Mystery Surrounds How Ancient Roman Gravestone Unearthed in the UK Got There in the 1st Place

A woman found an ancient marble slab in her garden in Whiteparish
Woolley and Wallis Salerooms Ltd.

An ancient gravestone was found in a garden, tucked away in a small U.K. village, and now experts are left with many questions in an attempt to discover how the slab even got there. A local auction house is asking for the public's help in tracing the origins of the marble slab. 

The heavy rock was discovered from the rockery of a garden in Whiteparish nearly 20 years ago, but was used as a horse mounting block in the owner's stable for a decade after –– until the woman noticed markings carved on the stone's surface, according to a press release from the Woolley and Wallis auction house.

The markings were that of a laurel wreath, a symbol made of connected branches and leaves –– a symbol of triumph in some cultures.

The woman who discovered the slab took the stone to an archeologist, who soon after identified the stone as dating back to the 2nd century AD, likely originating in Greece or Asia Minor.

The writing reads, "The people (and) the Young Men (honor) Demetrios (son) of Metrodoros (the son) of Leukios," CNN reported.

“Artefacts of this type often came into England as the result of Grand Tours in the late 18th and 19th century, when wealthy aristocrats would tour Europe learning about Classical art and culture,” explained Antiquities specialist Will Hobbs at Woolley and Wallis in a statement. “We assume that is how it entered the U.K., 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 specialist speculates that the stone might have originated from Cowesfield House and Broxmore House, which were both landmarks close to the village, but they were demolished in 1949 after the army claimed it during the war.

The auctioneers are hoping that someone who works or lives in the area might be able to recount the origins of the rubble used.

"But we also know that the house at what is now Paulton’s Park was destroyed by fire in 1963 and so possibly rubble from there was reused at building sites in the area shortly afterward," Hobbs added.

The auction house is selling the marble slab in Salisbury for between 10,000-15,000 euros, at the very least. The auction will be postponed from its original February date to the springtime due to the recent lockdown in the U.K.


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