Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Long Ago Recollection of

Even Longer Ago

I once did a bit of inadvertent archaeology in the old country, in Galil Elyon (Upper Galilee) when I lived on a kibbutz in 1977. Two Druzes were sent to dig a grave and I was assigned to poke through the dirt they dug up. The graveyard was near where there had been an 18th century Turkish mill. Earthenware pots had been used to carry grain and meal to and from the mill. In the course of the years many of the pots broke, and were tossed aside. Shards of those pots were what I found when the two men dug the grave. It was nothing to bother the Israel Antiquities Department about, but it was fun.

I never found among those dozens of potsherds even two pieces that fit together. The ancient pots and vases one sees aplenty in museums is each the product of a huge amount of work to put it back together and then to restore whatever could not be found. Almost certainly more work is spent restoring these things than was involved in making them. And we just brush past them with glazed eyes because there is just too much for us to see and still leave in time to beat the traffic.

1 comment:

  1. Never underestimate what it took to create the vessel from which those shards came. I do, however, get your point.