Ancient Art Council

Ancient Art Department

Ancient Art Council
Legion of Honor

100 34th Avenue, Lincoln Park
San Francisco, CA 94121

When the Louvre opened its first Assyrian gallery in 1847, the European public discovered a forgotten civilization flourishing in the 1st millennium BC. The empire was previously known only through the Bible, with its monuments, language, and the kings’ names long disappeared. Thus, in the early 1840s, the discoveries of material remains of their culture at Khorsabad and Nineveh in northern Mesopotamia caused a great sensation. Within a decade, the cuneiform inscriptions were deciphered. The history of the decipherment of the Assyrian language was a truly European feat, involving rival as well as courteous collaboration. Its Semitic character caused a controversy, which continued in 1877 when Sumerian, a non-Semitic language, was uncovered in southern Mesopotamia.

About Programs at the Ancient Art Council

Programs are varied and include such activities as lectures by noted archaeologists, museum curators, and ancient art historians; exclusive tours of the Museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions; fund-raising events; and travel programs to ancient sites and other museums. Members also receive invitations from related organizations to attend lectures ad exhibition openings. Your annual membership dues and contributions will assist in furthering the Ancient Art collection at the Fine Arts Museums.



The Discovery of Assyria and Sumer by the West in the 19th century

Florence Gould Theater, Legion of Honor

Prof. Annie Caubet

AAC members: Free / General: Suggested donation $5


Explore the Ancient Art Council: Upcoming Events


The Saga of Queen Zenobia and the Oasis City of Palmyra


A New Look at Ancient Nubia: Magic and Mystery on the Nile


On the Road from Persepolis


Deciphering Demons: Underworld Figures in Egypt and Etruria

Thank you for helping us acquire our first Egyptian royal portrait—a carved limestone relief of Ptolemy I Soter

Ancient Art Council supports Antiquities at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.



Last Supper in Pompeii: From the Table to the Grave

This exhibition reveals how, before Mount Vesuvius blew up in AD 79 and rocked the Bay of Naples, people in Pompeii and nearby farms and villages were engaged in typical daily activities, many of which revolved around food and drink.

May 7, 2021 - August 29, 2021