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Ancient Greek Sculpture Shows a Woman Using a Laptop Computer


(Photo: J. Paul Getty Museum)

Internet conspiracy theorists are buzzing with excitement about a grave sculpture dating back to about 100 BC, probably from the Greek island of Delos. It's been passed around various collectors for the past few centuries, but is now housed at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

The museum says that the woman is opening a "shallow chest" held by a servant girl. A more fanciful argument is that she's using a laptop computer with serial ports. Both hypotheses, however, are incorrect. YouTube commenter TheSerbTube has figured out what the woman is doing:

-via Geekologie


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Shouldn't this be titled Ancient Greek Sculpture Shows a Woman Using a Laptop Computer While Smoking a Waterpipe at a Christian Graveyard Site?
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She may be opening a hinged wax tablet. Wooden boxes were made with both the 'lid' and the 'base' filled with melted wax. One would use a stylus to write on the wax, carving the writing into the soft surface. Afterwards, the box could be closed to protect the writing. When the message is no longer needed, the wax could be smoothed out again.
In the movie "Ben Hur", I believe, there is a scene in which a tablet of this kind is struck by a signet ring, to 'sign' the message (now that I think of it, I think Ben Hur was indicating that he had been adopted into the family of a Roman official, and so had authority to 'sign' documents with the ring).
There could potentially be an even better relief sculpture somewhere, showing a person writing on a tablet with a stylus!
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