Monday, 15 January 2007

Future archaelogy

To the British Museum for the "Past From Above' exhibition, aerial photography by Georg Gester from archaeological sites around the world.

Incredible to see the obvious things likes monuments and structures, but even more so to see earthworks and man-made landscapes that would otherwise just not register from the ground.

I don't think that any of the sites were younger than 1,ooo years old and it makes me wonder what structures from today will still be visible in 1,ooo years from now. Or maybe more to the point, what would we want to be visible.

For some reason I can't help but think of Bluewater shopping centre at Dartford in Kent. Personally I think it's a monstrosity, but carved as it is out of old gravel pits I'm afraid it will probably leave a permanent scar that will be visible for a long time. And hideous though it is, and much as I hate visiting it, perhaps it is apt that it should endure. It may well be as symbolic of our own consumer society as Stonehenge is of our Bronze Age predecessors.

There is a running joke in archaeology that if we don't know how to interpret something that makes no sense from the perspective of our own world view, we decide that it has 'ritual significance'. Hopefully our decedents will have evolved sufficiently that they decide that shopping was a ritual activity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be ironic and symbolic of our age if Guantanamo bay were one of the things still visible in 1,000 years' time - more ironic still if some poor sods were still imprisoned there . . .