Visual Archaeology Interpretation



Creation Myth Gantjes

[The heavens are] the most neutral space--no nations lay claim to the heavens--[they are] undefined without top, bottom and sides and are accessible to every human being.
- Gavin Jantjes, 1996

Grade Level 3-6
Art • Language Arts

Myths and folktales are the world's oldest stories. People have told myths and folktales since language was created, keeping them alive and vital through the centuries by word of mouth. Myths and folktales are important in every world culture. A society without stories about its beginnings, its heroes, and its deepest values is like a person without a name, a family without roots. A myth is an anonymous, traditional story that explains a belief, a custom, or a mysterious natural phenomenon. The word myth comes from the Greek word muthos, which simply means "story." Myths had specific purposes in their cultures. In every culture, however, the main functions of myths were:

To explain the creation of the world and the universe.
To explain the human condition: how and why people were created, why they are flawed, why there is suffering in the world, why people must eventually die, and what happens to people after death.
To explain natural phenomena, such as the setting of the sun and the phases of the moon.
To explain the nature of gods and goddesses and how these deities and humans interact.
To explain rituals, customs, and beliefs.
To explain historical events.
To teach moral lessons.

Tales of the hero and the heroic quest occur in nearly every world culture. If we look closely at the hero tales from all over the world and compare them, we find what the American mythologist Joseph Campbell called the mono-myth - literally, “the one story.” This mono-myth, or archetypal heroic quest story, has remarkably the same structure from culture to culture, but is really the same hero underneath, facing the same kinds of challenges. Today, movie heroes Luke Skywalker and Indiana Jones serve as modern versions of the quest hero.

Creation Myths

Gavin Jantjes Mythology Paintings

World Monuments Fund List of Most Endangered Sites

Creation Myth Lesson Plan


Creation Myths


















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Copyright ©2004 Linda Kreft