Strata: Portraits of Humanity, Episode 3, “Turkey’s Anatolia” and “English China Shipwreck”

StrataImage-webThis month we’re pleased to bring you Episode 3 of the new video newsmagazine series, Strata:  Portraits of Humanity, produced by AntiquityNOW’s partner, Archaeological Legacy Institute. In this two-part episode we explore the diverse cultural antecedents of the eastern and southeastern Anatolia region in Turkey as well as a 19th century shipwreck in Florida.

Anatolia has great scenic beauty and is an archaeological wonderland with clear traces of many civilizations.  It includes the stunning Mt. Nimrud with its massive burial mound and monumental statues placed at the summit 2000 years ago.  With Anatolia’s heritage claimed by many ancient peoples, the stories in Part 1 of this video weave a diverse human tapestry of connecting cultural threads and multi-layered histories.

In Part 2 we go to an excavation on the far side of the world from Anatolia. We see the 2011 excavations on the English China Shipwreck in Biscayne National Park, Florida, where the crew hope to pinpoint the ship’s date and identity.  The ship appears to have been carrying a load of English ceramics to an unknown colonial destination sometime between 1765 and 1775. See the challenges of underwater archaeology and the great treasures that the seas can hide.

Strata: Portraits of Humanity is a monthly half-hour video series available online and on select cable channels. Strata is a showcase for unique and diverse stories about the world’s cultural heritage. Stories come from across the globe with segments produced by Archaeological Legacy Institute and dozens of producer and distributor partners around the world.

Click on the image below to view the show on The Archaeology Channel and scroll down to see the curriculum developed by AntiquityNOW to accompany “Turkey’s Anatolia” and “English China Shipwreck.”

strata december 2014

*Produced in 2014 by Archaeological Legacy Institute, Copyright 2014 by Archaeological Legacy Institute

Lesson Plan 1

Turkey’s Anatolia


  • hittitesTo introduce students to the concept of cultural heritage and its legacy today
  • To demonstrate to students how ancient people developed cultural identity
  • To help students gain an understanding of how human culture was able to evolve from ancient to modern times through cultural intersections and shared knowledge
  • To bring the ancient Anatolian culture alive for students through a traditional culinary experience


  • To grasp the importance of cultural preservation by appreciating what we learn from ancient endeavor and how it applies today
  • To evaluate and think critically about how civilizations are built upon the ingenuity of those civilizations that preceded them
  • To realize how human intersections can lay mutual claim to lands, and think about the fact that legacies don’t have to belong to one culture
  • To discover how an ancient motif can be circulated as myth, religion and even fact among different cultures in ways that support a cultural worldview

Project Idea #1

  • Concept- Explore the extensive cultural influences in Anatolia
  • Materials- Historical journals, textbooks
  • Activity- Make a timeline (this site has free, interactive and multimedia templates) of the main cultures in Anatolia; for each, list their primary cultural and historical contributions

Project Idea #2

  • Concept- Research Mt. Ararat and its history; discover what is written about Noah’s ark and its relationship to Mt. Ararat
  • Materials- Historical journals, textbooks, religious materials, mythologies
  • Activity- Make a list of the stories from ancient cultures that describe a Great Flood
    • What do these stories have in common?
    • How do they differ?

Project Idea #3

  • Concept- Experience a traditional dessert from Anatolia
  • Materials-See recipe below
  • Activity (WITH ADULT SUPERVISION- Make baklava using the pistachios that are an important product from the Anatolia region. (Recipe here; read about the province of Gaziantep, the center of pistachio production in Turkey, here.)


Lesson Plan 2

English China Shipwreck


  • wreck-145639_640To introduce students to the concept of maritime archaeology
  • To demonstrate how artifacts are gathered
  • To show how archaeologists are like detectives trying to piece together a story
  • To illustrate how research, eyewitness accounts, documents, artifacts and other archaeological techniques contribute to an assembling of facts that can lead to an informed idea of what happened at a site
  • To promote critical thinking about a period of time
  • To promote storytelling and writing skills


  • To discover the field of marine archaeology and learn about the unique challenges facing underwater exploration
  • To understand the importance of nautical history from antiquity to modern times
  • To realize the meticulous inquiry necessary to reach a conclusion or a reasonable hypothesis about an object or situation

Project Idea #1

  • Concept-Learn about shipwrecks across time and cultures and how they reveal their secrets to marine archaeologists
  • Materials- Historical journals, textbooks, videos, maritime materials
  • Group ActivitySplit up in groups and find at least three different videos/photographs on shipwrecks, from ancient to modern times. Share your visuals with the class and report on what you found:
    • The name and geographic location of the ship
    • Its purpose: cargo, passenger, etc.
    • The importance of shipping to the particular culture associated with the shipwreck
    • What the marine archaeologists have discovered so far from the wreck
    • What they hope to discover further about the ship
    • Why each shipwreck is important to history
    • How each ship compares to the others in terms of purpose, construction, reflection of a culture, etc.

