That’s freakin’ awesome! And being able to interact with a historical site that doesn’t “feel” historical is wonderful. It’s something that is lacking in the US – longevity of history. My home town recently celebrated its 350th birthday, and that’s pretty good for this side of the pond.
I have the same sort of idle curiosity toward Percy Priest Lake near Nashville that is a reservoir from the damming of the Stones River in the late 60’s. I know there are all sorts of things that were there when they flooded what had been mostly farmland, but to think of all the stuff that’s been added since then is staggering.
Speaking of things ancient, I enjoy the various archaeological speculations about how human beings first came to this hemisphere and when programs like Nova have shows that go into digs in coal mines and canyons where there’s new evidence that maybe the land bridge crossing of the Bering Straits may not be old enough to account for relics found in such places, how they start theorizing that there may have been ocean-based migrations much earlier.
One of the things I hope they can figure out before I’m gone is whether there was human habitation of Antarctica. I have this hope that that continent is either the Atlantis location or the true origin point for human beings and that it predates Africa by millennia.
I once made a trip to Greece. While there we visited Delphi, where the oracle was. Above the town is the ruins of a sports arena, with row on row of benches, including one row, front and center, that had backs. Sitting in those seats, it was amazing to wonder who had sat there before me, when Delphi was the belly button of the classical Greek world.
Coming from an area where 200 year old buildings are considered ancient, this was amazing.
I hope this is not too far from the basic issue of the thread, but I find it odd, weird even, when sections of the USA that haven’t been populated by European immigrants for much over 100 years (mid-to-late 1800’s let’s say) already have their “old towns” and “old houses” and such.
I have tried to put the issue into my own situation and I realize that anything older than grandparents or (for the lucky ones) great-grandparents is “ancient” for most people. Those who go climbing family trees are the minority of us who can relate to older generations. In my own case I can trace back to the late 1600’s or early 1700’s before the trail goes cold, and I’m not even sure what part of Europe my folks came from.
With the recent to-do about how Hillary, Barack, and McCain are related to each other and other presidents, I’d love to know how far back it takes for my ancestors to be kin to me down two or more separate lines. In other words, how far back before the inbreeding is visible and undisputed?
Count your blessings. There is no building in Australia even 200 years old. The oldest is Cadman’s Cottage from 1815. I think it’s things like this that drive nearly 5% of our population to be overseas at any one time, to take in some (what we think of as) real history.
Ironic then that the local native population may be the oldest continuous culture still existing.
Zeldar, don’t feel bad. I have no idea who my grandparents’ parents were.
In fact, unfortunately, my father’s father became a Catholic priest in New Jersey, left the priesthood, came out to California, changed his name, married my grandmother, left her when the kids were grown, and entered a monastery where he discarded his name altogether. The monastery has no record of him that they can find. A very kind monk even went out and searched the monastery cemetary for me. There is no death certificate under his original name or the one he changed it to in that state that year or, in fact, for many years on either side. So even though I know I have a metric ton of Italian relatives somewhere in New Jersey, I’ve no way to find them. And the original name is really common.
That is mind-blowing about the duck pond. I wonder, was its original purpose as a cistern of some sort?
When I was a kid I knew there were several prehistoric sites not far from the village I grew up in – like Castlerigg Stone Circle, and sometimes snow would show the “cord rig” ridges of Iron Age farmers. There were even neolithic stone axe factories nearby in Scafell and the Langdale Pikes
But I was blown away by the discovery a few years back of prehistoric markings on top of a rock right in the centre of the village – a rock I used to play on as a kid. The actual markings were a bit crappy really – just little hollows but obviously man-made (something to do with ancient trade routes, apparently).
It really brought home how long people had been living there, and how little we will ever know for certain about them
I had my perceptions adjusted by a trip to Italy a few months ago (my first time in Europe). The Tuscan house my girlfriend owns is a thousand years old. It’s been renovated and modernized, of course, but it’s still a medieval stone house in a medieval village situated well up the hill from a town whose bones were laid during the Roman era.
The thing is, though, while it obviously is old, it doesn’t feel old, in the sense of obsolete, ancient, outdated. To paraphrase a great observation from the book Under the Tuscan Sun (which is marvelous, and completely different from the shit-ass movie): Italians don’t live in the past; they have brought the past with them into the present.