Mercer alum speaks on vast collection of artifacts

On April 3, scholar and Mercer alumnus Dr. Y. Lynn Holmes came to talk in conversation about his extensive collection of ancient artifacts from the Holy Land. This talk marked the opening of another rotation of the Holmes Holy Land Ancient Artifact Collection. This exhibit of artifacts is titled, “Sex and Violence in the Ancient World: Gender, Sexuality, and Warfare from 2000 BC – 400 AD.”  Elizabeth Hammond, the Dean of University Libraries, commented on the exhibit saying, “These artifacts are an exciting…campus resource that could lend itself to additional programming, curricular development and Mercer community activities.” Dr. Holmes hopes his collection, “can be used to show students and the people of south and central Georgia real artifacts of the ancient Holy Land and give a better understanding of the ancient world and the Bible.”
Commenting on how his collection came to be, Dr. Holmes said, “When I was in fourth grade, I became fascinated with ancient history.” Over time, he became more interested in ancient history as his involvement with studying Christianity grew. Dr. Marc Lovelace, who taught Dr. Holmes at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, exposed Dr. Holmes to ancient artifacts from the Holy Land and created the desire to start his own collection. Dr. Holmes says, “I seriously began my collection about 1973 when I took a group of [West Georgia] students to work on an archaeological excavation in Israel. My collection expanded dramatically in 1984 when Dr. Lovelace offered to sell me his whole collection.” Dr. Holmes bought Dr. Lovelace’s collection and continues to buy items whenever he can find artifacts that will enhance the collection.
While an important resource for students of Mercer, the Holmes Holy Land Ancient Artifact Collection is on display on the Main Floor of Tarver Library and available to the general public, schools and colleges of the Middle and South Georgia areas. However, many students are not aware of this exhibit’s presence in the library. Mary Catherine Rosher, a junior Holistic Child major, had often passed the Holmes Holy Land Ancient Artifact exhibit without realizing what it was. Only when this installment of the exhibit was released did she realize the artifacts belonged to the Holy Land Ancient Artifact Collection. Shelby Brigman, a junior Biology major, never noticed what was in the display case, either. However, once the exhibit was brought to her attention, she commented, “I thought it was interesting and I would like to go and see more stuff like this,” said Brigman.
When asked her opinion of the Sex and Violence in the Ancient World exhibit, Brigman said, “It was an interesting point of view of sexuality in the Greco-Roman time period. Sexuality is really pronounced in the media right now, so it seems to be more of a new age thing when really, sexuality in the media has been around for thousands of years even though the type of media has changed quite a bit.” Brigman also mentioned that the exhibit “made me think about how I wish Mercer, in the lower level history classes, would teach more about [sex and violence in the ancient world]. It was a side of history that I had never seen before and [history classes] don’t really cover these topics when we learn about this time period,” added Brigman.