Child Potters in Ancient Greece: Introductions and Project Aims

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Who are we, and what is the project?

We are Ellen and Laura, a team of two students within the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at UoB. Under the supervision of Dr Maeve McHugh, each week we shall be taking you through a journey of our research into the world of child potters in the ancient greek archaeological record.

This blog post will introduce you to our team and the project, as well as talk a little bit about our amazing archaeology collection.



Hi! I’m Laura and I’m a fourth-year Ancient History and Archaeology student, returning from a year abroad in Canada. My favourite area of Ancient History is Greek Archaeology, and I am definitely better at digging holes than trying to understand Greek literature. My hobbies include painting and playing video games (maybe a bit too much…).

Hiya! I’m Ellen, a second-year student studying Ancient History and Archaeology. I love archaeology of all shapes and sizes (one of the best weeks of my life was sat in a muddy field looking at different coloured dirt), and boring my friends with ancient history facts. I’m super excited to be working with Laura on this project and can’t wait to keep you all updated!


Project aims

The main focus of our project is to uncover the hidden voices of possible child labourers within the ancient Greek archaeological record. More importantly, we will be focusing on trying to identify some possible child creations in our Archaeological Collection here at UoB.

Led by Langdon’s 2013 paper ‘Children as learners and producers in early Greece’, there has been an increasing interest in the more “unique” pieces of pottery and other votive figures that we see in the record of ancient Greece, which Langdon suggests indicates the work of children. These pieces may be smaller than we would expect, have an odd shape or strange painted figures on the sides (Langdon 2013: 177). Langdon’s work, as well as online museum collections and various other sources surrounding ancient Greek religion and archaeology, will help us reach a conclusion about our very own miniature votive figures in the Archaeology collection.

Each week, we will guide you through our research by focusing on topics such as ancient Greek religion, comparative archaeology, and how we can push past the academic bias of previous research to find new voices that had been silenced, such as women and children.


The Caha Museum

The archaeological collection here at the University of Birmingham is a key (and exciting) teaching tool belonging to the CAHA department, with a rich history too!! The archaeology collection at the UoB, just like this project, has its roots in ancient Greece. It has grown from just a few pieces of Greek pottery to include 2,000 objects. 

The history of the collection is complex and comes with its own mysteries and surprises (like the misplacement and rediscovery of the Egyptian coffin lid). 

For more information about the fantastic history of our collection follow this link to the University of Birmingham website:

It is such a privilege for us as UoB students to have such a brilliant collection available to us! And it is this collection that will allow us (Ellen and Laura) to begin our investigation into child potters and apprentices in ancient Greece. 

We hope you join us in our journey of uncovering the world of child labour in ancient Greece!



Langdon, S. (2013) ‘Children as learners and producers in early Greece’ in Grubbs, J.E. and T. Parkin (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Childhood and Education in the Classical World (Oxford).

Robertshaw, K. 2019. ‘A History of the Archaeology Collection in the Department of Classics, Ancient History, and Archaeology’, (accessed 24 Oct 2020)



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