Crude jungle gym, People’s Park, Berkeley, ca. 1960s
Italian archaeologists unearthed the ruins of a 6th-century BC Greek structure in southern Italy that came with detailed assembly instructions and is being called an “ancient IKEA building”. The structure was a temple-like building discovered at Torre Satriano, near the southern city of Potenza, in Basilicata, a region where local people mingled with Greeks who settled along the southern coast known as Magna Graecia and in Sicily from the 8th century BC onwards. Professor Christopher Smith, director of the British School at Rome, said that the discovery was “the clearest example yet found of mason’s marks of the time. It looks as if someone was instructing others how to mass-produce components and put them together in this way”. Much like the instruction booklets, various sections of the luxury building were inscribed with coded symbols showing how the pieces slotted together. The characteristics of these inscriptions indicate they date back to around the 6th century BC, which tallies with the architectural evidence suggested by the decoration. The building was built by Greek artisans coming from the Spartan colony of Taranto in Apulia.