Researchers from our Department of Classics and Ancient History have discovered an unpublished Athenian gravestone in a museum in the North East of England.
The discovery is part of a project, which is being led by Cardiff University and involves the University of Manchester, to uncover all the Athenian inscriptions in collections in the UK.
From these discoveries, the team has created resources for schools to use alongside the national curriculum to help teach pupils about Athenian history.
The research team, which includes Professor Polly Low and Dr Christopher de Lisle, searched through 14 different UK Athenian collections, many of which were in museums of private houses. They discovered an unpublished gravestone at the Great North Museum: Hancock, in Newcastle, which had been bought by the museum in the 1980s.
Upon the stone is the name Pantakles as well as an intricate design and the image of a Siren, a mythical creature which was often used to depict a person who died young, with its wings outstretched. It is these distinct features which, the team believes, makes it in fitting with an Athenian inscription.
A Greek ‘yearbook’ was also discovered, as part of the research project, in storage at National Museums Scotland, and is believed to have been there for more than 100 years. The stone shows names of male pupils from a school year.
Originally, the team thought the inscription could be a replica of a similar one discovered in Oxford. But on closer inspection, they discovered it was a relic from the same school year, which is something of a rarity.