Who said disposable cups are an invention of our time?
The Minoans, 3,500 years ago, seem to have avoided washing dishes as much as we do in the 21st century. Proof of this are the disposable clay wine cups that have been found in large quantities both in the palace complex of Knossos and in other archaeological sites in Crete.
One of them has been under the spotlight of the international press as it starred in the exhibition at the British Museum under the title "Rubbish and us". "Visitors may be surprised to learn that the idea of disposable products is not an invention of modern consumer society and is found in cultures created thousands of years ago," said British Museum curator Julia Farley. And it makes sense that this position would be surprising, since recycling of raw materials was very common in antiquity, let alone the multiple use of objects. "We hope that this exhibition will encourage visitors to reconsider their relationship with waste now and in the future," said British Museum Director Hartwig Fischer, as the aim of the exhibition is not to incite visitors to guilt, but to devise more creative ways to reduce waste”.
Julia Farley argues: "Garbage is an inevitable byproduct of human existence. We are creatures that use tools and wear clothes. Nothing lasts forever. The balance between consumption and rubbish needs to be reached, but to this day, man has not been able to cope successfully”.
Demonstration of wealth
The elite of Minoan society showed off its wealth and social status by organizing big celebrations. As many people gathered, as is the case today, no one then wanted to wash the dishes. In addition to the fact that it was very convenient to throw away the used utensils, this move also involved a dose of showing off their wealth, as they had to spend a lot of money to produce them".
You might have heard that the “breaking of dishes” is common in Greek celebrations; now it seems that this habit has traveled through millions of years to reach our feasts nowadays.