Here today, ancient mysteries tommorow?

These might be confusing questions and it is very complicated but here goes…

As you know many of the monuments and artwork of the ancient world have remained a msytery for a long time. To find out about these things archeaologists have pieced together details from artifacts and other items that they find.
For example the pyramids in Egypt…my assumption is that they had to do this because as time went on the pyramids had been forgotten.
Fast forward and faces are carved into the side of Mt Rushmore and someone placed into the mountain a time capsule like object to tell future civilizations why the mountain was carved out, who each of the people were and their signifigance.
With Mt Rushmore being kept up and millions of people visiting it every year is this “time capsule” inside really needed?

In other words I can’t see a time when any of our modern monuments will ever be forgotten enough that people will not know what they meant. I could see certain monuments not being kept up but it’s hard to imagine it being forgotten to the point where people would need to open up an ultra sealed “time capsule” to find out what it is and why it is there. I’m not just referring to MT Rushmore but also the White House and anything else around the world built in the last couple of centuries. What would need to happen over the course of the next 2 thousand years that certain monuments that are so important today are ancient mysteries tommorow?

Ww Iii?

The plot of Crystalis?

The three little bathroom shells in “Judge Dredd”. :smiley:

I was actually kind of leaning in that direction…but maybe a great earthquake or volcanoe erupting would totally destroy this modern civilization we live in.

The three seashells were actually featured in “Demolition Man.”

Future archeologists tooling around in the remains of Nanaimo after the Apocalypse are going to be pretty confused by the statue of Frank Ney… I don’t imagine they’ll be able to make much of the monument in Vancouver’s False Creek that my friends and I call “Big Jim and the Twins,” a piece of metal sculpture that looks like a robot’s cock and balls. Hell, people today don’t even know what that thing is supposed to symbolize!

Maybe some kind of “social” apocalypse would work, too. Like if Anarchism got really popular, all of a sudden. Or extreme counterculture-hippieism. Or maybe a sort of modern “fall of Rome” scenario, with the “civilized” countries falling into decline, and turning into/being overrun by third or forth world countries. (Or becoming/being overrun by barbaric Taliban-eqsue societies) Or maybe a “Marching Morons” scenario with stupid people outbreeding all the smart people, and dragging down civilization in the process.

If civilization as we know it returns from any o’those, the relics of the past might seem pretty odd.
(Or if Aliens visit Earth, after humanity goes extinct/leaves the planet. 'Not sure how that fits with the OP, though.)

Another ice age, nuclear war, a particularly nasty pandemic and a large meteor strike could all easily make us think of more imprtant things than remembering who the people on Mt Rushmore are and how they got there.

I imagine there were people in the Roman Empire in 4 CE saying much the same thing (except in Latin, of course).

But we do know what Roman monuments mean, despite the intervening Dark Ages…

Actually, the Egyptian pyramids have never been forgotten, (the Greeks commented on them during their heyday), and it was not until the rise of pseudo-scientific loons at the end of the 19th century (a tradition that has maintained an impressive strength right through to the present), that people even bothered to put forth “alternative” explanations that pretended that the pyramids were other than the funeral monuments/tombs they have always been known to be.

You might get a bit more mileage out of pyramids, ziggurats, and mounds in other parts of the world, although I suspect that most of them were quite easily identified by purpose, as well.

There are artifacts throughout the world that have surprised modern archaeologists, but the genuine (as opposed to manufactured) mysteries about them tend to be a matter of not knowing the exact purpose, while understanding the general purposes, for which they were built: e.g., Stonehenge and the dolmens, the chalk figures in English Downs or the beaten-path figures in the Chilean desert.

If current civilization collapsed completely, it is probable that future generations would see Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse memorial as honoring gods instead of civil leaders, but the point that they were created to honor someone would not change. Stone Mountain would probably still be seen as a way to honor soldiers, although honoring “gods” is not out of the question. (I’ve know a (fairly small) number of people who think that Stone Mountain is honoring gods, today.)

