2008 Unexplainable Recap of Exciting Headlines: August

Mark TwainIn August of 2008, headlines concerning the discovery of a large statue depicting a great Roman emperor hit the presses, as well as the archeological search for clues concerning the former hometown of an impressive American writer.

A Civil War-era Opera House Receives Archeological Attention

Virginia City, Nevada is the site for an archeological project involving the University of Nevada in Reno, where they see their latest efforts transported from the Barbary Coast to the original site found at Thomas Maguire’s Opera House on D Street. It is the hope of researchers that they will successfully reveal information concerning the fabled town that once served as home to great writer Mark Twain. Students from the Department of Anthropology and the Extended Studies office at the University are also lucky enough to participate in the project, as they took part in a summer field school assignment.

During 1863, Maguire’s Opera House served as one of the most important theaters of the West. So important, Mark Twain would hurry back from a trip in San Francisco, just to attend a premiere act in Virginia City. During his time, the best actors made their way to the opera house, which also included the brother of the main who would assassinate a future president , John Wilkes Booth.

The building is one of the first structures associated with Comstock development and since it was situated in the middle of town , researchers believe they may gain details on other parts of the city that once stood. The opera house thrived during a time when Virginia City was quite prosperous and growing in many directions. This is the place where Samuel Clemens landed and later took on the persona of Mark Twain during his days as a reporter. Overall, researchers will gain a better understanding of the early days of Virginia City, as well as uncover information concerning the history of the American theater.

Large Statue of Roman Emperor

In Turkey, reports came in during August of 2008 about an archeological find consisting of a rather attractive marble statue depicting the emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius , a Roman ruler from 161 to 180 AD. The remains of the statue provide the image of a man considered one of the last of ‘good’ emperors in the past. He was known as one of most important Stoic philosophers.

The statue was found in a Roman-era bath situated in Salagassos, which is located in the western part of Turkey. Together, a team consisting of Belgian and Turkish excavators unveiled a large head of the emperor that possessed his characteristic bulging eyes. In his right hand, he held a globe. Altogether, the statue measures around 4 ½ meters tall. Additionally, the lower legs of the statue have also been uncovered.

Overall, the find is quite significant because it provides insight into the regional center of Sagalassos, which saw communities until the 7th century rolled around. Sadly, the city was destroyed by the hands of an earthquake. This particular site has become a hot spot for ancient finds, as the remains of another large creation (a statue of the Roman emperor Hadrian , ruler from 117 to 138 AD) were also located in the same vicinity.