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The Collection of Classical Antiquities is a research centre focusing on classical archaeology in Hungary.
In the first half of the twentieth century, research in the Collection of Classical Antiquities was hallmarked by the work of Antal Hekler (1882–1940) on ancient sculpture, and the studies of Zoltán Oroszlán (1891–1971) on the terracotta collection. In the second half of the century János György Szilágyi (1918–2016) re-established Hungarian classical archaeology, linking it to the international scene of classical studies. He launched the publication of the Collection’s object catalogues (Monumenta Antiquitatis extra fines Hungariae reperta), one of the most important obligations that scholars in the field need to fulfil. The volumes are published by “L’Erma” di Bretschneider in Rome, one of the leading archaeological publishers in the world.
Today, the majority of research in the Collection is conducted in the framework of national and international projects, such as APPEAR, which examines Roman period painted mummy portraits, and the research project focusing on a multidisciplinary analysis of the Seuso treasure. The department works in close collaboration with a number of partner institutes in Hungary and abroad (such as the Department of Classical Philology at the University of Pécs, the Hungarian National Museum, Université de Fribourg, and the German Archaeological Institute).
The Collection of Classical Antiquities is responsible for the creation and maintenance of two important online databases. The Campbell Bonner Magical Gems Database (CBd) is an international repository of an important type of Roman period amulets, and has already become an indispensable research tool in the field. The site Hyperión, also edited at the Collection, makes ancient artefacts preserved in Hungarian public collections accessible online, in the context of relevant lexicon entries, and of the related museum material abroad. The site is the result of an extensive cooperation of outstanding representatives of Hungarian classical studies.
Researchers in the Collection have participated in university education for years (University of Pécs, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest), while works of art in the Collection have served as the subjects of a series of MA- and PhD-theses. A scholarship for young researchers funded in the memory of János György Szilágyi also encourages research in classical studies and art history related to the material in the Collection.