AntiquityNOW Wishes You a Happy and Safe Fourth of July!

fourth fireworksPlanning on enjoying fireworks? Read our blog post, “The History of Fireworks: Celebrating Life’s Moments in Color, Light and Sound,” to learn more about the history of fireworks!

Or, if you have kids or students, check out our annotated Kids’ Blog, “Boom! Pow! Whizzz!: The History of Fireworks,” packed with fun facts and great activities!

Bon Appetit Wednesday! A Roman Pig, Hot Dogs, Eating Contests and Four Patriots: Happy July 4th

hot dog grill'This weekend on July 4th, the United States celebrates its independence. There are pool parties, picnics, concerts in the park, fireworks and most importantly, food! Perhaps the most ubiquitous food on the fourth is the hotdog. Chicago-style, New York-style or just backyard cookout style, the hotdog takes the spotlight. And we aren’t content with eating just one hotdog, we have entire eating contests. Today, we’re bringing you a delicious recipe for a hotdog dish that you can serve for Independence Day breakfast, lunch or dinner. First, let’s learn a bit about the history of the hotdog and the eating contests that bring us together during this celebration.

The story of the hot dog begins with the story of the sausage, and the story of the sausage is ancient. Historians believe the first sausage was made during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero (54-68 CE), when his cook Gaius discovered the process by accident. It was customary to starve a pig for one week before it was slaughtered and roasted. On one occasion, Gaius noticed that a pig had been roasted, but not cleaned. When he pulled out the intestines, they were empty from the starvation diet and also puffed up from the heat. He realized he could fill them with meats, spices and wheat to make a whole new dish. Thus, the very first sausage was stuffed and linked.[1]

Of course, once something was popular in Rome, it generally made its way around the world as the Romans expanded the empire. Sausages took hold in Germany where cooks began making numerous varieties in all shapes and sizes. Eventually, centuries later, the frankfurter was born. There is some dispute over where and when the first frank was actually created. Although its origin is traditionally credited to Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany sometime around 1487, the towns of Coburg and Vienna in Germany have also claimed to be the originators of the dog.[2] Regardless of who actually brought the hot dog into the world, we know it came to the New World with European immigrants who sold them from food carts in big cities. German immigrants in particular helped to make the combination of hot dog and bun popular, thus making the taste sensation we know today and conferring the dog with a new portability. In 1893, hot dogs made their debut in ballparks around the U.S. and became a staple in the world of baseball. As the standard food of America’s favorite pastime, it isn’t surprising that the hot dog quickly became one of America’s favorite snacks.

eating contestIf one hot dog is good, certainly a whole plate of them is even better! And so, we have hot dog eating contests. Surprisingly, these contests are more ancient than the hot dogs themselves. Ancient Norse mythology tells of an eating contest between the god Loki and one of his servants named Logi. The two began eating their respective plates of meat and when they met in the middle, having both eaten all of their meat, it was discovered that Logi had also eaten the bones and the actual plate under the meat. Logi was declared the triumphant winner.[3] (And let’s also give him his due for cleaning up after himself.)

While we have many different modern eating contests, the fourth of July is dominated by one single competition: Nathan’s Famous Hot dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in New York. First held in 1916, in was started according to gastronomic lore when “four immigrants competed to determine who was the most patriotic (the Irishman won with 13).”[4] Who knew that hot dogs were delicious and patriotic?

So this weekend, whether you’re joining the masses at Coney Island or having your own contest in the backyard, make sure you grill up some hot dogs and celebrate not only the history of the United States, but also some ancient world history!

Click here to get the latest information on the 2015 World-Famous Nathan’s International Hot Dog Eating Contest and to check out the Hall of Famers for the last 42 years.

Hot Dog in the Hole

*Recipe courtesy of MyRecipes

Serves 3


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 (6-inch) hot dogs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup prepared cheese sauce, warmed


1. Arrange oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F

2. Brush oil onto bottom and up sides of an 8-inch baking dish to thoroughly coat inside dish. Arrange cut-up pieces of hot dog in dish and bake for 5 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, milk, egg and 2 tbsp. water; season with salt and pepper and stir thoroughly. Beat using an electric hand mixer or whisk until mixture is completely smooth.

4. Carefully remove hot dish of hot dogs from oven and pour egg batter on top. Bake for 30 minutes, until puffed and golden brown around edges. Divide into equal portions and serve with warm cheese sauce.

[1] The Origin of Competitive Eating Contests. (2014, June 10). Retrieved June 27, 2015, from
[2] Suddath, C. (2008, July 3). A Brief History Of Competitive Eating. Retrieved June 27, 2015, from,8599,1820052,00.html
[3] Ibid.

