Athena's Repository

About Athena's Repository

A virtual space to explore 3D models of fragmentary vases.

Athena’s Repository is a database of three-dimensional models of individual fragments of Athenian vases now in collections around the world. At its heart, this project serves as a virtual environment to enhance scholarship and education about cultural heritage objects. In the future, Athena's Repository will house software that will enable users to search for additional joins among the digital collection.


Our most plentiful source about antiquity lies in pieces scattered across the globe.

Much of the Athenian vase-painting that survives today is fragmentary, yet it is among the most plentiful material culture that survives from ancient Greece. The fragments of the past inform our understanding of daily life in the ancient world and the images on these objects enrich our understanding of a plethora of topics, such as religion, athletics, and even historical events, among others. The fragments of Athenian pottery, which are known to specialists as sherds, are now dispersed across the world, sometimes on display in museums and other times kept in storage.

Over the years, scholars have realized that some fragments in different collections actually join. At times, these new connections have changed our understanding of the iconography of the original vase, even if it remains disjointed. The realized connections between pieces may actually only represent a small fraction of potential joins among extant Athenian pottery. With advances in digital humanities and technology, we now have new methods of finding more joins among the known pieces.


To create a repository that will facilitate access to and the study of fragmentary Athenian vase-painting.

At its inception, Athena's Repository has a specific focus on Athenian vase-painting. It is meant to serve as a virtual environment that will provide access to three-dimensional models of typically less-accessible cultural heritage objects that are often in storage. Athena’s Repository will feature a growing database of three-dimensional models of individual sherds, which will be accessible by scholars and the public alike. Ultimately, the goal of Athena’s Repository is to further our knowledge of ancient objects, to expand access to the materials, and to provide new educational tools for the study of ancient material culture through the use of three-dimensional models.

Past Support

The project was begun with the support of the Schuch Friends of Classics Post-Doctoral Fellowship, the College of Arts and Letters at San Diego State University, and the Digital Humanities Center of San Diego State University.