Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Entertainment center excavated at ancient pottery workshop

ARCHAEOLOGY: Spa and game room — with mancala — found at ancient pottery workshop in Israel. Ancient work and play: With 20 hot and cold baths and a kitted-out break room, a 1,700-year-old ceramics factory near Gedera could teach employee-friendly Google a thing or two (Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel).

I suspect many readers had the same immediate response as mine. What the heck is mancala? It is a game.
Third-century Roman potters were, apparently, early adopters of the elusive work-life balance. At the central Israel town of Gedera, an Israel Antiquities Authority team has uncovered an impressive 20-bath spa and robust game room alongside evidence of 600 years of a massive ceramic industry.

Boards for still-popular games are etched into large stone benches at the 3rd century CE site. Among the game boards, the IAA archaeologists identified mancala, an ancient one- or two-player game using a board and seeds or marbles that is still an international bestseller.

Nowadays you can even play mancala online.

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