“Is it Time to Rethink Our Ideas About Preserving World Heritage?” A Provocative Question in Dire Times

AN Forum

The Financial Times’ recent article, “Is It Time to Rethink Our Ideas About Preserving World Heritage?” by Jonathan Foyle, explores whether in the face of the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage from natural disasters and “human aggression, theft and errors of judgment,” new ways of preserving our heritage should be sought.

heritage“It is clear we cannot save everything we’d like to, for all time,” Foyle observes. While poorer countries face numerous obstacles to preservation, including calamitous human needs, even for wealthier countries “(p)reservation is too great a burden….” This sad but true reality begs the question, “What to do”? Surely we cannot simply throw our hands in the air and give up, but can we instead turn to modern technology for options? Foyle posits we can and lists three accepted “strategic approaches” to the “new preservation”:

  • The use of archaeological technology in still-accessible areas to record monuments in high resolution.
  • Since modern construction methods have replaced many traditional skills, the development of an international ethos of craft and design skills to reinstate those traditions.
  • The reduction of the economic benefits of looting by better policing of the international antiquities market.

Of course, there are compromises to be made. In the case of the first approach, Larry Rothfield, associate professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago and co-founder of The Cultural Policy Center, says in his blog post on Foyle’s article that when we lose the items themselves and are left with “mere records” we lose not only “the materiality of the things but the knowledge that materiality may hold”.[1] While a copy is certainly better than nothing at all, it simply does not hold the same value as the real thing.

Foyle’s article elucidates much of what is going on today and how far we’ve come in capturing our past. With modern technology moving forward by leaps and bounds, preservationists are taking advantage of advances in 3D printing, laser surveying, high resolution scanning and more to preserve whatever information possible before it is lost forever. Hopefully, the information gathered from these technologies can be used in concert with the actual artifacts, but if not, at least there is something to study and keep, so the thinking goes.

As for Foyle’s second approach, it is important to preserve the ancient skills and traditions that make up the fabric of who we are. Education is key to bringing up younger generations that value the history and the paths we have walked to get where we are today. Each time we lose an ancient craft or a traditional technique, we lose a piece to our past and potentially a key to our future. And let’s not forget what these traditional skills bring to the individual and the community. There is a psychological and social bond in crafting something, both with the medium of the object and the communal embrace of its value.  Technology has a great capacity to conserve time, energy and resources. But human connections as celebrated and embedded in traditions have profound resonance in the psyche of a society.

The third approach may be the most controversial and complex of all. The policing of the antiquities market is and has been a topic for heated debate. How to police, whom to police and how to pay for illicit trade interventions are questions constantly being tackled by governments, private organizations and nonprofit groups. Foyle points out the many important initiatives taking place on this front. Many more are being launched in an effort to stem the loss of heritage via the antiquities black market.  Rothfield has also been contemplating this issue: “The funding solution, as I have suggested in the past, is to tax the higher-end licit antiquities market, with proceeds going into a fund for international heritage protection.”[2]

Perhaps the most important point Foyle makes in the article is in his closing. He says we must support those who are living and working in these areas of destruction, fighting each day to preserve their own heritage.

This is a crucial point, and one that does have some solutions.  AntiquityNOW is dedicated to promoting awareness of our global heritage. We encourage efforts that can further this awareness and change behaviors, including:

  • Developing cultural heritage and preservation curricula for schools in order to expose students, and by association their families, to the importance of their past and the vigilance needed to protect it
  • Educating the local populations of the economic value that accrues through tourism in order to encourage protection of ancient sites and reduce looting
  • Creating jobs by resurrecting traditional arts and crafts

We are all players in this ongoing game of greed, ideology and destruction. But the primary players are those who will be standing when the rubble of ISIS, earthquakes, war and devastation clear. They seek a valorous win for their own heritage and that of our global family. We can do nothing less than give them our full backing and gratitude.

Read Joseph Foyle’s fascinating article here and don’t miss Larry Rothfield’s insightful response on his blog, The Punching Bag.

[1] Rothfield, L. (2015, May 23). The Punching Bag. Retrieved June 2, 2015, from

[2] Ibid.

Strata: Portraits of Humanity, Episode 8, “Betty’s Hope”

StrataImage-web“Betty’s Hope,” the latest entry in the video news-magazine series Strata: Portraits of Humanity, produced by AntiquityNOW’s partner, Archaeological Legacy Institute, considers what we learn about past lives when we peel back the layers of history.

Sugar plantations were incredibly important to the New World’s trade and expansion, and gave rise to certain political, social and economic institutions that we may find unusual or even repulsive today. The Caribbean island of Antigua sat at the crossroads of the first transatlantic economy.  This documentary is about how a sugar plantation, called Betty’s Hope, was started in 1650 during colonial rule and gave many Antiguans economic support.  This plantation was owned by Sir Christopher Codrington, the governor of the Leeward Islands, and lasted from 1674 to 1944.  Today, the plantation is no longer operational and archaeologists use meticulous methods to uncover stories that would otherwise be silent forever.

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 program on The Archaeology Channel and scroll down to see the curriculum developed by AntiquityNOW to accompany this episode’s video.

