The Ashmolean was founded in 1683 as a model scientific institution, designed to combine the functions of a repository for rare and curious materials as well as a research and educational institution.
The British collections at the Ashmolean Museum continued to grow from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries with the work of various antiquitarians and archaeologists. However, with the rise of professional archaeology in Britain in the 1970s the Ashmolean ceased to be an excavating body.
The material constituting the historic core of the British archaeological collections forms a unique physical testament of this early activity. The finds are complemented by extensive documentation contained within the museum's British Archives.
This website contains a selection of the material held in the British Collections of the Ashmolean and is by no means intended to be comprehensive. However more details of the British Collections can be found by searching the Collections Database .
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East Front of the Original Ashmolean Building in Broad Street (Engraving by Michael Burghers 1685)