Thursday, May 31, 2012

Archaeology Smarchaeology!

My nerdy passions don't involve iPhones, droids, space travel, or computer technology: I'm fascinated by the way people lived thousands of years ago, before the industrial revolution, before TV and Internet (yes, Virginia, I indeed grew up when not everyone had cable TV and almost no one had cell phones).

There's a reason I didn't go the archaeology professor route in my life, however: in my experience, some professional academics have a really difficult time admitting they're wrong, and hold on to theories as facts. Theories are theories, not facts. A friend of mine told me once that archaeologists don't say "I don't know what this was or what it was for" when an obscure object is discovered. it likely had ceremonial or religious significance" when the scholar has NO IDEA what it is Also, there's an overwhelming attitude that people from 100 years ago, 500 years, 1000, 5000 years ago were ignorant, less advanced in their thinking, or just downright childish and stupid compared to people living today. I find that condescending and, well, rude, and therefore I'm entertained when articles like this one about ancient sailors hit the news.

Amazingly enough, people were able to navigate without a compass, sextant, radar, or GPS: technology is supposed to help make knowledge easier to access. It doesn't replace the knowledge itself. I wonder just how much of the knowledge humanity had collected over millenia that burned in the Library of Alexandria has never been re-learned?
In 1000 years, people watching history shows will look back on our way of life and shake their heads too, amazed at how horrible our lives were compared to theirs.

I wonder if Internet porn will survive for future generations to label us as perverted deviants? I think so: porn is universal, after all, and at least future archaeologists won't be able to lop off offending body parts if the porn is all digital. If you got that reference you, reader, are just as nerdy as I.

Excellent.

If not: 19th century "archaeologists" excavating in Egypt, Greece and Rome decided all artwork/statues/mosaics/friezes featuring genitalia was "indecent" and systematically chopped off/carved out all penises they could. Why? Because they couldn't offend modern sensibilities with ancient porn, of course. Sad but true.

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