Weekend Reading: Chocolate and Archaeology

This week’s online entertainment has been the controversy dubbed ‘Cadburygate’ or ‘The Freddo Fiasco’. It was prompted by somebody on social media pointing out that Cadbury’s new marketing campaign for the Easter holidays encouraged children to go out and ransack ancient sites around the UK, on the hunt for ‘real treasure’.




Archaeologists responded with fury on social media, pointing out that the looting of ancient sites is against the law, and that in some places metal detectors are illegal without a permit. Others deplored the attitude to ancient sites which still sees them as places to look for valuable treasure, rather than as parts of our history which (even if they don’t contain gold or ‘priceless’ jewels) can have important things to tell us about how people lived.




The outrage of archaeologists soon found its way into the mainstream media, with articles running by Monday in the BBC, the Guardian and the New York Times. By Monday evening, Cadbury had taken down the promotion from its website and promised to alter it, shifting the focus to museum visits instead.

Of course, that wasn’t the end of the debate. People asked whether Cadbury should make up for it in some way; they questioned the UK’s permissive treasure laws; and they remembered the Creme Egg Hunt fiasco of the 1980s. But the crisis seems to have been averted, and we won’t see armies of small children with shovels invading our forts.


Cadbury 3
Helen Forte and Minimus take on Cadbury, via Twitter



Selected Cadbury links

Stupid treasure hunt – BBC 

Cadbury pulls the website – The Guardian 

Summarising ‘Cadburygate’ – Archaeodeath

Reported in the US – The New York Times 

The archaeologists won – The Conversation


In other news

Proving Herodotus right – The Guardian 

Unearthing more of Hadrian’s Wall – Hexham Courant 

‘Watchers’ for Hadrian’s Wall – Independent 

Romans in Cumbria – Cumbria Crack 


Comment and opinion

Plato and The Maze Runner – Fantastiche Antike 

Civilization and culture – Classics at the Intersections 

A history of ghostwriting – History From Below 

‘Dick pics’ on the Wall – The Daily Beast

An open letter on diversity – Medium 

Science and ancient social networks – Wired

Interview with Jason Nethercut – Medium 

Tony Spawforth on Greece and Rome – Philly News

The origins of charity – Aeon 

A history of Hadrian’s Wall – History Extra

Meet Julia Berenice – Bible History Daily 

Sheldon and Aristotle – Neos Kosmos 

‘I can’t believe it’s 3,000-year old butter!’ – Forbes 

Trojan women in Sydney – Neos Kosmos 

Greek tragedy in Germany – The New York Times

The Shield of Achilles – Patheos

Netflix, anime and Greek mythology – Neos Kosmos 

Engraved gems – Christie’s 


Podcasts, video and other media

Caracalla’s reforms – Emperors of Rome

Nostos in the Odyssey – Greek Myth Comix 

Roman baths in Britain – Coffee and Circuses

Pronunciation guide to Homeric names – Emily Wilson


Other stuff

Women’s History Month newsletter – OUP [Scroll down to ‘How Far Are We From A Hot Bath?’ for a free chapter from my sister’s new book.]

…and a blogpost from my sister, Lilah Grace – OUP blog

Fancy attending a workshop on Myth? – The Open University


…and if anyone’s planning on attending the launch event for The Baron Thyssen Centre for the Study of Ancient Material Religion on Monday, I’ll see you there!




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