Build with massive timbers (no nails), keep the wood dry (and watch for beetles), and your beautiful, practical structure can last many centuries.
A friend of ours recently built a large tithe barn replica (including the masterful traditional English joinery, more complex than American) in North Guilford, CT at the Dominican Sisters' convent (unfortunately, can't find it on the web anywhere), and it's truly an eighth wonder of the world (at least in the timber framing business).
(Timber-framing is my (somewhat now dormant) hobby, and also a convenient hobby-horse here. ;-)
It was more or less obliterated in the late 19th century with the arrival of inexpensive machine-made nails. Cheap nails allowed a shift from timber framing to balloon framing using 2x4 boards, using both cheaper wood and less-skilled labor. Until manufactured nails came along, nails had to be made one at a time, by hand, by a blacksmith. Nails were expensive. That's why 19th century and earlier furniture has such beautiful joinery - it was cheaper to hand-carve dovetail joints and other woodwork than it was to nail it together.
The history of architecture is a history of economics. Fascinating stuff! (None of this is meant as a knock on timber framing, btw - it's superior in every respect but cost.)
However, it appears this might by a myth:
I live in a neighborhood of century-old houses (my own house is either 104, 106, or 110 years old - it's unclear from the paperwork). Many of the houses in this neighborhood are in rapid decay, mostly due to inadequate foundations or inadequate maintenance. We're seeing a building boom, with developers buying up battered rentals, tearing them down, and building something new on the lot - trying to look old, but with modern construction and materials.
I wonder how the new houses will hold up in another century, relative to the sturdier of the now-old houses?
Timber framed buildings that have survived are a different story, but again that's because they are the result of thousands of years of learning how to get it right.
I am sometimes surprised, in my research into permaculture, at how many of these problems were solved by the Japanese a thousand years ago. In food, clothing, homes, tools, the level of efficiency and sophistication in the ancient techniques is astounding.
I've often thought Japanese culture strange, but lately I tend to conclude it's because they dealt with issues centuries ago that the west has only now started to think about.
I am thinking the Hammerbeam design was a later development
of what we see in the tithe barn designs.
Very interesting, thanks!
The humankind progressed very slowly from the early time of Babylon (some five thousand years ago) through the time of Rome - both civilizations seem equally ancient to us. But today, even one hundred years seems an incredibly long time.
On the other hand - and somehow it is hard to believe -
hundreds or thousands of years ago people were the same as now, with the individual and cultural differences from us probably being smaller than the differences that exist between us right now.
a) We use rebar in concrete for tensile and shear strength, which massively decreases the amount of concrete you need but shortens lifespan.
b) Our concrete sets a lot faster.
c) The specific mineral that the nature article is about, was already known. (I'm not sure if it was widely known.)
(These are the main things I remember, anyway.)
Recall, USA have harmonised with the other systems now on using "first to file".
However you'd have to be the inventor, so you'd need to be able to argue you'd reinvented it. In practice you could just not reveal your source and probably get away with saying you invented it.
Not always true. We do have surviving technical documents (reports from governors to kings) dealing with water management in Mesopotamia. Unfortunately, the specialized vocabulary in those documents is untranslatable because we don't already know the details of Mesopotamian water engineering.
There are a few surprising examples of advanced stuff (Damascus Steel for example) but almost always they are due to taking advantage of luck/sources (like Damascus Steel) rather than inherent skill or design that was "lost".
Have any examples in mind?
Whether we today can understand how to build massive stone fortresses or make bows and arrows is a somewhat different question.
The faces of the four presidents carved on the illegally confiscated Six Grandfathers aren't going to erode away in 2,000 years.
Watch the long-running BBC series "Time Team" to see just how much is in the ground still from the Middle Ages, Roman era, and even back to the neolithic.
Our trash heaps are the middens of the future.
