Object CollectionsObject Collections

The Museum holds archaeological and ethnographic objects from all parts of the world. It was founded in 1884 when General Pitt Rivers, an influential figure in the development of archaeology and evolutionary anthropology, gave his collection to the University.

The founding gift contained more than 18,000 objects but there are now around 300,000. Many were donated by early anthropologists, colonial administrators and explorers, but the Museum has continued to collect through donations, bequests, special purchases and through its staff and students in the course of their fieldwork.

The Museum hosts around 100 research visits by those wishing to consult its object collections in more detail, and answers many more enquiries by correspondence.

Enquiries:  objects.colls@prm.ox.ac.uk

Image ordering / licensing


online objects database

Objects Catalogue




The Collections Team manage a diverse range of activities to ensure the research and long-term care of objects in the Pitt Rivers Museum collections. Most of our work takes place behind the scenes; follow this blog to gain an insight into what we do.