What Are Those Strange Boxes?

We recently took trips to Shiloh and Pinson Mounds, and both have one thing in common: history. And to be even more specific: archaeology. I knew about the Indian mounds at Pinson from when our church youth group had a retreat there in 1988. But I didn’t know that there were also Indian mounds at Shiloh near the Civil War battlefields until a few years ago. Since that time, walking around the mounds at Shiloh has become at least as important as walking around the battlefields when we are there.

Part of what makes these sites intriguing to me is that there isn’t all that much known about the Indians that lived there. There are theories about what the mounds were used for. And there are theories about what some of the artifacts that have been found in those locations were used for. But for some things, no one really knows for certain. Some stone items were made to grind foods. Some stone items may have been jewelry. And some stone items may have been used for games. I’m sure the archaeologists have a good idea about most of the items that they have found, but I would imagine that some still remain a mystery. Which is pretty cool, I think.

And then I start wondering what will the archaeologists think 1000 years from now when they dig up our stuff. Will they know what it all is? Will our records be preserved enough that they will know what all we did and what we used different things for?

I can just imagine some of the archaeology reports now:

The people of the early 2000s seem to have had a strange fascination with electronic boxes, which came in different sizes. The largest boxes seem to have been placed in the “family room” of their homes, with soft benches for seating placed around them. These boxes apparently showed moving pictures called “television” that the inhabitants would sit and watch for hours on end, judging by the worn out places on their benches, which they called “couches”. Some of these benches were made just for one person, and they would even recline, so that the occupant could actually lie down while watching the large box’s pictures.

The middle-sized boxes were usually placed on tables in their work spaces. These boxes had attachments for data input, and were used for work as well as for pleasure. Cables connected these boxes to the wall, and from there to a central data location, so that the boxes could “talk” to each other, allowing the users to communicate and share data between these boxes. Both the large boxes and the middle-sized boxes started out to be rather bulky, but over time they grew larger while becoming almost completely flat.

The size of the smallest boxes allowed them to be carried in a person’s hand. However, several boxes had attachments so that they could be carried on the person’s lower garment support, called a “belt.” These boxes apparently allowed people to talk to each other either by speaking into them or by using letters that appeared on the face of the box when required. It appears that the inhabitants kept these boxes with them at all times, even having them near when they were in their dormant “sleeping” stages. Were these small boxes some sort of religion? The devotion to them seems to have been almost fanatical.

Okay, so maybe it won’t quite be like that. Maybe they will know what we did with what we had. Or with the rapidity of advancing technology, maybe we will seem like some primitive culture that was barely above the level of beating rocks together to communicate. Who knows?