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Monday, August 18, 2008

What will we find and why?

Luke Slattery's article In search of Western Civilization's lost classics in the Aug. 6, 2008 edition of The Australian isn't just interesting for its discussion of the latest techniques that allow us to read charred papyri, but for addressing the question of why we go to all this trouble. Why archeology? Why conservation? Why study? Why write history?

And what does this have to do with maritime history?

Consider that these texts may hold a copy of the Kypria, which is believed to be Homer's source material, as well as many other highly influential lost texts, which have shaped our ideas of not only who we were, but who we are.

Our sense of our history influences our concepts of ourselves, but we often forget that history is not fixed--it is written based on what is available. And occasionally we are lucky enough to recover objects from our past that allow us to rewrite our history and change our concepts of ourselves.


Buck said...

This might be one of the finest, most concise descriptions of why history is important I've ever read. Kudos!

Heather said...

Thank you so much, Buck. It's very kind of you to say so!