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Knucklebones and Marbles [αστράγαλοι και βώλοι]. Thetis Authentics Ltd., 2012.
thetis.gr (accessed: May 30, 2019)
Reconstructed ancient toys*
Crossover (children 5+, young adults, adults)
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Sonya Nevin, University of Roehampton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thetis Authentics Ltd. (Company)
Thetis Authentics was founded by Dr Eleni Aloupi-Siotis in 1999, replacing the 1994-founded Thetis Hellas archaeological consulting company based in Athens, Greece. Thetis Authentics uses non-invasive techniques to date artefacts and art, mostly for museums and private collections. The company expanded to include the creation of ceramic replicas of ancient artefacts. Dr Aloupi-Siotis holds a PhD in Analytical Chemistry based on research on archaeological ceramics at the Institute of Materials Science (NCSR Demokritos, Athens/University of Ioannina). She taught Archaeometry at the University of Thessaly before going on to work as a forensic expert at the Greek Ministry of Justice’s Court of Appeals, and, then, to found Thetis Hellas.
Official website (accessed: October 30, 2018);
Eleni Aloupi's profile at independent.academia.edu (accessed: October 30, 2018).
Prepared by Sonya Nevin, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
The Thetis Authentics range of puzzles and games are reproductions of sections of ancient vases, recreated on flat ceramic plaques, and, as in this instance, reproductions of ancient games. The Thetis website describes the puzzles as “archaeologically inspired” and as “museum quality ancient ceramic replicas”. In this instance, the set consists of two sets of play things: a set of six ceramic knuckle-bones decorated with a “K”, and a set of six ceramic spheres, decorated with individual swirls or stripes.
The gaming pieces are accompanied by a bilingual information sheet. The sheet gives information on three basic games that can be played with the toys: variations of Astagalismos, in which points are awarded for thrown knucklebones landing on different sides; Artiasmos ("even-odds") a game traditionally played by boys in which opponents challenge each other to guess whether the amount of play pieces concealed in the hand are odd or even; and Pentelitha/pentovola, a game traditionally played by girls in which players toss five pieces into the air and aim to catch as many as possible on the backs of their hands. The information sheet directs people to “see YouTube, Wikipedia” for the full rules of the games and their variants.
This set of games is well-produced with playing pieces that feel nice to handle. There is also something very pleasing about the idea of items for play being directly drawn from the play of children in antiquity, offering haptic connection to the ancient past and reinforcing the concept of a "lived experience" of the ancient past. There is also the potential for connection with other historical periods, as these games persisted in many places and in many ages. So enduring have these games been that children may already know the games or may have parents or grandparents who played them, providing a connection between antiquity and contemporary lived experience or living memory. Thetis prides itself on capturing the essence of past through physical artefacts.
The small font size of the information sheet provided suggests that it is written for adults rather than children. It provides limited information about the games themselves; for example, the guidance on how to play is limited and has no diagrams, and there is no exploration of why some of the games were for girls and others for boys, or of whether that should make any difference to modern players. The invitation to look up the full rules online leaves the onus on the child (or their guardian) to locate suitable or relevant information.
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For more examples, see notion.so (accessed: May 30, 2019).