Ancient Roman artifact discovered beneath ruins of Gilded Age mansion

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Cippus of the Roman Emperor Claudius

You never know what you’ll find when you start digging in New York, or its older suburbs — recall the ship discovered under the World Trade Center. But developers made a much more unusual discovery last year when they uncovered an ancient Roman tombstone under a construction site in Tarrytown.

Cippus of the Roman Emperor Claudius
Cippus of the Roman Emperor Claudius

The burial stone of the Roman Emperor Claudius — Julius Caesars grandson and Nero’s father — was found during excavation at the 100-acre development known as Greystone on Hudson.

So how pray tell did an artifact from 54 CE wind up in Tarrytown? Just ask the Gilded Age residents of the prestigious suburb.

The area surrounding Greystone on the Hudson — which LLNYC recently toured — was once home to yesteryears elite, including the Rockefellers,  Astors, and Morgans. The burial stone was purchased from the Villa Borghese in Rome in 1893 by John D Rockefeller’s business partner for his home known as Greystone Castle.

When the castle burned, all records of the antiquity were lost, so its discover came as quite a surprise.

A mansion at Greystone on Hudson
A mansion at Greystone on Hudson

Want to see it for yourself? No problem. It is now on display at the Met.

Cippus of the Roman Emperor Claudius
Cippus of the Roman Emperor Claudius
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