Exploring LegacyQuest 2014! Dancing Through the Ages

LegacyQuest large logo blue borderWe’ve reached the final week of our Exploring LegacyQuest series and our featured video is another amazing Honorable Mention from the Morganton Day School in North Carolina. These students danced their way to success with a film that explores the origins of dance and the various styles that have emerged throughout the ages. This lively entry was produced by middle school students Edgar, Caitie, Delaney, Annie Grace and Harrison with the helping hand of their inspirational teacher, Britta Gramer.

These kids had rhythm in their feet and a beat in their soul when they chose the topic of dance for their film. Each student already had some interest in dance and was eager to learn more about the origins and purpose of this artistic form. The video begins in a dance class where the students and their teacher are suddenly transported back through time to discover dance in ancient civilizations all over the world! In ancient Greece they witness the ritual dance in the stomping of the grapes. In ancient India they discover the fascinating Bharatanatyam dance and in Italy they learn about the “beautiful art of ballet.” [1] They arrive safely back in America just in time to uncover how each of these styles influenced our modern style of dance.

These students admit they “love competitions” and wanted to make sure their video was of the highest quality.[2] Taking the viewer on a whirlwind trip through time was certainly a creative and thrilling way to teach the audience about some of the earliest origins of dance. The kids also wanted to make sure they learned a lot through the project. They explained in their feedback essays that they ended up learning not only about history, but also about time management, teamwork, creative writing, critical thinking, film-making and so much more.[3] How’s that for tripping the light fantastic?

Before we glide, leap and twirl into the past, let’s take a moment to learn a bit more about the filmmakers.

Edgar is funny and smart. His hobbies are taekwondo, Clash of Clans (combat/strategy video game), reading, math and computer programming in ActionScript and AppleScript.

Catie loves craft projects and fashion. Her friends would describe her as a bubbly, bright and always happy person. Her hobby is dance, specifically tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, acrobatic and Lindy Hop.

Delaney is bubbly, energetic, happy, funny and smart. Her hobby is dancing and she even does it competitively. Dance is her way of connecting with and releasing her emotions.

Annie Grace is very creative and loves to sing, act and dance. She trains in these three disciplines every single day. She is smart and committed, works hard in school and enjoys learning.

Harrison is hilarious. All of his friends describe him as funny. His hobbies are playing basketball and riding his go-cart. He was glad to have learned more about dance through this project.

[1] Film Essay.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Student Feedback Essays.

AntiquityNOW Celebrates Shark Week!

Strong, agile, mysterious, beautiful, ancient. Sharks have embodied our terrors and captured our imaginations for thousands of years. Today we celebrate and study sharks, even dedicating an entire week of television and social media to these denizens of the deep. Before popular culture caught on to the shark frenzy, however, ancient civilizations revered, respected, feared and even worshipped the shark. Below you’ll find a collection of images showing how some long ago cultures represented this iconic creature.

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Bon Appetit Shark Week! Eat Like the Ancient Shark Callers with Papua New Guinea’s Chicken Pot

Grey Reef Shark off Papua New Guinea. Image courtesy of Marc Tarlock.

Grey Reef Shark off Papua New Guinea. Image courtesy of Marc Tarlock.

In honor of Shark Week we’re bringing you a recipe from the island of Papua New Guinea where people continue to practice the ancient practice of shark calling. The Chicken Pot is a simple dish imbued with the flavors of the islands and reminiscent of the meals the ancient villagers would have eaten. All of the ingredients can be found on the islands and are still eaten today. Before we dig in to a delicious meal, let’s learn more about the shark callers of Papua New Guinea.

According to the archaeological evidence, people arrived in Papua New Guinea approximately 50,000 years ago and began populating various parts of the islands with tribes and clans that developed in complete isolation from one another.[1] The rugged terrain made it nearly impossible for tribes to communicate, so the various peoples developed their own distinct cultures and practices. One of the most isolated areas was the small island that would come to be known as New Ireland. When German colonizers came in the 19th century they found a people with strong religious practices and a deep belief in their traditions. One of the most unusual and fascinating practices was shark calling that grew out of their system of religion. This tradition as well as their spiritual beliefs continue today.


A map showing main towns and volcanoes of New Ireland, Bismarck Archipelago, Papau New Guinea. Image courtesy of Kelisi.

The people of New Ireland practice ancestor worship and believe the spirits of the departed continue to communicate and offer guidance; indeed, the ancestor spirits reside in the nature that surrounds them every day. Their creator Moroa is much like the Judeo-Christian God in that he formed the world and everything in it, including the shark. In fact, the creation legend of Lembe, the shark, is incredibly detailed. Lembe was created before man in a time called “tulait,” the period between the end of the night and the beginning of the new day.[2] The shark’s belly was therefore split into two parts: The left could sense danger and the right would allow the shark to approach a canoe without fear.[3] The legend goes on in great detail and eventually describes how Moroa gave the people the ability to communicate with and ensnare the great Lembe, but only if they followed specific rules, including using a particular handmade noose and subduing the animal by hand when it fought against its entrapment.[4]

Today, shark callers see this tradition as a divine right and are extremely proud that it has not been eradicated by colonization or modernization.[5] They have no fear of the sharks that terrify the rest of us because they believe they can see or sense sharks in advance and are prepared to catch one at any time.[6] To visit one of the villages that practices shark calling is truly to step back in time and find a reverence for an animal that is so misunderstood and underappreciated.

