Kids today would probably look at you as if you were from Mars if you asked them to play a game of marbles. Indeed, there is an inverse relationship between the rise of the video game and the fall of marbles as a child’s game of choice. Chances are, if you grew up with a Nintendo controller in your hand, you never had a favorite “shooter” marble in your pocket.
Nevertheless, marbles do show up with some frequency on archaeological sites, both historic and prehistoric, and their presence speaks to not only the enduring popularity of this classic children’s past time game, but to the presence of children themselves, a social group that can easily escape archaeological analysis.
Marbles manufactured in historic times are represented at a number of sites, with an early example made of clay like this one seen here from the Metropolitan Detention Center site in Philadelphia, 36Ph91.