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August 2017

Latin Adventures

This year the Ashmolean Latin Inscriptions project launched two new projects to get young people who had never learned Latin before working first-hand with real evidence of the ancient world.We teamed up with the Warwick University Sutton Scholars programme to offer a new course on getting to know the Romans through their writing. This gave a group of Year 9s a chance to try out university-style learning. Along the way, the Sutton Scholars also got to try out some Roman inspired crafts, did some detective work on ancient coins and performed a dramatic Roman funeral speech.


They picked objects from the Ashmolean collection to research in-depth, including a behind-the-scenes handlins session at the museum itself. They experimented with ways to communicate these objects in engaging ways — including storytelling, modern analogies and art — and produced some beautiful posters to show off their findings.

The project has also piloted and launched a brand new Latin Language based visit programme for primary schools. Our free pilot sessions targeted schools that would otherwise not have the opportunity to visit and that do not offer Latin in their curriculum.The “Latin Adventure” programme helps children work together to crack the codes of ancient Roman tomb stones and learn about the real Romans behind them.They also got to role play a real Roman. Everybody got a personalised Roman name and used it to write an inscription in Latin about themselves. They also tried out life in the Roman army with a drill activity and took a part in an immersive Roman soundscape (complete with Latin phrases and the cries of a sacrificed ox). Children got to handle real ancient objects and used what they had learned about the Romans to spot the modern fake.

This new session has now been added to Ashmolean school visit options so that any school that wants can go on their own Latin adventure.

  • 24 February - 3 March 2018: Visit by Professor Basil Dufallo, Associate Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. Watch out for details of his public lecture, to follow!

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