Yesterday I finally went to see the exhibition Ritual and Memory: The Ancient Balkans and Beyond at NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. Great stuff as always, and it was especially wonderful to see the Borovo rhyta. But perhaps the most startling revelation the exhibition has to offer is that professional wrestling was invented in Serbia in the early fifth century BCE, as attested by this championship belt from Vinča:
The belt looked too small to fit me, so I imagine the pro wrestlers of yesteryear were rather petite compared to modern man-mountains like Hulk Hogan and the late great André the Giant. (It should be clear from this post that my knowledge of professional wrestling peters out around 1990, when I turned seven.) All that remains to confirm this remarkable discovery would be for archaeologists to unearth the first folding metal chair.