Hadn't heard of the Six Grandfathers or the confiscation thereof (other than that the entire country is built on confiscated land), but here's an interesting, if biased, article on the topic: http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1212
> In 1884, New York City attorney Charles E. Rushmore came to the Black Hills to check on legal titles to some properties. On coming back to camp one day, he asked Bill Challis about the name of a mountain. Bill is reported to have replied:
> “Never had a name but from now on we’ll call it Rushmore.”
> With that offhand comment, the mountain known to the Sioux as Six Grandfathers became Mount Rushmore.
It is however an exceptionally good show
One of my favourite episodes
I watched the series on YouTube.
Odd description. Illegal according to US law, or Lakota law?
(Legality has interesting implications in war between two nations.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Hills_Land_Claim - "The United States Court of Claims on June 13, 1979, in a 5-2 majority, decided that the 1877 Act that seized the Black Hills from the Sioux was a violation of the Fifth Amendment."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Fort_Laramie_(1868) - "On June 30, 1980, in United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the government had illegally taken the land. It upheld an award of $15.5 million for the market value of the land in 1877, along with 103 years worth of interest at 5 percent, for an additional $105 million. The Lakota Sioux, however, have refused to accept payment and instead continue to demand the return of the territory from the United States."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Sioux_Nation_... - "As of 24 August 2011 the Sioux interest on their money has compounded to over 1 billion dollars".
The Black Hills (a small mountain range) were ceded to the Sioux by treaty. We were all well and good with it until gold was discovered there. Then the US government stepped in, claimed the Black Hills, and forced out the Sioux (the descendants of the survivors live on the Pine Ridge Reservation southeast of the Black Hills, a stretch of land "worthless" for agriculture or valuable natural resources).
Because power, not righteousness, is the true path to victory.
(Seriously, read Snyder's _Black Earth: the Holocaust as History and Warning_ for how Hitler saw the US as a role model.)
Come to think of it, possession by the red army was exactly how eastern Europe ended up vassals to USSR after WW2.
Not one mention of God.
TREATY WITH THE OTTAWA, ETC., 1821 - http://www.kansasheritage.org/PBP/books/treaties/t_1821.html . No mention of God, outside of a "in the year of our Lord".
Treaty With The Osage, 1825 - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Treaty_With_The_Osage,_1825 only mentions "in the year of our Lord" and doesn't otherwise mention God.
Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868 - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Fort_Bridger_Treaty_of_1868 has three "year of our Lord"s but otherwise no mention of God.
Moving now toward treaties with European nations:
Jay's Treaty (1794, with Britain) - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Jay%27s_Treaty mentions God once, in a parenthetical note "If at any Time a Rupture should take place (which God forbid) between His Majesty and the United States ..." Otherwise, no mention of God.
Pinckney's_Treaty (1795, with Spain) - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Pinckney%27s_Treaty again has no mention of God.
Treaty of Tripoli (1786) - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli doesn't call on God. This is the one which (in the English text ratified by the US Senate) famously says "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." It is therefore unlikely to call on God as a witness.
Louisiana Purchase Treaty (1803, France) - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Louisiana_Purchase_Treaty . No mention of God.
Where do you get your idea that treaties traditionally call on God as a witness?
EDIT: I looked for non-US treaties, but couldn't find the text for the Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle or the Treaty of Åbo, which were the first I looked for. I then chose British treaties:
Treaty of Seville ("between the Crowns of Great Britain, France, and Spain, concluded at Seville on the 9th of November, N. S. 1729") - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Seville . That one has "In the Name of the most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three distinct Persons, and one only true God." and is made between "THEIR most Serene Majesties the King of Great Britain, the most Christian King, and the Catholic King". Otherwise, no mention of God as a witness to ensure the peace.
The closest I found was in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Peace_and_Friendship_Treaty_o... has many references to God, including "But if (which God forbid) the disputes which are composed should at any time be renewed between their said Royal Majesties". The text "God forbid" was also used in two clauses regarding what happens should a royal not having children in the line of succession, so even this isn't quite the same as a "witness that treaties will be kept sacrosanct".
