After two years, what I have come to call “The Lost Collections,” have finally come together into an online exhibit. Many many thanks go out to my friend Krista Carson, who has helped me put all of this together.

Lost Collections of the Ancient World

The story started in January of 2011, when my friend Paige Glenen and I made an incredible discovery in storage at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology, in London, Ontario. We had found boxes and boxes of artefacts labeled as “Old World Roman.” The idea that we had a collection of Roman artefacts that we could handle and explore was exciting enough for two Classical archaeologists.

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Roman Terra Sigillata c. 200 CE

However, it soon became very apparent that there was more to the story than we had originally thought. Most of the boxes contained artefacts that were most definitely not of Roman origin, but what were they?

There were some large complete, or almost complete, pots stuffed with old yellowed newsprint. We thought it would be best to remove this acidic product to protect the artefacts (that and we wanted to look inside).  We found many more small artefacts, small pots, human figurines and two Cuneiform cones (cone-shaped baked clay pieces covered with writing known as cuneiform).

This is when we knew we really had something special.

a
Cuneiform Foundation Cone                               c. 2144 – 2124 B.C.E
“For Ningirsu, Enlil’s mighty warrior,
Gudea, ruler of Lagas, made things function as they should (and) he built and restored for him his Eninnu, the Whit Thunderbird.”

Our first thought upon stumbling accross these ancient records, – ‘Are they real?’

The cones are real and the presence of cuneiform text identified the part of our collection as Mesopotamian (the region around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Modern day Iraq and Syria).

Armed with this information we were able to determine that the majority of the artefacts are of Mesopotamian origin and were found at the archaeological site of Ur (in modern southern Iraq).  The majority of the collection dates to c. 5900 – 2000 B.C.E.

The story behind the Lost Collections has proven to be unique and fascinating. I hope you take the time to explore the online exhibit and learn more about the story of the Lost Collections of the Ancient World.

Enjoy!

Book Review: The Beacon at Alexandria

I first read The Beacon at Alexandria, by Gillian bradshaw in 1999 when I was in Grade 11; it had been leant to me by my latin teacher as ‘a book that I should like’ – I didn’t just like it – I loved it!  It istantly became my favourite book, and it has remained my favourite book ever since. Twelve years ago I reviewed the Beacon at Alexandria on Chapters.ca when I finally purchased my very own copy.

“I will start off by saying that If I could rank this book higher than five I would! I loved this book so much! The characters are incredibly real, so much so that you begin to feel like you know them. There problems become your problems. I found myself loathing Festinus and cheering for young Charis. I guarantee that anyone who picks up this book will enjoy it as much as I did!”

My review remains the only one on this site, but there are many more favourable reviews on goodreads.com.

I think it is safe to say that The Beacon at Alexandria, which is about a head strong and independent thinking girl living in the late Roman Empire, likely inspired some of my early choices in life. – Latin in class in general certainly solidified my desire to study Classics – but The Beacon at Alexandria was about a girl near my own age (at the time, lol) doing what she wanted to do and being successful despite the time, place and political atmosphere she found herself in. I think she inspired me to take risks and every time I read it, which I do every 3 or 4 years, I am inspired anew. Perhaps it is time to pick it up again!

If you love historical fiction, roman history, ancient medicine, women’s literature, religious/political history or just the ancient world in general, I am pretty sure you will love this book too.

Fun link for Monday: “Bath Is Illuminated As Part Of The 2012 Cultural Olympiad”

In 2007 I completed an internship at the Roman Baths (Bath, UK) as part of my MA programme. The Baths, and the city itself are amazing places, and I fell in love with both immediately. I hope some day soon I will get back there.

On Jan. 26th the Roman Baths were lit up by some alumni of Bath Spa University to celebrate the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The results add an ethereal effect to an already magical setting.

Click the image below to see more really cool photos of a really beautiful place.

Enjoy!

Illuminated Roman Baths

My offering to the Jerash Nymphaeum, Jordan

In 2004, while on field school in Jordan, we would spend most Saturdays traveling to many of the countries rich archaeological sites – in other words – It-Was-Awesome!

On one particular Saturday we drove north to the area around the 2nd century CE Roman city of Jerash. It’s amazingly preserved, complete with an hippodrome (racetrack) and a theatre, adjacent to the modern city (click here for more info on Jerash).

The morning of our trip to Jerash, in my half asleep stupor as I got ready for the bus, I put on my flip flops instead of running shoes. Now, flip flops are pretty much my default foot attire, but really not appropriate for climbing around archaeological ruins.

When I arrived at the Nymphaeum,  a fountain dedicated to the Nymphs, I stubbed my toe on part of the foundation. Leaving behind a nice blood offering to the city. I then spent the next half an hour asking around for a band-aid.

The moral of this story?

Always carry your own band-aids when visiting archaeological sites!

….What? Was I supposed to learn something else? 😛

Nymphaeum c.190 CE, Jerash, Jordan

Mithraeum site in London is on the move again

The infamous archaeological Mithraeum site in London, UK is on the move again. It was moved in the 1950s/60s to it’s current location and will now be returned.

The Roman Britain collection, which I have been working with, was donated to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology in 1950; was excavated from a Blitz crater near the this Mithraeum site.  It was originally found on Walbrook Street in 1954.

You can read more about the Roman Britain collection here.

Hopefully the archaeologists working on the project are able to recreate the site to more accurately represent the original temple. I hope to visit it one day!

Temple of Mithras today

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