Monday, June 7, 2010

Depth of Field

Short post today, in honor of my weather-induced headache.

At one point, I had wanted to become an anthropologist; however, that desire was put to rest years ago during an unpleasant college course. Still, I retained my addiction to museums and reading about the civilizations that come to rest in them. Last Christmas I received a copy of Stealing History by Roger Atwood and I've been reading through it slowly.

The story of looted tombs and the way these artifacts make their way from the ground to collections around the world is fascinating and sad. The stories of cities and people being shucked aside for a bit of prettiness or to create an illusion of heritage (stolen from the grave of a person whose remains are now scattered) is creepy.

And makes for such a good story in itself. Glittery objects that refuse to sleep quietly in the tombs of their owners, greed and worship combining to make different objects desirable even removed from any context or use. Reading about the way that people negotiate the relative importance or not of their past is also a good reminder from a world-building perspective.

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