Thursday, September 17, 2009

UW student discovers precious gemstone

Wow. What a field trip! Seattle Times Newspaper: A University of Washington student on an archaeological dig in Israel has unearthed the find of a lifetime — a gemstone engraved more than 2,000 years ago with a portrait of Alexander the Great. The carnelian stone, less than a half-inch long, is believed to date from soon after Alexander conquered the region in 332 B.C. Likely once part of a signet ring, the stone was found in the Tel Dor excavation site on Israel's northwest coast. "This is an incredibly rare find," said Sarah Stroup, a UW associate professor of classics who led the team of 20 students for the summer dig. "The carving is of the highest quality that could have been done in that period." Stroup said the ring was likely a status symbol, once worn by a wealthy resident. Its unearthing adds to the historical record by challenging the assumption that the coastal region was populated by simple folk who weren't hip to the Greek aesthetic, Stroup said.

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