I can't project how 200 years of no maintenance will affect the building, especially as there's a difference between a building which is safe for visitors and one which is whole but unsafe.
We're quite tough at a species and now we have the technology to make even the most terrible environments survivable.
That's why I find plans to colonize Mars as a "backup" in case something terrible happens on Earth rather ridiculous. It would be incredibly difficult to make Earth more inhospitable than Mars is right now. Nuclear winter Earth would probably be paradise compared to normal Mars.
If you're worried about humanity's survival build underwater cities and bunkers in the arctic, Mars isn't worth it.
But more than that, technology improves every day. The only reason we aren't extinct now is because nuclear weapons happen to be very difficult to build. Imagine if the materials required to build them were common, and any idiot could do it with some parts from the hardware store. How long do you think the world would last?
Well who is to say the next world destroying technology will be the same? Maybe there's a reason the sky is empty.
Also, civilization existed before the industrial revolution. In fact that would be a good point to mark the start of the fall. Giving the rate of increase in pollution, overconsumption, climate and environment destruction since and before then.
Sure, digging up landfills for a handful of aluminum cans might meet the needs of a small primitive post apocalyptic town. But that's not enough to sustain an industrial revolution.
Preindustrial civilizations are nothing to aspire to. By all measurements the quality of life was abysmal and almost not worth living for the majority of the population. I'd rather our species just go extinct than endure that forever.
We could do both. In fact, the technology for both likely has overlap.
But, 2000 years is nothing. Humans will be off the planet in that time and it would be really, really hard to wipe us all out in that tiny timescale.
Btw, we are not tough as a species. Trilobites are tough. Those fuckers survived 3 mass extinctions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aji2VnQFUCs&index=11&list=LL...
if the struggling survivors knew there was a population on Mars, living on unscathed by the disasters on Earth.
"Maybe" and "Possibly" are pretty vague. You seem to imply the odds are quite low. You list the last case as "Improbable". Do you really have any solid ground for making these judgements?
You say it seems hard to imagine. One thing that history clearly shows is that the future is always hard to imagine, and that you always have to expect the unexpected.
You'll have to pardon my skepticism.
Two things are worth keeping in mind.
One, in real terms the human race has existed for a tiny amount of time. What we've experienced so far doesn't tell us anything definitive about what can happen.
Two, a catastrophe that wipes out humanity only needs to happen once. You don't get a second chance, and history won't be any guide if it did happen.
Right, but we're talking about 2000 years in the future, so the argument is reversed: we've existed for quite a long time compared to a couple of millennia.
For one thing, having massive arsenals of nuclear weapons ready to go at a moment's notice is qualitatively different from anything in history. Global thermonuclear war wouldn't wipe out humanity, but it would wreck civilization badly enough to qualify as "doom" as I see it.
A quote I like that just about sums up human nature from the time of the Romans to today:
"When Jesus comes back, these crazy, greedy, capitalistic men are gonna kill him again." - Mike Tyson
Look at a baby who is acknowledged and treated well, and doesn't happen to have a problem to cry about atm. That's "human nature" to me. Now skip forward to kids, that's human potential. Now skip forward to youths, and you see people with all sorts of sticks up their butts; skip to adults, you see and smell death. Yes, I'm generalizing, but I also see what I see. Something usually goes wrong very quickly, but it still goes wrong, and people call all sorts of things personalities or cultures (or even "human nature") because they're not able or willing to ask what is really going on.
All that will survive from our civilization is probably going to be a few motorway interchanges and perhaps some soviet-area, all-concrete monuments.
In 2000 years they will still be finding Roman Ruins but nothing from the 20 + century will survive.
