Greece Gallery Tour

Discover almost 1,000 years of Greek history, from the 8th century BCE to the 1st century CE. This tour looks at burial goods, pottery, coins, and marble sculptures to address themes such as representations of women, burial practices, and the intersections of archaeology, myths, and literature. Learn about the ancient Olympic Games, Greek social practices, and the development of coinage.

9 Tour Stops

Mediterranean Galleries Tour Introduction

The Penn Museum’s Mediterranean section has more than 30,000 objects ranging from the Early Bronze Age, around 5,000 years ago, to 19th century reproductions of ancient Roman artifacts from Pompeii.


People in the ancient world were often buried with objects that exemplified their lives and cultural values. Archaeologists can learn about ancient people by studying their burial assemblages.

Greek Coins

The first coins appeared in the Mediterranean more than 2,500 years ago but evolved from much earlier methods of bartering. The ancient Greeks marked their coins with gods and animals that represented their city-states.

Birth of Athena

The Greeks painted well-known mythological scenes on their ceramic vases. Much like movie posters, these stories are represented with a single scene and are recognizable to those who know the myth.


The ancient symposium, or drinking party, was an important part of life for upper-class Greek men. We can use images of the symposium and the sympotic vessels themselves to reconstruct many elements of this social event.

Greek Athletics

The first Olympic games are said to have taken place in 776 BCE at the site of Olympia, but athletics took place all year long and all around the Greek world.

Grave Markers

Like today, the ancient Greeks often marked the graves of their deceased loved ones with elaborately carved marble headstones.

Birth of Venus

Images of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, were found all over the ancient world. These images still influence artistic representations of women today.


The Greek playwright Menander wrote more than 100 comedic plays in his lifetime. He was so well-loved that a statue of him was erected in the Theater of Dionysus in Athens and was copied many times over hundreds of years.