Why?

(Apart from wanting words that few others were likely to have used.)

Why Ozymandias?

A reminder that no matter how great we might think we are, we'll be gone eventually, and against the tens of thousands of years for which our kind have dominated the planet, a few hundred years are very little. Our own civilisation (west of China, east of Japan anyway, and excluding perhaps the Isle of Mann, which boasts the longest unbroken history of parliamentary sittings on the planet), our machine-using, world-seeing civilisation has lasted for a shorter time than did, for example, the Roman empire. If the others have passed, leaving echoes in their successors, what hubris makes us think that our civilisation is different?

But also, the desire to resurrect a small part of that long vista of the past. All my little algorithm can do is help recapture a part of a lost moment only a few years old at most (a few minutes, often), but it is still part of that craving to see the lost moment. For me, anyway.

Why Hamangia?

A small note: Google is currently offering this site as the first choice in response to a search for "Hamangia". I apologise: This is an amateur point of view, and I recommend referring to more authoritative sites concerning the archaeological Hamangian complex before considering my points of view on the matter.

A long lost vista.

About 7 and a half millenia ago, Europe and western Asia were arid, and the most hospitable place to live seems to have been around a great fresh water lake, into which the Danube flowed as a great delta. How many people lived there?

Then the Mediterranean sea breached the small ridge of land joining Europe to Asia (Anatolia), and flowed over the lands surrounding the lake, quickly covering hundreds of kilometres of land around it. (Depending on the terrain, at about a mile a day.) Whatever culture was there was completely removed, either destroyed, or carried by hand and shoulder, or perhaps beast of burden, to higher terrain, where already other peoples must have lived. So the survivors must have walked into conflict, at best, with an inconceivable salty flood behind them. The Black Sea.

Of the many places where these survivors might have found themselves, Hamangia, on the modern coast of Romania, and embraced by the Danube as it flows into the Black Sea towards its lost delta, stands out in my amateur view. I gather (and claim no expertise), that at about this time, metal-working appeared on the part of Europe which is now visible above the waters. Improvements in agriculture are reported (I imagine the lost land as having been irrigated), and what appear to be discs ("spindle whorls") inscribed with linear writing have been found in Hamangia. Further up the Danube, the artifacts left behind for us to find seem to indicate an obsession with water, and with tears (salt water).

But what chills me is the figurine known as "the Thinker of Hamangia", dating from around this time. It is exquisitely made, so different from other examples I've seen illustrated from about that time elsewhere, and communicates to me an air of profound woe. I don't have a picture which I can show you, but here is a link which is valid at the time of writing, or you could try here.

My point is that other societies have been, and have passed. Not powerful or sophisticated by our standards, but certainly by theirs. And for how long?

So that's why Hamangia. And Ozymandias.

References:

Peer reviewed:
"An abrupt drowning of the Black Sea shelf", W.B.F Ryan et al., Marine Geology, 138, pp 119-126 (1997).
Popular:
"Noah's Flood", New Scientist, issue 2102 (4th Oct, 1997), pp 24-27,

"Noah's Flood", William Ryan and Walter Pitman, pub. Simon and Schulster.

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One Last Note

Please: If you find artifacts offered for sale or otherwise, which might have come from Mesopotamia or modern Iraq, contact a reputable impartial body such as UNESCO, and if you trust them, your local police. Please. On their own they are just artifacts, together, in context, they are part of the history of our species. Something which seems to have escaped the adolescents wielding weapons. It is the boring clay tablets, with no intrinsic beauty, which are most needed, and of least value in money.

Again - just my amateur opinion. [Amateur> L. Amator=Lover (Concice OED).]

©M.D.Cahill 27 May 2003 CE.


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