Judith Swaddling

Senior Curator


The Etruscans and the rest of pre-Roman Italy, the ancient Olympic Games, metalworking techniques
Ancient Greece

Department: Greece and Rome


+44 (0)20 7323 8571


Judith Swaddling is Senior Curator responsible for the Etruscan collections and those from the rest of pre- Roman Italy. She organized the permanent exhibition on The Etruscan World (Room 71), and has held various Etruscan conferences and study days. Her publications in this area are listed below.

Judith has a long association with the ancient Olympic Games, having organized a series of exhibitions on the subject, and the latest version of her book, The Ancient Olympic Games, was published in 2008 (British Museum Press).

Her PhD thesis was about bronze statuary production in ancient Greece.

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Corresponding Member of the Istituto di Studi Etruschi ed Italici, Florence

Member of the International Scientific Committee for the Corpus of Etruscan Mirrors

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London

Trustee of the Sybille Haynes Fund for Etruscan and Early Italic Studies

Recent projects

Seduzione Etrusca. Dai segreti di Holkham Hall alle meraviglie del British Museum.  Collaboration with the Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona and Holkham Hall, Norfolk on the current exhibition, 21 March – September 2014, which looks at the British contribution to Etruscology. Forty three objects are on loan, so far the largest single loan of Etruscan objects from the British Museum. Co-editor and contributor to the catalogue: see Publications

Member of the Comité scientifique de l’exposition Cerveteri, Les Étrusques et la Méditerranée.  La cité de Cerveteri, Lens, Musée du Louvre-Lens, 5 décembre 2013-10 mars 2014, Rome, Palais des Expositions, 14 avril-20 juillet, 2014

Organiser of the temporary exhibition, Winning at the Ancient Games, British Museum, June-September 2012, centred on the famous Motya Charioteer, on loan from the Regione Siciliana Assessorato dei Beni Culturali e dell’Identità Siciliana.  

Co-organiser with Prof. Chris Carey, University College London, of colloquium on Sport and Competition in Greece and Rome, 14-15 June 2012

Previous Projects

Etruscan by Definition
Edited with Philip Perkins Etruscan by Definition, Papers in Honour of Sybille Haynes, a series of papers on aspects of the Etruscans from the conference held at the British Museum in December 2007, and published as was published as British Museum Research Paper No.173 in 2009. Judith also contributed a paper, ‘Shake, rattle and roll: sistra in Etruria?’, pp.31-42. View online 

The Seianti project: leading with Professor John Prag of Manchester University an international team of scholars investigating the sarcophagus and skeletal remains of an Etruscan woman in the British Museum. See Publications.

Supervised the construction of a model offering an impression of the chryselephantine statue of Zeus at Olympia, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. See ‘Statuesque Zeus’, 2008, in Publications

Organised exhibitions about the ancient Olympic Games at the British Museum for most Olympiads since 1980

Recent publications

J. Swaddling ed. (with P. Bruschetti, B. Gialluca, P. Giulierini, S. Reynolds), Seduzione Etrusca. Dai segreti di Holkham Hall alle Meraviglie del British Museum [exhibition catalogue] (Milan: Skira, 2014).

J. Swaddling, ‘Gli Etruschi e il British Museum’, and numerous catalogue entries, in P. Bruschetti et al. (eds) 2014, pp. 363–77.

J. Swaddling, and S. Woodford, ‘Lokrian Ajax and the new face of Troilos: the Troilos mirror in the British Museum’, in M. D. Gentili and L. Maneschi (eds), Studi e ricerche a Tarquinia e in Etruria, Atti del Simposio Internazionale in ricordo di Francesca Romana Serra Ridgway, Tarquinia, 24–25 Settembre 2010, Mediterranea XI (2014), pp. 11–26.

J. Swaddling, ‘Cerveteri et le British Museum’, in F. Gaultier and L. Haumes­ser  (eds), Les Étrusques et la Méditerranée.  La cité de Cerveteri, catalogue of the exhibition at  Lens, Musée du Louvre-Lens, 5 décembre 2013-10 mars 2014, Rome, Palais des Expositions, 14 avril-20 juillet, 2014, Paris (Paris: Somogy, Éditions d’art, 2013), pp. 42–46.

J. Swaddling, ‘On the gypsum figure from the Polledrara tomb and its polychromy’, in Les étrusques: un hymne à la vie, exhibition catalogue, Musée Maillol (2013), pp. 110 –11, no.100.

J. Swaddling, Text for BM objects on loan in C. L. Lyons, M. Bennett, C. Marconi (eds), Sicily: Art and Invention between Greece and Rome, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, catalogue ed. (Malubu: Getty Publications, 2013), pp.5,17,86,91,119.

J. Swaddling (with A. Harrison and C. Cartwright), ‘Olympic Victors’ Dark Ointment’, in V. Lo (ed), Perfect bodies: sports, medicine and immortality : ancient and modern. British Museum Research Publication. British Museum Research Publications (London: British Museum Press, 2012), pp. 71-80

J. Swaddling with P. Perkins (eds), Etruscan by definition. Papers in honour of Sybille Haynes. British Museum Research Publication 173 (London, British Museum Press, 2009).

J. Swaddling, ‘Shake, rattle and rôle. Sistrums in Etruria?’ (with a scientific report by J. Ambers et al.), in Swaddling and Perkins 2009, 31–47.

J. Swaddling, The Ancient Olympic Games, 3rd edition, (British Museum Press, 2008) (Also joint imprint with Texas University Press, 2008, and published in Chinese, German, Greek, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Turkish.).

J. Swaddling with L. Bonfante, Etruscan Myths, (London, British Museum Press and Texas University Press, 2006). (Also published in Czech and Spanish.).

J. Swaddling with P. Perkins (eds), in Papers from the Etruscans Now conference held at the British Museum December 2002, published as Etruscan Studies (Journal of the Etruscan Foundation) vol. 9, 2006 and vol. 10, 2007).

J. Swaddling with J. Prag (eds), Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa: the Story of an Etruscan Noblewoman. British Museum Research Paper 100. (London, British Museum Press, 2002).

J. Swaddling, 'A catalogue of Etruscan mirrors in the British Museum', Corpus Speculorum Etruscorum, Gt. Britain 1, I (London, British Museum Press, 2001).