Ancient kids’ toys have been hiding in the archaeological record


Youngsters have probably been playing their way into cultural competence for at least tens of thousands of years. So why are signs of children largely absent from the archaeological record?

A cartoon that Biblical scholar Kristine Garroway taped up in her college dorm helps to explain kids’ invisibility at ancient sites: Two men in business suits stare intently at an unidentifiable round object sitting on a table. “Hey, what’s this?” asks the first guy. “I dunno, probably a toy … or a religious object,” says the second.

Archaeologists have long tended to choose the second option, says Garroway, now a visiting scientist at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. Ambiguous finds, such as miniature pottery vessels and small figurines, get classified as ritual or decorative objects. Some of these artifacts undoubtedly were used in ceremonies. But not all of them, Garroway argues.

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Mummy discovered in Newly Explored Egyptian tomb


Earlier this month (December 2017), it was reported that a team of Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a new mummy in a newly explored tomb near the city of Luxor.  The report which was published by a number of news outlets said that the mummy was found in one of two tombs which are being explored for the first time since the original discovery twenty years ago. The tombs, were originally found by German archaeologist Frederica Kampp in the 1990s in an area known as the Dra Abu el Naga Necropolis, near the Temple of Hatshepsut and the Valley of the Kings, where the treasures of Tutankhamun were found.

The archeologists believe that the tombs date back to the ancient Egyptian dynasties of the New Kingdom, which lasted from 1,550-1,070 BC.  The tombs were obviously known to the archeologists but they were not explored.  The mummy found was wrapped in linen which means that the person was a top official or a powerful person. The archeologists also found the name “Djehuty Mes“, engraved on one of the walls, therefore leading them to believe that it is the name of the mummy recently found.  Alternatively, it (the mummy and the tomb) could belong to “the scribe Maati, as his name and the name of his wife Mehi were inscribed on 50 funerary cones found in the tomb’s rectangular chamber”.

The archeologists believe that there is more to explore and to be found as only one of the two tombs have now been excavated. According to the team, the tomb has a court-yard lined with stone and mud-brick walls. It has a six-meter deep burial shaft at its southern side that leads to four side chambers.

The tourism industry in Egypt has been greatly and negatively impacted by the latest terrorist’s attacks and news and Egyptian authorities are exploring the tombs while Egypt is trying to promote and encourage tourism and visits to its ancient sites.

Pizza Could Earn UNESCO World Heritage Status


In early December UNESCO’s committee on cultural heritage will meet in Seoul, South Korea, to discuss many different submissions by countries around the world for recognition and designation by UNESCO. During that meeting Neapolitan pizza will be a topic of discussion and whether it should be on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.

In 2006, UNESCO started its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list which recognizes traditional practices and activities around the globe. The list includes music, food, dance and things that shape national identities around the world. The list over the last few years have included additions such as Turkish coffee, Croatian gingerbread, Japanese washoku, the Mediterranean diet, and the cuisines of Mexico and France. UNESCO’s goal has been to honor and preserve traditional cooking methods, as well as food, and other intangible things that basically that are recognized around the world as being representations of the countries of origins.

We all love pizza and have our favorite pizza. If you have never travelled to Italy, you still know pizza, perhaps from your favorite Italian restaurant and not so Italian restaurant in New York City, Los Angeles, London….. People all around the world love pizza, even if they have never ate it in Italy. However, Italians have argued that Pizza has special significance for their people and country and that is why more than two million Italians have petitioned for pizza to be given UNESCO World Heritage status.

In addition, the Italians or specifically the city of Naples argue that Neapolitan pizza was born in that city and they have to ensure that the traditional form of the pizza which does not include all the latest creative toppings survive the changing times.

Whatever the outcome of the discussions and the decision of the UNESCO committee will be, it is our wish and hope that we all continue being able to eat pizza anywhere in the world.


Yazd city inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage


UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ― designated eleven new sites on Sunday and may continue to do so throughout next week until the annual World Heritage Committee meeting ends on July 12. 

