In the Fall of 2012, two Garrison Forest School (GFS) seniors, Kaley Gonzalez and Sarah Hill, began working at the museum under the supervision of Hopkins graduate student Elisabeth Schwinge. Their project involved examining Latin inscriptions from ancient Rome and producing translations of the texts as well as completing various tasks such as photographing, describing and cataloguing these objects for the museum’s database. With Schwinge’s guidance, Gonzalez and Hill have studied a series of marble inscriptions over the past four months, adding valuable information to the museum’s records while gaining insight into the workings of a museum. This program follows in the wake of an extensive project begun by Schwinge to catalog the entirety of the museum’s Latin inscriptions.
When asked about their experience working at the museum, the students had the following to say:
Sarah Hill: ”Throughout my high school career, I have always been interested in the Latin language, but my experience at the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum has showed me a completely different side of the Classics. Translating ancient inscriptions, whether funerary or dedicatory, requires a completely different skillset than I was used to. I was used to reading Vergil’s poetry or Cicero’s orations, which I soon learned is nothing like translating inscriptions. Once I got used to the differences in structure, however, I began to truly appreciate the art and intrigue of ancient inscriptions. Because of my experience at the museum, I know I want to continue my studies in the Classics in college.”
Kaley Gonzalez: ”Through my internship and the amazing guidance of Elisabeth Schwinge I have received the opportunity to put my knowledge of the Latin language to use in a way that I could never have imagined. Never in a million years would I have fathomed that I would be privileged to hold an actual Roman funerary inscription in my hands as a high school senior! Initially, the shift from literary Latin to Latin inscriptions was challenging and unfamiliar; however we soon discerned repeating patterns and familiarized ourselves with the customary structure of inscription writing. Before this experience, I possessed little knowledge of epigraphy and now feel that I could articulately explain all that it entails and its importance. I am astounded by the research that we have performed in our contemplation of the textual meaning of the phrase ex horreis Faenianis in one of the museum’s funerary inscriptions. We came to the conclusion that it signifies the region that an individual inhabited in proximity to the closest granary. I am extremely grateful for this unbelievable opportunity and am looking forward to pursuing Latin in college.”
This project was possible due to the support and interest of faculty and administrators at Garrison Forest. Dante Beretta, a JHU alumnus and Archivist and Latin teacher at the school, initially approached the museum with the idea of bringing particularly bright and dedicated students of classics to work with museum objects. The administrative and logistical aspects of this collaboration were made possible through the dedication of Andrea Perry, Dean of Special Programs. The results of this project were presented at a Museum Chat on February 2nd, 2013.