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.
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.
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.