The other day, or more accurately, one of the other trillions of days (how dare I single out that particular day as THE other day. Sorry other days!), a friend of mine suggested that I write a blog post about Archaeology. As you might have guessed, this is that post. This wasn’t just a really weird topic to suggest as I hold a vested interest in it and am aiming to study it at university in the future. I thought this was a fairly good idea, so here I am, writing a post tangentially about archaeology, although by the time you’re reading this I’ll have written it. Maybe by then (now) I’ll be writing a new post, about a current event that’s yet to happen. Maybe Sir Bruce Forsyth will take to ‘twerking’ on Strictly come dancing and people will begin to warm to the dance. I could definitely write a post about that.
I might’ve deviated a bit there, maybe repeated myself too, but at least I didn’t hesitate. Now, back to archaeology. Or maybe we should go forward to archaeology. In, say, 1246 years’ time, what conclusions will contemporary archaeologists be drawing about our quaint little society? Let us focus on one particular future archaeologist. His name might be Wilberforce. For now, we’ll assume it is.
Wilberforce has just recently graduated from studying archaeology at Piddington University. In case you don’t know, Piddington is the Cambridge of Islandonia (formerly England, they’re much less inventive with names in the future) and thusly renowned as the second most prestigious educational institute in the world. Wilberforce’s former lecturer has invited him to come and dig a site that is believed to have been a school in days gone by. There’d be lots of exciting artefacts to find in a school. Imagine his excitement when his trowel hits metal and he brings up from the rubble a perfectly preserved Bunsen burner. Oh the magical possibilities of what this mysterious artefact could’ve been used for! Was it for cooking? Destructive purposes? Powering homunculi’s tiny hot air balloons? He may never consider the possibility that it was used only for heating up water to see if steam makes a particular substance change colour. How dull the truths of history!
Perhaps that’ll be the first Bunsen burner they find, and it’ll be equivalent in scale to the discovery of Richard III under a car park in Leicester. Clearly, in the absence of monarchs to dig up, the next most exciting thing is a Bunsen burner.
Everyone knows that the English monarchy collapsed in 2067 when it was discovered that H.G. Wells had subtly included instructions for a working time machine in his book War of the Worlds. You’d have thought it would have been in The Time Machine really. That’s why it took so long to find it out, he was a sneaky one, that Wells. Anyway, the inventor of the Wellsian Time machine brought Lenin in to lead the revolution against King George Alexander Louis (I don’t know why he insisted on using his full name, maybe he got too much unwarranted media attention as a baby). It was nice for Lenin to be able to lead a new revolution on the 150th anniversary of his first one. I imagine there’d have been street parties to celebrate, an ironic throwback to the days when people would throw street parties to celebrate the marriage of two people they’d never met and who couldn’t care less about their lives. And then the world as we knew it changed. Bunsen burners were as newsworthy as kings, and the X Factor was finally cancelled. There’s a world I’d like to see.
I do wonder why though, despite all the new and unimaginable technology they’ll likely have by then, archaeologists are still just using trowels.