The ancient city of Yazd in Iran is one of UNESCO’s new World Heritage Sites. The City of Yazd is located in the middle of the Iranian plateau, close to the Spice and Silk Roads. It bears living testimony to the use of limited resources for survival in the desert. Water is supplied to the city through a qanat system developed to draw underground water. The earthen architecture of Yazd has escaped the modernization that destroyed many traditional earthen towns, retaining its traditional districts, the qanat system, traditional houses, bazars, hammams, Zoroastrian temples and the historic garden of Dolat-abad.

Metal Thefts at Historic Buildings in England


metalAs reported by BBC, Police in England has teamed up with heritage experts to crack down on gangs stealing valuable metal from churches and historic buildings.  The Local Government Association estimates metal thefts – of materials including electricity cables, railway lines, war memorials, road signs, children’s playground equipment and church roofs – cost the country as much as £770m a year.  In the case of historic buildings and churches, the thieves are stealing years of history and destroying English cultural heritage. 

Officers are working with Historic England to inspect scrap yards where thieves might try to sell lucrative metals such as lead and copper as reported by BBC. The police say that some dealerships are failing to carry out checks when they are offered metal for sale.  In the partnership between the police and experts, officers from Operation Crucible are taking members of Historic England along when they investigate scrapyards to help them understand how thieves operate.

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 requires all scrap dealers and motor salvage operators in England and Wales to apply for a license from their local authority and keep records on whom they buy from.  The council also has the power to assess whether each license applicant is a “suitable person” – including examining criminal convictions – and increased powers to carry out inspections.

International Day for Disaster Reduction


nternational-dayOctober 13th celebrated the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR). This date has been designated by the UN Assembly to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

The International Day for Disaster Reduction aims to demonstrate the different and varied ways that people and communities are working to reduce disaster risks and raise awareness about the importance of Disaster Risk Reduction. This day also serves to encourage all citizens and governments to actively participate in building societies and nations that are more resilient to disasters.

The theme chosen for this year was “Living with Disabilities and Disasters,” intending to draw attention to the importance of integrating the needs of people living with disabilities in decisions and policies for reducing the risks of disasters

Amateur Archaeologists Discover Monastery


lindisfarneExpert archaeologists are excited but not surprised that an amateur archaeologist has unearthed what is believed to be evidence of one of England’s earliest Christian monasteries in a dig on Lindisfarne. The project was supported by £25,000 which was crowd-funded by 200 donors in North East England. Sixty of people who actually donated to the project took part in the dig.

Project leader Lisa Westcott Wilkins and Project co-director Dr David Petts, of Durham University call the project a “stunning find” according to BBC. The experts believe that what has been found date from around the time the monastery was built in 635AD. The monastery was thought to be near the later medieval priory, the ruins of which remain, but there had been “no clear archaeological evidence to back this assumption up” according to BBC.

Lindisfarne is home of the 1,300-year-old Lindisfarne Gospels. Northumberland’s patron saint, St Cuthbert was an abbot of its monastery. Lindisfarne is also famous for its mead, a honey-based liqueur.

The biggest archeological discovery of 2014


turkey.jpgA massive 5,000 year old underground city has been discovered in Turkey by the country’s Housing Development Administration (TOKI), according to reports Sunday.

Erdinç Çelikkan reports on what could potentially be the year’s largest architectural discovery, an underground city located in Turkey’s Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir.

The newly discovered city joins other such ancient cities found in the area, thought his one may end up being the largest of all the cities found so far.

Heritage Center Planned for Cairo


Egypt Construction

Even though Unesco has declined to comment on reports (published in the Egyptian press as well as the Art Newspaper) that it plans to set up a regional center for world heritage in Cairo, the news has been widely reported.  A few months ago Unesco’s director general Irina Bokova discussed establishing such a center in the Egyptian capital with Mohamed Ibrahim, the minister of state for antiquities, during a recent meeting. This was reported at that time by the press and WCHV too.

Specialists at the planned venue would assist in protecting archaeological sites in Africa included on the World Heritage list. African archaeologists would also receive training in conserving and studying artifacts and monuments.