Imagine finding out that an ordinary-looking rock you’ve been using as a stepping stone is actually an ancient artifact worth more than $20,000.
A southern-English woman discovered a marble slab in her garden years ago. At the time, she thought it was just an ordinary garden rock. So, for more than 10 years, she used it in her stable as a stepping stool to mount her horse.
But eventually, layers of dirt and moss wore away to reveal delicate inscriptions underneath. The script was that used by the ancient Romans.
According to a report by CNET, after the woman noticed laurel wreaths and text carved into the rock, she consulted a local archeologist, who dated the marble slab all the way back to the 2nd Century.
The origins of the piece likely trace back to Greece or Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey).
The inscription was translated and reads, “The people [and] the young men [honor] Demetrios [son] of Metrodoros [the son] of Leukios.”
Soon after analyzing the rock, the archeologist had it appraised by UK auction house Woolley and Wallis. According to the auctioneers, the marble slab is worth 10,000 to 15,000 pounds, or roughly US$13,600–$20,400.
“Artifacts of this type often came into England as the result of Grand Tours in the late 18th and 19th century,” Will Hobbs with Woolley and Wallis said in a press statement on Dec. 18, 2020.
“Wealthy aristocrats would tour Europe learning about Classical art and culture. We assume that is how it entered the UK, but what is a complete mystery is how it ended up in a domestic garden, and that’s where we’d like the public’s help.”
The woman who discovered the artifact lives in a bungalow on Common Road in Whiteparish, about 100 miles outside London. The home was built in the mid-1960s, and the auction house hopes that whoever built the dwelling, or lived in the area in the 60s, might know where the rock came from.
But for now, its origins remain a mystery.
The marble slab is scheduled for auction in Salisbury; meanwhile, gardeners everywhere are taking a second look at rocks they thought were “ordinary.”
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