Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Preserve Our History

Leaving Something for the Archaeologists of the Future to Find
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3,000 years from now, recorded history may well be destroyed in some way we never imagined; like a freak farm machinery accident or intense sun spot activity or perhaps roving bands of vicious feral weenie dogs. It will be up to archaeologists, digging our civilization out of the sand, to try to piece together how we lived.

It is a well known fact that practically all forms of architecture eventually degrade into their component parts, returning to dust. The notable exceptions are stone or pottery. The same is true with recording media; the only recording media that has withstood the test of time is engraved in stone or pottery.

This method of historical preservation has proven itself in many diverse locations around the world, such as the Mayan and Incan civilizations in South America, early Egyptian, Stonehenge in England, the mysterious stone heads of Easter Island, etc. Of these, we know the most about the early Egyptian culture simply because they left behind hieroglyphs that describe many different aspects of their culture. We can't make the same claims about the Mayan or Incan civilizations; their people simply vanished. They very well may have left a note on the door explaining how they had to step out for more dish soap --- we just don't know.

I propose we immediately begin creating chards of pottery with hieroglyphs engraved on them. We can place them in what should be obvious locations thousands of years from now. Petroglyphs chiseled into rock formations may also be useful in cataloging our various ways of life and assorted excesses. These permanent records will prevail through the centuries (and subsequent nuclear holocausts and weenie dog attacks) and assure our history is properly recorded.

Grogster, Jul 02 2010

We're not doing this already? http://www.zazzle.com/etsy+mugs
[mouseposture, Jul 02 2010]

Hieroglyphs 101 http://www.floating....org/egyptspeak.htm
But what is the hieroglyph for We Sucked Our Fuel Out of the Ground [Grogster, Jul 02 2010]

Athenian potsherds http://books.google...v=onepage&q&f=false
[mouseposture, Jul 02 2010]

Rosetta Cemetery Rosetta_20Cemetery
[theircompetitor, May 21 2011]


       Let's send a time capsule into orbit around the Sun. We can time it so that it returns to Earth in a couple thousand years.
DrWorm, Jul 02 2010

       [MP], you betcha we have all kinds of decorated cups, but you won't find too many that are etched or chiseled... and anyway, future archaeologists won't gain much insight about our ancient culture by examining a cup that asks "Who Farted?"
Grogster, Jul 02 2010

       //Who Farted?// To the contrary, that's exactly the sort of thing that archaeologists do find on potsherds, and from which they gain insight into a culture. See, for example, <link> the paragraph beginning "One of the very earliest uses..." on page 5.
mouseposture, Jul 02 2010

       HA!!! OK, [MP] point well taken. Those guys would have been the graffiti artists decorating rail cars if they had them back then...
Grogster, Jul 02 2010

       Take the contents of the Wayback Machine and engrave them onto stone tablets?
Cedar Park, Jul 02 2010

       Yes, [CP], as well as the schematics, dimensions, and Complaint Department Logbook entries...
Grogster, Jul 02 2010

       We are already leaving something for future archaeologists to find - carefully packaged, sealed and buried nuclear waste.
hippo, Jul 02 2010

       Nuclear waste, {hippo]?!?! Good heavens, that may be the next great source of energy... Eons of years from now what is buried in Yucca Mountain, Nevada may very well be located in the Gulf of Mexico due to continental drift. Drilling rigs will be placed all over the Gulf to fetch the highly valuable product from thousands of feet below the surface! Dang, I'm feeling warm all over. What could possibly go wrong?
Grogster, Jul 02 2010

       I ponder the disappearances of cultures from time to time. It does seem that stone is the only reliable way to tell, although I think newcomer plastic may give stone a good fight. Enitre fairly advanced preindustrial cultures have vanished over the course of a few hundred years: examples are the Mound Builders in central North America (although they left mounds, a giveaway, and Desoto saw and coughed on them right before they disappeared). The Amazonian culture that laid down the terra preta is another.   

       I wonder about the original Australian colonists. It seems to me they must have been seafarers to rival the Polynesians, but 45,000 years earlier. I have to think a culture capable of making such boats would leave other traces, but 45,000 years is a long time and the Pacific is hot and stuff rots.   

       I think it would be neat to look at the map and figure out places where emigrating shipbuilders would stop to build. Ideally places that have not been much used by subsequent shipbuilding cultures, which narrows the search. Torres islands? Andamans? Then dredge and sift. No wood ship would last 45,000 years in salt water but stone fittings might still be down there. One could pilot the approach with ancient Polynesian sites, which have the benefit of less ancientness and so less depth of dredge.
bungston, Jul 02 2010

       I wanna see Planet of the Apes redone with weenie dogs in charge.
RayfordSteele, Apr 12 2011

       It must include the full HB archives, of course. How else can we show our descendants the very finest scientific and creative thinking of this era?
Alterother, May 21 2011

       So what are time capsules? Samey-schmamey.   

       Apart from that, it's definitely not just pot sherds and writing that tell archaeologists about the habits of bygone peoples. I've worked on digs for a decade and it's the organic remains that are always a cause of orgasmic excitement (you get your kicks where you can).   

       And why bloody hieroglyphs anyway? If you want future archaeologists to understand what you wanted to tell them, write it in as many common languages as possible and use loads of pictures too. Like they do with space probes.
squeak, May 21 2011


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