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The Classical Art Research Centre (CARC) is one of the strategic research units of the Oxford University Faculty of Classics. Our purpose is to stimulate and support fresh research on many aspects of ancient Greek and Roman art, as well as hosting our own projects. We provide physical and virtual archives and databases, web resources, conferences, workshops, and publications, serving an very global audience beyond Oxford.

CARC was created out of the Beazley Archive in 2007, when the Archive was moved into specially designed premises in the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, next to the Ashmolean Museum in central Oxford. The Beazley Archive contains the world's biggest photographic archive devoted to ancient Greek figure-decorated pottery. This Archive, and the online Beazley Archive Pottery Database (BAPD) remain at the heart of CARC's activities.




The Beazley Archive

The Beazley Archive is built around the academic papers and photographs of Professor Sir John Beazley (1885-1970), who was Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art at Oxford from 1925 until 1956. The Archive contains around 100,000 photographs of ancient Greek (mainly Athenian) painted pottery, as well as relevant books and offprints, extensive material on the history of gem-collecting, and thousands of other documents and photographs relating to classical archaeology and to Beazley's own career. The majority of the Archive's images are available online, but the physical photographs remain a resource of central importance for research on classical art. Every year CARC welcomes researchers from all over the world, who come to examine the photographs and other archival material.

The Archive was purchased by the University of Oxford while Beazley was still alive, in 1964. On his death in 1970 it was moved to the Ashmolean Museum building, where it quickly became an internationally renowned centre for the study of Greek vase-painting. It was augmented by archives associated with other classical archaeologists, including eventually John Boardman, Llewelyn Brown, Stanley Casson, TJ Dunbabin, Paul Jacobsthal, Elfriede Knauer, and Norbert Kunisch.

From 1979,  computers were used to document Athenian figure-decorated pottery, initially supplementing Beazley's own work and then growing into a database that included and built upon it. In this way the Beazley Archive Pottery Database was born. It was a relatively early development in humanities computing and the data structure and lists of terms developed for it have been the foundation on which other databases have been created since 1992. They have also been made available to other projects working on databases and interoperability elsewhere.

In 1998 the BAPD became available on the World Wide Web and other databases and online resources were developed, including a database on ancient and neoclassical engraved gems.

The launch of the Classical Art Research Centre in 2007, as an umbrella for the Beazley Archive and other activities, led to a wider range of initiatives, including new projects and regular events aimed at supporting and stimulating fresh research on all aspects of Greek and Roman art. Today the physical and online archives remain central to CARC's work, but it has grown into a dynamic international centre for the study of ancient art and the exchange of ideas in the field.

Acquisition and Disposal Policy for Archival Material

The physical and digital archives of the Classical Art Research Centre are managed strategically, with the constraints of space and financial resources. While we are very grateful to those who generously offer new material for the archives, we are only able to accept them when they meet particular criteria. These are detailed in CARC's Acquisition and Disposal Policy.


The past and present work of the Classical Art Research Centre is founded on the generosity of many organizations and individuals over the years. In particular we thank


and the following donors and funding bodies:

The digitization of Sir John Beazley's notebooks was made possible by gifts from Christian Levett, Sandra Rosignoli, Ian Taylor, Rupert Wace, Christie's, David Aaron Ancient Arts, Sarah Hornsby & Judith Nugée, Sotheby's

All donations help us to attain our aims in leading and supporting excellent research on ancient art. Find out how to support us.

Visiting the Beazley Archive And other CARC archives

The Classical Art Research Centre occupies the the 3rd floor of the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies. Its resources are available to all students and researchers, but visitors are asked to contact us in advance.

Please email us outlining the purpose of your visit and giving details of when you would like to come.

Ioannou School for Classical and Byzantine Studies
66 St Giles

Phone: 01865 278083
Fax: 01865 610237

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