Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lost Collections of the Ancient World

The story started in January 2011, when Paige Glenen and Katie Urban made an incredible discovery in storage rooms at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. The pair found box after box of artefacts labelled simply as “Old World Roman.”

Inside Roman pots

At first they were excited at the prospect that two Classical archaeologists in Canada had a collection of Roman artefacts they could handle and explore, but then events took a remarkable turn.

It soon became very apparent that there was more to the story than they had originally thought as most of the boxes contained artefacts that were most definitely not Roman in origin; but where were they from, who found them, and more importantly – what were they?

There were some largely complete, or almost complete Roman pots stuffed with yellowed newsprint, but when they started to remove this stuffing they began to find many more small artefacts, pots, figurines and two cone-shaped clay pieces covered with cuneiform writing.

Mystery collection

Now able to examine these new items, they were able to determine that the majority of the artefacts were Mesopotamian in origin and belonged to the archaeological site of Ur (in modern southern Iraq). The bulk of the collection dated to between  c. 5900 – 2000 B.C.E.

The Lost Collections of the Ancient World is now available online where you can learn much more about the discovery.

Past Horizons. 2013. “Lost Collections of the Ancient World”. Past Horizons. Posted: February 22, 2013. Available online:

No comments: