Conservation project

Gustavianum’s Collection of Classical Antiquities  preserves about
4 000 objects, the majority of which date from Graeco-Roman antiquity.

The Collection also includes finds dating from bronze-age Greece, excavated in Asine and the Peleponnese during the 1920s under the leadership of Professor A.W. Persson. The material found its way to Sweden thanks to the participation and dedication of the then Crown Prince, later King Gustav VI Adolf.

The rest of the Collection consists of items purchased in Mediterranean countries by previous professors at Uppsala University, plus donations to the University from private individuals.

Gustav VI Adolf’s Fund for Swedish Culture

In June 1997 the newly-established university museum, Museum Gustavianum, took over responsibility for the Collection.

Thanks to support from Gustav VI Adolf’s Fund for Swedish Culture, a conservation project could be completed to secure the future of this unique Collection of Classical Antiquities. 

A loving couple in relief from around 100 BC

The project has conserved, among other things, classical pottery shards. The photographs show a fragment of a plate made of ’terra sigillata’ ( a type of Ancient Roman pottery).

It was purchased by Professor Axel W. Persson, possibly during a visit to Turkey. The hand-written catalogue card describes the object as: ” Hellenistic moulded vessel from Asia Minor. Half the bottom of a vessel. Diam. 10.8 cm. Clay: red. Decor on the outside: rosette motif in the centre. Inside: centaur (?) ".


Pottery from the Mediterranean area often display salt damage. The surface of the object was covered with dirt and chloride salts. After removal of the salts, the fragment's decoration can be seen clearly.

To the left, three stages in the cleaning process can be seen. 

The relief depicts a loving couple and is an imitation of erotic motifs from vases made during the 2nd century BC in the workshops of Marcus Perrennius in Arezzo, Tuscany.

Our fragment was probably made in Knidos (in present day Turkey) about 100 BC and does not exhibit the same elegant craftsmanship as the Roman originals.

Relief plate, fragment.
Inv. Nr. UAS 1380
Eastern Mediterranean.
Knidos workshop.
About 100 BC
Modelled ceramic, terra sigillata, decorated with relief.
From A.W. Persson Collection