The department owns several hundred ancient objects ranging in origin from Egypt to Mycenaean Greece to Roman Britain. The archaeological collection includes pottery fragments and intact vessels, Roman glass, molded and painted terracottas, and carved stone vases and figurines. The Catholic University Archives also houses a collection of ancient coins, mainly dating from the Roman era, with particular strengths in the later Empire.
Our students are welcome to work with and study these objects: they are used in classroom instruction and for research projects. Graduate student seminar papers and undergraduate senior theses, in particular, have benefited most recently from the availability of these collections, but three of the department's south Italian vases have also been the subject of professional scholarship in the following sources:
- Linda Safran, "Hercle in Washington: A Faliscan Vase at the Catholic University of America," Etruscan Studies 7 (2000 ), 51-79.
- The above Etruscan Studies article by Linda Safran receives attention in Erika Simon, "Hesione-Vilia-Ilia," Würzburger Jahrbücher für die Altertumswissenschaft, N.F. 28a (2004), 21-34.
- A. D. Trendall, The Red-Figured Vases of Lucania, Campania, and Sicily (Oxford, 1967), vol. 1, 643 (no. 382) and 525-6 (no. 694; this vase is attributed to the 'Washington Painter').
- A. D. Trendall and Alexander Cambitoglou, The Red-Figured Vases of Apulia, vol. 2: Late Apulian (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 668 (no. 226).
The department organizes a yearly display of some of the highlights from the archaeological collection when newly admitted high school seniors visit the campus. The object inventory from this exhibition discusses selected artifacts and addresses some frequently-asked questions about them.