Extraordinary Artworks from Dura-Europos

Extraordinary Artworks from Dura-Europos

The reinstalled Mary and James Ottaway Gallery of Ancient Dura-Europos

The recently reinstalled Mary and James Ottaway Gallery of Ancient Dura-Europos offers a new perspective on this ancient city, located on the Euphrates River in present-day Syria. Emphasizing the strong cultural and commercial ties between Dura and neighboring Palmyra, the new display features extraordinary sculptures from the 1st to the 3rd century A.D. The gallery showcases the art and artifacts excavated at Dura-Europos during the Yale-French archaeological campaign in the 1920s and 1930s. A related online feature explores Dura through photographs and field records that provide archaeological context for the remarkably preserved objects of daily life discovered at the site. The new installation focuses on sculpture from Dura and Palmyra and provides an understanding of intercultural relations in the ancient Roman Near East. The objects link the two cities and their communities through a common style and technique, iconography, and even stone. Through the sculptures on view—which include funerary portraits, freestanding statues, and cult reliefs—the installation allows visitors to connect with ancient individuals, face-to-face; such connections are increasingly important and poignant in light of the recent destruction of cultural heritage in Syria.

See the objects on view in the Dura-Europos gallery

Lisa R. Brody

Associate Curator of Ancient Art