Tuesday 27 December 2011

The Unwanted(?) Christmas Present

The sort of presents we get reveals how others see us. From time to time their unguided choice can surprise. The unwanted Christmas present from a family member is a delicate issue, like the teenage Christmas long ago when my Dad - not really aware of precisely why I was angrily buying 'Treasure Hunting magazine' - bought me a... metal detector (!). This year, one "classical archaeologist" friend of antiquities collectors has on a Twitter feed been regaling viewers with jokes and Christmas witterings including on 25th Dec:
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas ... [cute doggy pic]
Santa skipped Bactria this year, and did his shopping in Ancient Rome ... [link to picture]
It's Turkey Time ....
@D.....c ie I didn't get a Bactrian coin (the default present) but a Roman oil lamp
...it has a gladiator on it ...
Santa brought me a rather nice Roman oil lamp decorated with a Gladiator on it ...
The term "rather nice" is I would say relative. The object shown is an earth-grubbied volute lamp of first century AD type as are dug up on cemeteries and other contexts (eg cess pits and sewers) all over the Roman Empire. They have also been quite extensively faked in Bulgaria. The excited recipient said nothing about the collecting history of the item they received, one can only hope it is a kosher deceptive fake rather than an illicitly-surfaced original.

Vignette: David Knell (edited)

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