Strata - May 2015

*Produced in 2015 by Archaeological Legacy Institute. Copyright 2015 by Archaeological Legacy Institute.

Lesson Plan


  • To introduce students to the concept of heritage  as it affected different cultures
  • To think about the different ways we identify who we are and where we belong
  • To learn how archaeologists used specific tools and procedures to uncover the stories of how people lived


  • To grasp how different influences on a culture and a people can change the course of their history
  • To appreciate that archaeology is as much about learning how people lived as it is about the value of discovered artifacts

Project Idea #1

  • Research why as described in the video the English discovering Antigua was a “clash of the New World and the Old World.” What were the differences between the two?
  • Research why with the introduction of sugar cane in Antigua “everything change(d).” How did life change for the Antiguans? For the English colonists?
  • Discuss what you learned with your classmates.
  • Write a story as if you are a 70 year-old grandmother or grandfather who was born in Antigua.  Compare your life as a child before the British came and created Betty’s Hope, and the lives your grandchildren now have living on a sugar plantation.

Project Idea #2

  • Why are archaeologists so careful in their excavations? What would happen if you came across a piece of pottery and picked it up? Or what if you dropped a candy wrapper in a site, and it was dug up 100 years from now? Explain the concept of context when it comes to artifacts.
  • Unscramble the following words:

tfis – what archaeologists do with large screens

ppminag – how a site is plotted

rtultaaan – what you have to look out for in Antiqua

llrowtengi – gently scraping dirt from a surface

facartti – an object used by people; for archaeologists, items that tell stories of how people lived

lanpnttaio – a large farm or estate

sylarve – the institution that made many farms profitable during the 18th and 19th centuries in the Americas

etxcaaev – to uncover or dig


Bon Appetit Wednesday! National Dairy Month

800px-Egyptian_Domesticated_AnimalsIt’s National Dairy Month in the United States and since the use of dairy in food has a long and rich history throughout antiquity, we thought we’d bring you a recap of some delicious and nutritious ways that ancient civilizations got things cookin’ with dairy! Continue reading

The Slavery Project Part 1: In the Eye of the Beholder

Roman collared slaves. Marble relief, from Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey), 200 CE. Collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England.

Roman collared slaves. Marble relief, from Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey), 200 CE.
Collection of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England.

Slavery has been part of the human condition for centuries.  Although largely outlawed in modern times, human bondage still exists today in various forms, including sexual trafficking, domestic servitude and illegal work conditions. Why has slavery been an accepted part of numerous civilizations through time? Why does slavery continue to exist today in various forms around the world? Continue reading

Bon Appetit Wednesday! The Magic of Ancient Turmeric

turmericIf you love curry, you’ve undoubtedly tasted turmeric and loved its unique, taste-infused flavor. However, you may not know much about this amazing spice. Well it’s time to change that and become familiar with an ancient ingredient that possesses incredible healing properties. Today’s recipe is for Turmeric “Golden Milk,” an extremely simple but fantastically powerful drink. Also, it’s National Dairy Month in the United States, so you can celebrate the goodness of dairy while enjoying the health benefits of turmeric. Continue reading

AntiquityNOW Presents: Fact or Fiction? Fish Sauce Doughnuts

Fact or Fiction curly and roundWe at AntiquityNOW love to be surprised, and what better way to be so than to take a walk through history. History is the ultimate trickster, turning what we think we know around at every opportunity. What really happened eons ago? Finding out can be befuddling, baffling, shocking and soooo amusing. So in that spirit of amusement and befuddlement, we announce our whenever-we-feel-like-posting-it new blog series, AntiquityNOW’s Fact or Fiction. Buckle up. It’s going to be quite a ride.

hot apple cider dougnutsLast week was National Doughnut Day and we don’t think it’s too late to celebrate. Did you know that doughnuts can be traced back to a Greco-Roman treat of fried dough coated in fish sauce?

Fact or Fiction?


*Click here to read even more about the history of doughnuts!

The Rose in History: Power, Beauty and the Sweet Smell of Success

June is National Rose Month, so we thought we would pay homage to this lovely flower. Roses have a storied and ancient history. Their delicate petals, their splendiferous hues, their enticing fragrances and their visual presence has inspired civilizations from time immemorial. Roses have been around for some 35 million years and evidence of their past glories have been found in the far reaches of the ancient world. Let’s explore their history further as we take a walk through the beauteous Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, where the ancient and modern find common blooming rights. To make your stroll even more memorable, steep some rose hips tea, sit back and relax to the sumptuous tones of Enya’s China Roses. Continue reading

Bon Appetit Wednesday! National Herbs and Spices Day

Herbs and Spices HolidayToday is National Herbs and Spices Day! We thought it would be the perfect time to remind you of some ingenious and delicious ways the ancients made use of herbs and spices. Not only did they season their food, they also used these ingredients medicinally. Explore below the recipes along with their fascinating histories that have tickled the palate and nurtured the species through the millennia: Continue reading