Today’s History

At the end of class, Professor Watrall asked us if there was anything left to discover. Unequivocally that answer is yes. There is history being made every day! What we are doing today will impact lives of the future and they will want to know all about it and what got them from where we are today to where we will be in hundreds of years. Future generations from now will wonder how we lived. They will think that flat screen TVs and the AppleWatch are ancient pieces of technology. Lots of our stories will die with us and they might be especially interesting in one hundred years, unbeknownst to us at this time. There are tragedies now that still need to be discovered. The Malaysian Airlines flight for example. We have come close to exhausting all resources looking for the missing flight for the past year and I am not sure what else we can do recover it. The Franklin Expedition’s ship the Erebus was lost in the mid 1840s and was only recently discovered in 2012. That is almost one hundred and seventy years spent undiscovered. In the 1840s did they also ask what else can be discovered? Will it take another one hundred and seventy years to find the lost Malaysian airlines flight? That is what I find so cool about archaeology. When something is discovered there is the sudden moment wondering of how old this could be! Just as finding the Erebus told us about it’s journey and also its demise, finding anything will tell us more than just what kind of object it is. With enough probing and research we can find the date it was made, how things were destroyed and even whose hands it passed through.

In one hundred years, I would love to see the stuff they dig up from our generation. Everything we have now seems as though it will be here forever. But we look back ten years ago and we see so much has changed. From the type of clothing we used to wear to the technology we used. I can’t imagine an archaeologist in 2115 uncovering a plate I ate my waffles on this morning and thinking it is a treasured gem that needs to go into a museum as we think about the pottery shards from ancient villages. It’s weird to think that we will be some distant past that people want to know all about when to us it is everyday reality.

3 thoughts on “Today’s History

  1. I’m with you in that I think this is so interesting to think about. It’s incredible to imagine a future where all the things we now consider modern are historical. What you said about a lot of our stories being lost with us made me think about how our society is so different from past ones. Back in the day, it was common for stories to be passed down from generation to generation in an effort to preserve history. However, now I feel this tradition has essentially been lost. I know that my parents haven’t sat me down to tell me the great stories of our family. It seems as though our grandparents are really the last generation that tried to keep this tradition going with stories of how our families arrived in the Americas. As we move forward in time it seems like each generation is becoming increasingly concerned with the future and failing to recognize the significance of the past. That’s one of the reasons why archaeology and archaeologists are so important. It is one of the few fields that understands how much our past contributes to our future.
    As I was trying to think about what they would be putting in museums in the future to represent our lifetime I was having a hard time. I think that at the current rate were going the things that will be left behind to represent us are landfills, pollution, and technology. Although I think that most of us would like to be remembered for our “innovations in technology” and “globalization” it’s hard to see that happening with all the negative stuff going on. There’s war, tragedy, global warming, and countless other horrible things happening. I think it would be asking a lot of future people to ignore all of that and only focus on the good that we have accomplished.

  2. I feel the same about archeology. I am fascinated by it because I think people are interesting. Learning about history and finding pieces of the past helps us learn about the people before us – how they lived what they accomplished and how they changed over time. Some of this information can be looked at in patterns. Through this semester when we learned about different case studies, we always learned about the timelines. There were many cases where humans across time and space were affected by unforeseen environmental impacts that changed their civilization forever. Another pattern that interests me is greed. It seems like many of these civilizations fell because their political structures were weakened by desire for more power and goods and territory. The wealth became unequally distributed. A third pattern is spiritualism – from the paintings in the forgotten caves to the temples of Egypt, religion is everywhere in history. These patterns can be seen today. It reminds me that humans were always human in nature. There have always been power struggles, greed, religion and love of beautiful things. I also liked learning about the spread of technology and culture. It is fascinating how quickly cultural traditions have traveled and how far-reaching they became. I think this is also due to the fact that all humans share qualities like curiosity and enjoyment of beauty. The advancement of technology stemmed from the human quality of the need to survive. Something else that made me think about patterns in history – people discovering patterns in history. Curiosity about the past has also been around for a long time. People were describing the past before written language was even formed.

  3. What you have written about in your blog post is definitely fascinating to think about! It’s crazy to think about how far we have come as a society, even in the past one hundred years, and humans are still such a young species. I can’t even begin to imagine where we’ll be in the next couple hundred years, or if we’re even still around! Our first flips phones I’m sure most of us had in highschool will probably be looked at as an ancient technology, haha. It’s weird to think about how different everyday life will be in the future from how it is now; such as the clothing we were, religious practices, daily routines, food preparation, medicine, the list goes on. Also, I agree, it would be very interesting to see if archaeologists uncover things such as the Malaysian Airline flight that went missing, amongst other things, down the round during our lifetime. I remember first becoming interested in archaeology when I was younger and reading books from the library or watching History/ Discovery channel documentaries (back when they actually airred documentaries and not just pawn shop or car renovation shows…) and wondering if there was anything left to discover. Obviously there still is a whole lot left to be discovered, and there will always continue to be more, which I think makes archaeology a very interesting field. It’s fascinating to wonder about what other sites are out there still to be discovered, and what they might tell about the past. In addition to ancient cultures and artifacts, what other fossils of unknown species are still yet to be found!

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