For one thing, the “dark ages” was a name coined by the same people who claimed that their own time was the “rebirth” (Renaissance), and not a period when knowledge actually disappeared from the Earth. The infrastructure needed to maintain commerce and civil law throughout Western Europe (with the advances in knowledge that come from such a climate) were seriously compromised by the dissolution of the Western Roman Empire, but most of the actual knowledge continued in the Eastern Roman Empire and in the schools and monasteries of Western Europe (as well as passing to the Muslim societies that succeeded the Roman (East or West) societies in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Dark ages” was simply a way for people around the 15th century (earlier in Italy, later to the North) to declare that they were smarter than their great-grandparents. It was a good bit of propaganda that is believed to this day.

Interesting. I don’t mean to hijack the thread, but what exactly do they believe about Stone Mountain?

FWIW, in Neosho, Missouri there is a monument that remains a great mystery today. It’s a giant clock built into the ground (if you were to see it then what I’m saying would make more sense). Anyway, no one knows who built it, or why. Neither do they know how it’s supposed to work, or if it ever worked.

BUT, Neosho, Missouri has only been settled for about 200 years or less.

Not about the mountain: I have met a small number of people who have deified Lee, Jackson, and (less frequently) Davis.

So very true. The first way to spot them is to find the folks paying the $7 parking tithe, as opposed to walking or riding their bikes into the park for free. There are the “Fundamentalist Stone Mountainites” who refuse to even set foot anywhere near the the sacred sandstone, preferring to worship the hallowed laser-light show from the pious confines of their cars in the tithe parking lot. But my personal favorites are those I affectionately refer to as the “PBR Pilgrims”. They fill their coolers with Pabst Blue Ribbon, cram themselves into the “Skylift” which takes them all the way to the top. Whatever beer has not been consumed on the way up continues to be guzzled as they sway and gaze at the view for a few moments, or is sloppily slurped as they begin to tromping down their descent.

For those of us actually hiking up the trail for other than religious purposes, it is easy to pick the PBR Pilgrims out of the crowd. They’re the sweaty, cranky masses of drunken, red-faced belligerence tumbling and stumbling down at and into you, agast that there is any amount of physical exertion required to complete their pilgrimage, even when letting gravity do most of the work.

Not that I have an opinion on the matter or anything. :wink: [/hijack]

So you were speaking figuratively rather than literally. (Granted, there’s a fine line between hero worship and deification. Look at Elvis and John Lennon … ) I asked because I have some interest in occultism and mysticism and over the years I’ve encountered a few characters in this area who had some rather odd ideas about Stone Mountain. One such character believed the mountain was the center of the akashic records that Edgar Cayce repeatedly mentioned, and he believed he could access all sorts of scientific and mystical wisdom by meditating on or near the mountain. He insisted that the mountain made Atlanta a holy city every bit as important as Jerusalem or Rome, and that Atlanta would one day be the center of a world wide spiritual renaissance. Another character claimed the top of the mountain had been a sacred site of the Indians (plausible, but I’ve found no hard evidence of it) and was rather disgruntled that park officials wouldn’t let him conduct magical ceremonies there late at night.

But these were isolated individuals. My ears perked up because what you said seemed to imply that there might a kind of mythology about the mountain growing among the occult/New Age crowd, which might be something worth observing.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread, which is already in progress …

All the pollution in the air could fall out and bury our civilization. You need to read Motel of the Mysteries.

I second or third or whatever the things others have said about there really being not a whole lot of mystery about, say, the Egyptian pyramids. They’re death monuments. There’s things we don’t know about them - funny little airshafts, etc - but we know why they were built and what they were supposed to do.

But in a greater sense, the only thing you need to turn here today into ancient mysteries is time. I mean, sure, Egypt has had its ups and downs, but the big gulf there is just time. Try to put it in perspective - the pyramids were about as distant in time to Cleopatra as she is to us. That’s a lot of time - enough to make things incomprehensibly distant. You don’t need a war or a revolution or a natural disaster, you just need a few millenia.

Before Motel of the Mysteries, there was Robert Nathan’s 1956 “Digging the Weans,” a very funny satire of a future civilization trying to understand U.S. society by our remains.