Roman pottery at the ANU Classics Museum. Photo by Stuart Hay.

Roman pottery at the ANU Classics Museum. Photo by Stuart Hay.

Treasures from an ancient time

Hidden away in a non-descript building on campus is a stunning take on life in a by-gone age, as RICHARD FOX and KATE PRESTT uncover.

You enter a large, dimly lit room in a 1970s building and are transported back through centuries.

Before you are busts of unknown people, headstones dedicated to the fallen and depictions of a funeral banquet. It's eerie.

The room closes in on you; the darkness, the detail.

You close your eyes and open them.

Brightness arrives. Before you is a set of classic yet weathered and well-worn Roman coins.

To the left is a mosaic of a lion that once decorated the floor of an ancient Greek home. To the right is an imposing granite Aztec calendar stone, more than two metres in height, depicting the nature of the universe.

You read the descriptions of the pieces around you. Augustus. Nero. Claudius. Titus. Antoninus Pius. All powerful leaders who ruled the world and led civilisation through tumultuous times.

Your mobile phone vibrates bringing you back to the twenty-first century.

You're in Canberra, in the AD Hope Building at ANU.

It may feel like another world but your lunchtime sushi is just two minutes' walk away.