Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Built to last

Here's a nice story about a new archaeological find in Greece. It's on the island of Kefalonia, which is on the west side of Greece facing the heel of the Italian boot.
Archaeologists on a Greek island have discovered a large Roman-era tomb containing gold jewelry, pottery and bronze offerings, officials said Wednesday.


The complex, measuring 8 by 6 meters (26 by 20 feet), had been missed by grave-robbers, the announcement said.

Archaeologists found gold earrings and rings, gold leaves that may have been attached to ceremonial clothing, as well as glass and clay pots, bronze artifacts decorated with masks, a bronze lock and copper coins.

The vaulted grave, a house-shaped structure, had a small stone door that still works perfectly -- turning on stone pivots.

I'm not sure why they sound surprised at that last bit. Don't these people watch movies? Stone doors in ancient tombs always open easily. I think it's a law. It doesn't matter if the door is Roman, Egyptian, Aztec, or Atlantean; all you need is the sacred brooch, which functions as a key, and the door opens automatically. You don't even need WD-40.

I have a theory about these locks and hinges that don't corrode or even get clogged with dust over thousands of years. They were actually the cause of the collapse of ancient civilization. Once they had perfected small mechanical things like this and installed them in their tombs, along with fiendish death traps, they couldn't get any repeat business and their economy collapsed. Fortunately, we've perfected built-in obsolescence, so our civilization will last forever (or until the giant squid discover fire).

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