A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
(Courtesy Sarah Stroup)
There was some beginner's luck this field season at the Hellenistic port of Tel Dor, 19 miles south of Haifa, Israel. On her first dig, Megan Webb, a 28-year-old potter from Philadelphia, was cleaning an area of a large public building with her trowel when this tiny gemstone etched with Alexander the Great's portrait, emerged. Less than half an inch long, it might once have been mounted on a signet ring.
"It is one of perhaps 20 to 30 gemstones--with identifiable portraits of Alexander--that exist in the world," says University of Washington archaeologist Sarah Stroup, director of the Tel Dor field school. "And it's one of the first discovered in a controlled excavation. Many such stones ended up in museums via the black market."