We all have them: those small items we use every day that fade into the background of our lives. It’s only when someone points them out that we realize how extraordinary they are. For decades, one woman used a simple stone as a step to mount her horses. However, she recently discovered the slab has quite the ancient history! Not only that, but it’s also worth a lot of money…
An Ordinary Stone Slab
While this incredible story truly starts hundreds of years ago, the part that most concerns us began some two decades ago. That’s when an ordinary woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, found a beautiful, 25-inch-long stone slab in her garden in Whiteparish, a village in southern England. Thinking it was a broken piece of furniture, or something along those lines, the woman stored it in her barn, never giving it a second consideration. Just recently, she actually started using it as a sturdy step to help her mount her horse in her older years. Believe it or not, in all that time, she never stopped to give the slab a better look.
Then, a few months ago, the slab fell off its stand in the barn, and something incredible revealed itself: the slab had a carving of a laurel wreath on the side! Realizing she had something important in her hands, the woman passed it along to an archeologist friend. Incredibly, within weeks, her friend discovered just how old the slab was. To everyone’s surprise, it dates back to the second century AD and the Roman Empire. That’s right! Furthermore, the specialist revealed the find ranks as one of the greatest in the country’s history. Why? Well, despite their proximity, it’s very rare to find Roman stone slabs so far from the heart of the empire!
Now, historians must answer a challenging question: how did the stone slab arrive in England?
As you might imagine, the woman has elected to sell her incredible historical find. The sellers, Woolley and Wallis Salerooms, have some theories on how this fantastic piece might have ended up in an ordinary woman’s garden. “Artifacts 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,” Will Hobbs, an antiquities specialist at Woolley and Wallis, explained. “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.” Now, historians are talking to neighbors of the woman, to see if anyone can remember anything about the garden’s construction. After all, it’s the only clue they have to go on!
“There are several possibilities of where the stone might have originated,” Hobbs said. “English country houses known as Cowesfield House and Broxmore House were very close to Whiteparish and were demolished in 1949 after having been requisitioned by the [British] army during the war…But we also know that the house at what is now [family theme park] Paultons Park was destroyed by fire in 1963, and so possibly rubble from there was reused at building sites in the area shortly afterwards.”
Time will tell if the item will sell, as the bidding will begin at $20,000.