Friday, August 03, 2018

Roman Tombstone

We recently drove down to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina to deliver a donation to the art museum.  The donation was a Roman Funerary Inscription, AkA, a Roman Tombstone.  When I met Jay, it was in a display case in the living room, there it has been for the past 27 years.  How did he come to have it? When he was in graduate school at Duke, he stopped to visit a monk in Minnesota - who was doing diabetes research.  The monk said, I have something you might like to have, pulled plastic bag off of a shelf and gave it to Jay.  The monk's father had been a geologist working in Italy in the 1930's, he came across this, thought it was interesting, and it as it was small and a fragment, no one wanted it, so he brought it home.  

We are consolidating two houses into one, going from 2,800 square feet to 1,100.  We are sorting out and deciding what to do with all of this stuff - we have given a lot of things away.  We were also concerned that when we are both dead, whoever cleans out the condo would look at it and think, another one of David's art projects and toss it in the dumpster.  So we decided to donate it. 

It will be part of the museum's permanent collection.  Given the opportunity they will display it,  they will also make it available to researchers or for loan to other museums. It is likely a Duke graduate student will spend a year, learning about inscriptions from this period and trying to paint a picture of the person it memorialized.  I hope they get a good article or a short book out of it. 

It is not the oldest thing hanging around, there is piece of 4th century BC pottery - we need to get that tagged so it isn't mistaken for something from the garden shop.  

What is the oldest thing in your living room?  


  1. Me! Aw, c'mon, you saw that one coming didn't you?

  2. Probably a red pottery vase with Asian stand that had been on the Eisenhower farm, given to me from a dear friend, who sadly isn't with us anymore, who was cousins with them.

  3. Jerry... But don't tell him I said that.

    Really, just a tea table and a pair of Polish candlesticks from the mid-1800s. Nothing as exciting as a Roman tombstone.

  4. the wood burning fireplace (the house was built in 1941).

    I thought that was your sweet bear in that photo - adorable wicked hamster!

  5. I was being facetious earlier (and boy does she wish I'd stop!). Actually, the oldest things in my living room are a couple of photos. Balder Half's and my prom picture and the one of us from Grad Night in Disneyland. The other (my favorite)is a picture of me and my five younger sisters when I was eight. It's the only professional one our parents ever had taken of us. That sucker is fifty-four years old! There's a matching one taken right before I moved from San Diego. I was thirty-seven and the baby was twenty-nine. She refused to sit in my lap this time.