Project Idea #2

  • Concept- Research life on a ship at a certain point in history
  • Materials- Historical journals, maritime texts, journals of or about seamen
  • Writing Activity- Write three journal entries (200 words each) as if you were a captain, seaman and cabin boy on a ship. What would your life be like?


Bon Appetit Wednesday! Mix It Up With a Mead Cocktail for the Super Bowl

450px-Swedish_MeadThe Seahawks and Patriots are playing in the National Football League’s Super Bowl XLIX in the United States this Sunday. There’s lots of planning to do before you throw the Super Bowl party of the century. You’re probably stocking up on chips, dip and of course beer, but maybe this year you should consider serving your guests a different libation. We’re bringing you a simple recipe that features what is believed to be the first alcoholic beverage: mead. Surprise your fellow fans with this ancient drink and impress them with a bit of history behind its main ingredient. And just in case you want to prepare for next year’s big game, we’re also providing an easy and delicious recipe for making your own mead. Get started early, though. It takes about six months to mature. Continue reading

Did You Hear the News About AntiquityNOW?

AN News GreyquillIn today’s busy society, with so many outlets vying for our attention, it can be difficult to catch every blog post, read every social media update and discover every new and useful resource. We know you’re probably juggling many things at once, so we’re making it easier for you to keep up with AntiquityNOW. Subscribe to our quarterly email newsletter and occasional updates and you’ll never miss another insightful blog post, new curriculum for the classroom, free bookmark, cookbook or any of our other free resources. The newsletter will recap the most popular posts from the past quarter as well as update you on our new projects. We’re not going to pepper your inbox with emails. You’ll get all of the most important details in an easy-to-read format that comes just a few times a year.

Check out our first quarterly newsletter of the year here and visit our Newsletter Archive to view past issues. The newsletter is easy to send along to your friends or share on social media so your colleagues have a chance to sign up and receive updates as well.

We are doing exciting things in 2015 and we want you to know all about them!

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Bon Appetit Wednesday! Ancient Magical Kefir

Image courtesy of Yuriybrisk on Wikimedia Commons.

Image courtesy of Yuriybrisk on Wikimedia Commons.

We’ve written before about the benefits of looking to our past for nutritious foods. Many ancient cultures thrived in part because of the healthy, natural staples in their diets such as amaranth and quinoa in Mesoamerica, the adzuki bean in Japan and seaweed in Asia and the British Isles. Today, we’re bringing you a recipe for a delicious smoothie that features an ancient ingredient called kefir. It’s the perfect nutrient-packed start to your morning. Continue reading

Final Call for Entries for LegacyQuest 2015

LegacyQuest large logo blue border

LQ collageIt’s not too late to bring history to life! Submit your video showing how the past has resonance today. Join in our international film festival for tweens!

Final videos due February 27, 2015


In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin_Luther_King,_Jr. copy

Tattoos and the Body as Canvas: Erasing the Past With Modern Tattoos

basma-hameed-before-after-cosmetic-tattooWe’ve written before about tattoos in our post Tattoos and the Body as Canvas. How from ancient times people have etched into flesh the story of their lives.  From designs that heighten beauty, signify status, show affiliation or even scourge a social outcast, tattoos have always been about designations. Indeed, our body as canvas is at once both intimate and public. For some, tattoos depict their innermost beings for the world to see.  For others, particularly when used to announce a person’s outlier status in society, tattoos are meant to be felt as a visceral destruction of self. Continue reading

Bon Appetit Wednesday! West African Jollof Rice

Jollof_riceIt’s an explosion of flavors, a mingling of ingredients, that creates a perfect symphony of taste. Jollof rice, or “one pot” in the Jolof language, is thought to be the original dish behind the Cajun favorite called jambalaya.[1] Jollof rice can be found in all corners of West Africa, with different regions claiming their own recipes. Each variation boasts a history with roots as deep as the culture in which it originally made its appearance. But to tell the true tale of jollof rice is to tell the story of the Wolof tribe. Continue reading

Ancient Egyptian Blue: How the World’s First Synthetic Pigment Is Producing Tomorrow’s Brave—and Colorful–New World

color paletteHave you ever noticed that the AntiquityNOW website has splashes of a particular set of vibrant colors? Perhaps you’ve even found the Our Colors section on our site that reveals the ancient history behind our beauteous array. One color, specifically the deep blue, is particularly intriguing with its 4,500-year-old past, its surprising relevance for today’s scientific inquiry and its future promise for such fields as medicine and communications technology. Continue reading

The Fable of “The Sheep and the Horses”: Take a Listen to the 6,000-Year-Old Language of Our Ancestors

th21-630-istock-language-dictionary-learn-book-630wUPDATE! This post was originally published on February 25, 2014.  The post below reveals the amazing technology that is helping linguists rediscover languages from our past that were lost long ago. Specifically, it discusses the discovery of a Proto-Indo-European language that was spoken over 6,000 years ago. Today’s update is about saving a language before it becomes extinct. Some young people in Louisiana, United States, are fighting to preserve the language of their people, a little known Native American tribe called the Houma. Continue reading