Elisabeth Campbell (far left), Amanda Witherspoon (center) and Anna Gorma (right) discuss an inscription from the museum’s collection at a Museum Chat on February 1st, 2014.

For a second year in a row, two Garrison Forest School students– Anna Gorman and Amanda Witherspoon– joined Elisabeth Campbell, graduate student in the Department of Classics, to study Latin funerary inscriptions in the museum’s collection.  They translated a series of inscriptions, including an intriguing one that mentions a curse.  You can read more about this inscription here.

We asked both Anna and Amanda to think about their experiences working at the museum, and they sent us these reflections.

“Participating in this partnership with the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum was a fascinating and invaluable opportunity for me. It gave me the chance to experience Roman history and culture in a new and interesting way, while also practicing my skills with Latin. I gained an insight into what it is like to work with historical artifacts, and a new appreciation for the people who do it every day. Over our time at Hopkins, Mandy and I saw a broad range of Roman funerary inscriptions, which are a tangible connection to the real people who lived out their lives nearly two thousand years ago. They provide incredible insight to a different era, a different way of living, through a medium that is still in use today. This experience has taught me a great deal, and has given me a better appreciation for the reality of history, which can sometimes feel like a distant concept.”

“I have learned so much through my research with Anna and Elisabeth. Last year, I took Advanced Placement Latin, where I read half of Vergil’s Aeneid and half of Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico. After a full year of reading nothing but real Latin poetry and prose, it was difficult to shift to the structure of Roman tombstones, which deals mostly with abbreviations. After many weeks of translating, I began to become familiar with the typical structure of a Roman tombstone. I found that reading from a book or textbook is much more different and exciting than reading from the original inscription. Every time I touched a stone, I was in awe that I was touching the same stone that had been touched by someone else thousands of years ago. Reading and learning about each individual’s life from their tombstone was so extraordinary and made me feel like I had a closer connection with the Roman culture. This experience has great increased my interest in the classics, and has given me an insight into the workings of Latin research outside of the textbooks and classrooms.”