By Coco Shellim
We walked around the British museum today and saw things from as early as 6000 BC. 8000 years ago? Impossible to wrap your head around really.
We saw this mummy. He had broken his ulna (forearm) and they speculated it’s likely that this came from defending his head from a heavy blow. His molars were full of holes from his coarse diet and he had big infected abscesses which were likely to be pretty damn painful.
There was a screen nearby where visitors could interact with his body – spin him around, look from other angle, click and learn more about his body parts etc. But it was surrounded by little children on a school trip answering questions on their school sheets.
It could be any one of us who ends up in a glass case in another 2000 years, with people (or robots?) hazarding guesses as to who we were and how we came to have that fractured shoulder. Maybe by then humans will have learnt how to preserve minds so they won’t have to guess. He was buried along with objects he would need in his afterlife – undoubtedly not knowing his afterlife would invove lying in a glass case in London. It’s a fascinating the amount of effort the Egyptians put into preparing for afterlife, something that has lost it’s importance in Western culture.
Another observation we made was that many of the objects we saw today were so intricate, made with amazing craft and attention to detail and remember that’s when we’re looking at it thousands of years later. Nowadays we live in a throw away generation, where objects last months before being worn out and we’re made to buy another. Apple have mastered that. Things move a lot faster today than they did back in ancient Egypt, things aren’t made to be as durable. We live In a world which is always mass producing for the masses of consumers with an insatiable appetite. Quantity instead of Quality. Or is the quantity killing the quality?
Wondering through the different civilisations and cultures you realise just how much of a cultural influence there is in all the exhibits, that sounds like a very obvious point to make, I know. But I can’t remember the last time I went from looking (or even thinking) about one culture straight on to another and hopped from civilisation to civilisation. Weirdly, I’m finding it difficult to pinpoint the British culture. I don’t mean the British culture concerning how people act (and by that I mean queueing and apologising when someone accidentally stands on your foot on the tube). I mean British culture in the sense of artefacts- how mummies and pyramids are synonymous to Egyptians.
I wonder what will be in our 2000 AD section in the museums, what the audio tours will say. What ‘ancient’ technology will have survived long enough to be exhibited?
The only thing that comes to mind is the Nokia 3310.