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The knowledge… it dies off.

When we modern folks are confronted with some archaeological find of yet unknown use, sometimes speculations ensue that seem totally plausible and yet can be quite wild. That’s no wonder… knowledge dies out once something is not in use anymore, and that, in the worst case, leaves us guessing wildly on what this or that might have been used for. Or saying “unknown use”. A bit like the children in this video…

I had a lot of fun watching it – and it is amazing, and also sobering, to see how easy it is for totally known and common things to drop out of the experience pool of the next generation. It’s no wonder that we archaeologists sometimes stand in front of some find and really, really don’t have any clue whatsoever at what that might be!

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3 Responses to The knowledge… it dies off.

  1. Fanny says:

    "…a carpet?"

  2. Iðunn says:

    When I got my old record player down from the attic and showed it to my teenage offspring, they said: "WHAT? Only 6 songs on one side? And you had to get up and turn the record over to listen to the other side?? When were you born? In the middle ages?"

    It also reminds me of something I read years ago in a Spin off magazine: a lady was spinning on her spindle. Another lady (not a child!) watched her for a while, and then asked: "Does that thing have a motor?"

    Smiling Iðunn, the living fossil

  3. Anonymous says:

    I wrote my dissertation on a word processor in 2002, storing it on floppy disks as I typed. Later in my job as an archaeologist I was asked why it was that we printed out records and didn't just store them digitally. I answered each time by putting the floppy disk on my desk and asking the latest work-experience student what it was and if they'd ever used one. They didn't know. This was in 2007. Electronic technology becomes obsolete so quickly! But a hardcopy will last.


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