for what became known as the Nicholson Museum, now an archaeological collection unique in Australia comprising five collections: Near Eastern, Cypriot, Classical (Greek and Roman), European and Egyptian.

The museum's current temporary exhibition is entitled "From Pella to Petra: Australian archaeologists in Jordan." It highlights the work of Australians in the Kingdom of Jordan over the last 50 years and features many objects from the university's own excavations. The exhibition runs until the end of 2002.

Address: 
Southern Vestibule of the Main Quadrangle, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
Tel: 
0293512812
Hours: 
10.00am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Closed on public holidays and during January.
Admission: 
Free
Facilities: 
School and adult education programs
Collection: 
The Near Eastern collection contains material from modern day Israel, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, as well as a selection of objects from the Department of Archaeology's excavations at Pella and Teleilat Ghassul in Jordan. The Egyptian collection contains material from all periods of ancient Egyptian history, from the Neolithic and Predynastic (c.5,000 BC - 3,000 BC) to the Dynastic (c. 3,000 BC - 332 BC), and to the later Greek and Roman periods (c. 332 BC - 304 AD). The Classical collection contains material from ancient Greece and Italy, and other parts of the Mediterranean influenced by those cultures. Both the oldest and most recent objects in the Museum are to be found in the European collection, where the display begins with examples of some of the earliest human tools and concludes with Anglo-Saxon jewellery, glass and pottery of the 6th and 7th centuries AD.
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Items

Statue

The Nicholson Hermes

The Nicholson Hermes
Creator:
Unknown - probably a Roman copy of the Greek original by Praxiteles
Description:
Larger than life-size marble statue of the Greek god Hermes, missing the lower legs and arms.
Date:
Second half of 2nd century BC or first century AD
Item Id Number:
-0

The statue was donated by the sons of Sir Charles Nicholson to celebrate the centenary of the arrival of their father to Australia in 1834. It is said to have been 'found near Smyrna (Izmir)' in Turkey.

Ceramic Amphora

The Antimenes Amphora

The Antimenes Amphora
Creator:
The Antimenes Painter
Description:
Attic black-figured amphora by the Antimenes painter, featured on the obverse - a scene of Herakles fighting the brigand Kyknos, supported by (from left) Athena, Zeus and Ares.
Date:
c. 530 - 520 BC
Item Id Number:
77.01

On the reverse, Dionysos with satyrs and maenads.

Egyptian Coffin

Coffin of Padiashakhet

Creator:
Unknown
Description:
Wood coffin of Padiashakhet, plastered and painted with images of Egyptian gods and hieroglyphic inscriptions.
Date:
700 BC
Item Id Number:
R28

The museum also holds the mummy of Padiashakhet, which has been the subject of detailed scientific study. The mummy is not on display.

Statue

Horemheb

Creator:
Unknown
Description:
Life-sized diorite upper torso of Horemheb from his pre-royal career. Egyptian, late 18th Dynasty.
Date:
c. 1330 BC
Item Id Number:
R1138

The statue was purchased by Sir Charles Nicholson from a Cairo dealer in1862. It belonged to a seated or standing figure, possibly set up in Horemheb's Saqqara tomb or the Ptah Temple at Memphis.