Eye of the Lion
At least it used to be. One bleak afternoon last November, at low tide, Graham noticed something peculiar in the riverbed near his dock: a stone eye staring back at him. Thinking it might be a statue just right for his garden, he grabbed a spade and dug until the tide came in. Twice more at low tide he tried digging it out before realizing his find was a massive one and definitely no garden-variety sculpture.
After he alerted a local archaeologist, a team of diggers from the National Museums of Scotland moved in. "They couldn't hide their excitement," recalls Graham. What they finally unearthed, on Jan. 20, was a 5-foot-long, ton-and-a-half sculpture of a lioness devouring a bearded man. Nearly 2,000 years old, symbolizing the destructive power of death, it turned out to be one of Britain's most valuable Roman-era relics.
The lioness is also a windfall for Graham, 36, who lives on the Dalmeny Estate with his wife, Julie, 32, and their daughters, Sarah, 6, and Rachael, 4. According to a 13th-century Scottish law, he is entitled to be paid the market value of the sculpture, which now resides at the National Museums in Edinburgh and is said to be worth as much as $750,000. That might buy plenty of less pricey statuary for his garden. Graham, a local-history buff, seems more excited that "we were on the site when they pulled her out." He says, "This is something we'll be telling our grandchildren about for a long time."