So this Shark Week as we are terrified and delighted by the images on our televisions, pay honor to these kings of the sea and the people of Papua New Guinea who cherish them by cooking up a big Chicken Pot redolent of this island’s special history.

Chicken Pot

*Recipe adapted from http://www.pngbuai.com/600technology/cookery/page41-recipes-png.pdf.


Kokosnuss-Coconut*Ingredient amounts are to be decided based on how many people you would like to feed.

  • Whole chicken cut into serving pieces
  • A bit of oil (olive, vegetable or coconut will work)
  • Kaukau (or sweet potato) cut into bite-sized pieces
  • A bunch of green onions
  • Pumpkin, coarsely chopped
  • Cobs of corn
  • 3 ½ cups of coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry powder to taste


  1. Place chicken in the pot with a little bit of oil.
  2. Chop kaukau (or sweet potato) and place on top of chicken.
  3. Coarsely chop green onion and add to the pot.
  4. Add coarsely chopped pumpkin to the pot.
  5. Peel and break corn to place on top of greens.
  6. Pour coconut milk over the meat and vegetables to cover.
  7. Cover and bring to a boil.
  8. Cook gently for 30-40 minutes.
  9. Add salt and curry powder.
  10. Serve as a meal. You could separate the vegetables and meat for serving and place the liquid in a container to serve as a sauce or soup.

[1] Embassy of Papua New Guinea to the Americas, Washington, DC. (n.d.). Retrieved August 11, 2014.

[2] Eilperin, J. (2011). Demon fish: Travels through the hidden world of sharks. New York: Pantheon Books.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Fleet, J. (2012, August 26). Shark Callers: The Daring Spiritual Practice Of Papua New Guinea (PHOTOS). Retrieved August 11, 2014.

[6] Ibid.

Exploring LegacyQuest 2014! A Modern Retelling of Pandora’s Box

LegacyQuest large logo blue borderThis week we’re featuring another Honorable Mention from The Baldwin School in Pennsylvania. With an in depth retelling of the story of Pandora’s Box and an insightful Q&A to reveal its modern connections, the viewer is treated to a new view of a classic mythological tale. The illuminating film was created by middle school students Rebecca, Menal, Alex, Katrina and Theresa with the help and inspiration of their teacher, Preston Bannard. Continue reading

A Brief History of the Timeless Dilemma of Censorship and America’s Response

Image courtesy of Tyler Menezes on Flickr.

Image courtesy of Tyler Menezes on Flickr.

The life of Socrates is in the hands of 500 reticent jurors. He stands trial for poisoning the minds of Athenian youth and inspiring rebellion with anti-democratic teachings. Silently, the jurors cast their ballots into one of two urns that represent guilt or innocence…

Socrates was found guilty and sentenced to death. Shielding the public from dangerous ideas outweighed one man’s right to free expression on the scales of Athenian justice. Throughout history, society’s weighing of public good against individual rights has shaped the history of censorship. It’s a dilemma both ancient and familiar. Continue reading

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Baking with the Ancient Inca Berry

Uchuva_2005Recently, a remarkable little fruit has been making its way into previously untapped markets. Already popular around the world under various names, the Inca berry is finally popping up on North American shelves. The tiny ancient fruit has been called a superfood and it certainly has the history to prove it. This berry has been providing nutrition to people for centuries. This week’s recipe celebrates the newest name for the Inca berry, the pichuberry, a name meant to conjure up images of Machu Picchu. Read about the history of this wondrous fruit and enjoy a batch of Pichuberry Raspberry Coconut Muffins full of fresh-baked goodness and potent antioxidants! Continue reading

Kids’ Blog! Seeing Ancient Invisible Ink Through Modern Eyes

Image by Noel Hidalgo Tan, Antiquity Publications.

Image by Noel Hidalgo Tan, Antiquity Publications.

Invisible ink, such a simple and yet crafty way to keep secrets. You may know that it was used in wars such as the American Civil War, the American Revolutionary War and both World Wars, but did you know it was being used thousands of years ago by ancient civilizations? In the first century AD, Pliny the Elder wrote in his Natural History, an early encyclopedia, about how the milk of the tithymallus plant could be adapted as an invisible ink. Ovid spoke about secret ink in his Art of Love. Ahmed Qalqashandi, a medieval Egyptian writer and mathematician, described several types of invisible ink.[1] And recently an article published in LiveScience explored a startling new discovery at Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat temple regarding invisible ink.[2] Ancient invisible ink didn’t always start out as invisible and in this case the ancient artists probably had no idea that their stunning works would one day be hidden to the naked eye. Continue reading

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Bottle the Taste of Summer with Dandelion Wine

Dandelion_sunIt’s the height of summer in the northern hemisphere where the lazy sun brings us long, hot days of outdoor activities, friends and family, vacations and lots of relaxation. Today it’s just a weed, but once upon a time nothing said summer like the dandelion and the year’s first batch of dandelion wine. Nowadays, we fight these plants to keep them from invading our perfectly manicured summer lawns, but these tiny pieces of sunshine have been valued by many civilizations since ancient times. This week we’re bringing you a recipe for dandelion wine so you can bottle your own bit of sunshine. But first, let’s find out why the dandelion has been so popular through history and how it lost its status in our modern society. Continue reading