Earthy Ruins
Visit ruins and you imagine the lives of the ancient ones who lived there. Were their
lives difficult? How many generations of one family or extended family lived in one
particular dwelling? What was life like?  What kind of leaders?  Why did the people
eventually abandon the city? Warfare? Drought? Other climate changes? Famine?
What was it like during the “good” times?  What are some unique cultural aspects of
their civilization that are now gone forever?  From the cliff dwellings left by the
Ancient Ones in the U.S. Southwest to still-buried cities in Central America, to the
Andes mountaintop cities to ancient ruins within twisting foliage in a remote area in
India.  Ruins on Earth are everywhere: Africa, The Middle East, Europe, Asia, the
Americas . . . .   They tell stories.  How do archaeologists piece together those stories
from the clues left behind.  What are some of the stories not yet told?  What are the
stories of the scientists themselves?  How do they develop their knowledge of the
builders of the city?  Think of how the wind and rain violated the works and
monuments of the ancient ones after they left or died out. The forces of nature
continued without emotion to wear away the once sturdy structures.

More Distant Ruins
What about other kinds of ruins? An expedition lands on an uninhabited planet and
comes across ancient structures from eons ago. Large metal tanks that tower over
you with twisting interconnecting passageways stretching to the horizon, pointed
stone spires, large adobe buildings or something previously unimagined. What would
alien ruins look like? How do space-traveling archaeologists even begin to decipher
them and those who left them?  Can they use similar techniques as used by earth-
bound scientists or must they come up with something new? Can they form some
kind of image of the creatures who left them? What clues were left behind?

Summer 2007.
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