Grades/Level: Upper Elementary (3–5), Middle School (6–8)
Subjects: Visual Arts, English–Language Arts, History–Social Science, Science
Time Required: Single Class Lesson
One short pre-visit activity, a one-hour activity for your visit to the Getty Villa, and ideas for post-visit activities
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education staff

Activity Overview

Wine Cup, Fishmonger / Greek

Use this activity for exploring the Getty Villa's Herb Garden and the Men in Antiquity gallery (Gallery 209). Students identify herbs in the Herb Garden for an ancient recipe, and learn about ancient food preparation and eating practice.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• recognize specific plants and describe their physical and culinary characteristics.
• discuss the use of herbs in ancient and modern cooking.
• understand ancient cooking and eating practice.
• reflect on the everyday life of ancient peoples.


Download the documents below to use for your pre-visit activity, visit to the Villa (student worksheet), and post-visit activity. Links to images of works of art that students will see at the Villa are also provided.

(optional) In addition to the materials below, this cookbook may be useful:
Ancient Roman recipes, found in a cookbook by Apicius, De Re Coquinaria, available on the University of Chicago's Web site.

Activity Steps

Follow the steps below to make the most of your Villa visit.

  1. Download the pre-visit activity, above, and use it in the classroom to help prepare your students for their Villa visit.
  2. Before coming to the Villa, download and make copies for each student of the appropriate student worksheet (see Materials section above). At the Villa, students will use these sheets to investigate the Museum collection and site. An instruction sheet is included with this to guide you and your chaperones at the Villa.
  3. Follow your visit up with the post-visit activity, which your students can complete in the classroom or as a homework assignment.

Below is a summary of the activities contained in the downloadable materials above.

Pre-Visit Activity: Introduce students to ancient cooking practices by examining a wall panel depicting meal preparation. They also view images of ancient herbs, and discuss why people use herbs in cooking.

Student Worksheet: At the Villa, students follow the worksheet to identify and examine various herbs and plants in the Villa's Herb Garden that were used in an ancient Roman recipe. They then go into the Museum galleries and answer questions about works of art that depict fishing and dining.

Post-Visit Activity: We provide three ideas for assignments to follow up your visit to the Getty Villa. Students can recreate an ancient Roman recipe using herbs found in the Getty Villa Herb Garden. They can also research the medicinal use of these herbs in the ancient world, or research non-culinary uses of these herbs today.

Relief with a Heroic Banquet / Greek
Relief with a Heroic Banquet, Greek, 150–100 B.C.