Archaeology Today, the respected journal of tomb raiders worldwide, has reported the discovery of what appears to be a very early form of scrapbook.
While Southern Italy today may not be a hub of international scrapbooking, the early Etruscans (a civilization that pre-dates Rome) may well have integrated scrapbooking so deeply into their lives that when the scrapbooking economy failed their civilisation collapsed.
Recent finds include papyrus sheets with etruscan text and adorned with small objects and images that appear to represent people and animals. This confirms an early Etruscan trade with Egypt and the influence of greek and asian culture on Etruscan life.
The sheets were found bound into what can only be described as 'albums' and were carefully stacked on stone shelved in what was thought to be an etruscan family tomb.
Further investigation has revealed a large number of tools also buried in the tomb and the remains in the tomb appeared to be from about seven females aged in their late 20's to early 40's.
Some scientists contend that the site is not a tomb but rather a small workroom that was used for the production of the manuscripts and that an earthquake caused a collapse and landslide that covered the site and the women within until its recent rediscovery.
They claim that this view is supported by the presence of a number of small bowls, originally thought to be funerary offerings but which may have in fact contained small food items, sweetmeats and fried bread and vegetable pieces - the snack foods of etruscan civilization.
Carbon dating of the site indicates that it is contemporary with the time etruscan civilisation began its rapid decline prior to being eclipsed and absorbed into the nascent Roman hegemony.
Speculation has been raised in the past that social activities within the Etruscan civilisation at this time led to a seperation of genders to the point where the population growth stalled and ultimately collapsed.
While research is ongoing scientists are hopeful that they have at last uncovered the primary activity that caused this collapse.