Skip to main content

Enthusiasm Awakened

“Nothing has more power to attract and hold the attention of students, to awaken and sustain their enthusiasm than the constant presence of the tangible remains of antiquity, the actual work of Greek and Roman hands. To students who by daily contact have become familiar with these things and understand their significance the men of old are real persons and their classical literature becomes the expression of real life.” –Dr. Harry Langford Wilson, professor of Classics, The Johns Hopkins University, 1908, writing on the Archaeological Museum.

More than a century after classics Professor Wilson shared these sentiments, Hopkins’ Archaeological Museum remains dedicated to providing “tangible” inspiration for student research. In April, the museum hosted its second symposium highlighting such work. Both undergraduate and graduate students presented a diverse array of projects—including research on Roman funerary urns, chemical analysis of two ancient Roman curse tablets, and a study of the Myers Amduat Papyrus (ca. 1000 BCE) that depicts the last section of the nocturnal journey of the sun god Ra through the underworld.

By considering different aspects of archaeological objects and art—historical, cultural, religious, technical, and scientific—student presenters demonstrated the importance of examining artifacts through various lenses.

For more on the symposium and the Archaeological Museum, visit


Photo of Roman Urn courtesy of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum