Archaeology and Anthropology Collections

The Wesleyan University Archaeology and Anthropology Collections (WUAAC) contain over 30,000 archaeological and ethnographic objects from around the world.  These objects are used in the hands-on teaching of archaeology and biological anthropology.  They consist of three distinct collections. 

The “legacy collection” consists of ethnographic and archaeological objects that once belonged to Wesleyan’s Orange Judd Museum of Natural History (1871-1957).  This collection includes thematically focused sub-collections as well as individual items.  When the museum was closed in 1957, many items were disposed of or sent to other institutions, and others were damaged or stolen while in storage.  Although a museum was never re-established on campus, the Archaeology Program has been making a concerted effort since 2000 to rehabilitate the “legacy collection” and facilitate its use by students, educators, scholars, and stakeholders. This site is part of that effort.

The “Middletown excavation collection” consists of archaeological materials recovered from Wesleyan-directed excavations in the Middletown area since the 1970s. Many of these materials are still undergoing active laboratory analysis and interpretation by faculty and students.

The “extant and fossil primate cast collection” consists of fossil and primate skeletal reproductions and other materials routinely used in the teaching of human evolution, comparative anatomy, and related topics.



Information on the objects represented on these pages derives from available catalogue records combined with research by students and staff. This information is intended for general informative purposes only; no claims are made about its completeness or accuracy. Many objects are still in the process of being identified after spending decades "lost" in storage. If you have comments, questions, or knowledge to share about any of the objects pictured here, please contact us. We welcome your input.