These just-unearthed ancient tablets show how little has changed in 2,000 years.

The most fascinating part of the 405 ancient Roman tablets recently unearthed in London is what's written on them.

Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images.


They're not filled with abstract philosophy. Or enigmatic paeans to long-forgotten gods. Or even soul-deep wisdom of the ages.

Archeologist Luisa Duarte displays one of the tablets. Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images.

They're filled with things like business advice, IOUs, and even a schoolchild's writing practice.

Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images.

Oh yeah, and they include the oldest-ever written reference to the city of London.

Jolly old London. Photo by Colin/Wikimedia Commons.

The tablets were found almost by accident during an archeological survey to prepare for the construction of Bloomberg's new headquarters in Europe.

"I’ve been digging around in London for years and never quite imagined that in the late 1st century, there was a community of people who are very much like us," Sophie Jackson, the manager of the dig project, told New Scientist.

The reference to London was made sometime between 65 and 80 A.D., 40 years earlier than the city's previously known first written mention.

A model of Roman-era London. Photo by Stephen G. Johnson/Wikimedia Commons.

The inscription reads: "In London, to Mongontius" and is believed to be the beginning of a letter written by someone in the upstart city to an acquaintance elsewhere in the empire.

The tablets also contain writing like this:

"...because they are boasting through the whole market that you have lent them money. Therefore, I ask you in your own interest to not appear shabby. You will not thus favour your own affairs..."

In which someone is basically telling their buddy to dress like the big shot they've made themselves out to be.

And this:

"...I ask you by bread and salt that you send as soon as possible the 26 denarii in victoiriati and the 10 denarii of Paterio..."

In which someone invokes the time-honored tradition of hitting up a rich friend for money.

The tablets are incredible evidence that people 2,000 years ago lived in ways we can recognize today.

Painting by Gustave Boulanger/The Hermitage/Wikimedia Commons.

Two centuries ago, people weren't all sitting around writing impenetrable political treatises, fighting mummies, or speaking in obtuse, poetic dialects (though some, thankfully, did).

Like people today, they started businesses, they owed people money — and tried to get out of paying them back — and their children struggled to learn to read.

In that sense, the tablets are kind of soul-deep wisdom of the ages.

Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images.

Technology advances. Cities transform. Empires rise and fall.

But through it all, we've always been human.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
True

This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

Keep Reading Show less
Canva

Dr. David McPhee offers advice for talking to someone living in a different time in their head.

Few things are more difficult than watching a loved one's grip on reality slipping away. Dementia can be brutal for families and caregivers, and knowing how to handle the various stages can be tricky to figure out.

The Alzheimer's Association offers tips for communicating in the early, middle and late stages of the disease, as dementia manifests differently as the disease progresses. The Family Caregiver Alliance also offers advice for talking to someone with various forms and phases of dementia. Some communication tips deal with confusion, agitation and other challenging behaviors that can come along with losing one's memory, and those tips are incredibly important. But what about when the person is seemingly living in a different time, immersed in their memories of the past, unaware of what has happened since then?

Psychologist David McPhee shared some advice with a person on Quora who asked, "How do I answer my dad with dementia when he talks about his mom and dad being alive? Do I go along with it or tell him they have passed away?"

McPhee wrote:

Keep Reading Show less