There in a 4th century garbage dump in the ancient city of Petra in Jordan two statues waited to be found. Undetected for centuries, despite a number of archaeological expeditions, the statues, and heads and arms that were once part of them, were of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess. They will be restored.
The significance to North Carolina is that professors from N.C. State University and East Carolina University were leading the team of archaeologists thatmade the find. The schools may not be known primarily for this type of work, but that’s only because both have specialties in other fields of academic endeavor. But clearly, their professors and researchers and students are of broad and intense interests in all matters of academic curiosity.
And archaeological efforts such as this, when they deliver remarkable discoveries, are always exciting as science and as history. In this case, ancient history.
The statues are made of marble from Greece or Italy, taken to Petra perhaps 2,000 years ago. And here is where history, and science, and romance and even sociology meet. There’s an ongoing project in this part of the city, focused on tombs and homes in an area believed to be the residences of “commoners.” The statues are uncommon, of course, and now begins research as to how they got where they were. Once a restoration is complete, the statues will remain, as they should, in Jordan. For archaeologists, the pursuit of such treasures and the discovery are the most important things, not possession.