For a while we lived in an upper-middle-class house (at the time it was built) constructed around the time of WWI. National historic registry, the whole thing, but little reno or updating. The hardwood floors were intact but in terrible shape. Siding probably needed to be replaced. No air conditioning (Iowa, so summers hot enough for at least a month or so that you really want AC) inadequate gas heating, no insulation, etc. Point being that, even when occupied, the house experienced swings between ~55f in the winter and ~100f in the summer.
The remarkable thing? It had incredible woodwork, just... everywhere. Bannisters, fireplaces, big wooden pillars with accompanying massive trim between rooms, everywhere. The doors were all custom built, paneled, and solid wood—they'd be considered top-end luxury today. It'd cost a fortune in material to do that now, the lumber was so good, but the really crazy part? The intricate joins and such were so tight you couldn't fit a piece of paper between them. I mean perfect, despite ~100 years of temperature swings like that. Good freakin' luck finding anyone who can do that today, and if you manage it, good luck finding enough money to pay them to custom-trim an entire house that way. It'd be off-the-charts expensive.
A corollary to the labour cost also seems to be a reduction in high end craft skills. Modern houses don't have the features that require high end skills as they're too expensive so there's less demand for those skills. Another anecdote: it took us ages to find a plasterer who could do the ceiling in one of the bedrooms as the cornering was so complex and most refused to quote. Eventually, one of them put us in contact with a retired gentleman who did the work (at a quite reasonable price considering). Watching him work was amazing.
The only time I recall being more impressed was, many years ago, seeing a spray painter paint a propeller as a template for the robot. It was a bit like watching dancing but to a micron (or so) tolerance. Masterful.
The problem was that the software for defining the arcs that the paint gun needed to move through was, well, a bit shit. It always produced inconsistent thicknesses.
Obviously, prior to getting the arm, the props were painted by hand. There was this one chap who was just incredible. He'd move his arm in a motion that followed the contours of the prop perfectly but at such a consistent pace that the paint was laid down beautifully. In the end they gave up with the software and just motion captured his arm movements so they could replicate it. It wasn't as good as he was but was close enough.
BTW my job there was to design jigs for a batch of Spitfire blades that they were building. Someone had commissioned new 'planes to go with some Merlins that had been found at Rolls (if I recall correctly). I worked at Dowty who had made the original blades and landing gear so we were making them from the original blueprints. Was a lot of fun.
Ironically, she was supposedly built to only last 25 years. That might be just an urban legend tho.
Story is that once upon a time you could sail a ship into Mariahamn in Åland and be able to hire someone for any position from cabin boy to captain. You can't now - those skills are much more diffuse.
Same thing with steam engines. Used to be you could find a boilermaker locally, because the demand was so high. Or farriers, or wheelwrights, or any of a large number of skills related to horse transport.
Even things like home milk delivery and cloth diaper services are harder to get now than in the 1950s, because improvements in pasteurization and disposable diapers have changed the economics.
If you want a new boiler, or want to hire a sailmaker for canvas, or decide you want to keep your own horse&carriage, you'll find it's harder to do so it now than 100 years ago. Not because we've "sorta lost" those skills but because the support infrastructure has dwindled.
For example, the ship the Götheborg is a replica of an 18th-century Swedish East Indiaman. It uses linen sails instead of hemp, as the original would have, because 1) growing hemp was banned in Sweden in the 1970s, and 2) the Hungarian weaving company they were going to use for the hemp sails went out of business in 2000. The linen sails, btw, were made in the UK.
Of course, 200 years ago it would have been much easier to order hemp sails for an East Indiaman.
I'm not sure that's great evidence.
Working with a historical artifact means you have to be more careful - it's more museum curation than construction. It's also generally slower to take something apart and rebuild it than to just put it together the first time.
In my mind I (rightly or not?) consider that in a different category altogether.
As software engineers we are blessed with the opportunity for depth in craft much more than most workers nowadays, but we still live a fairly nerveless existence, with the tips of our fingers being just about our only meager contact with the world while the rest of our body atrophies.
I've started learning woodworking with old hand tools, but so far it's just made me appreciate more just how skilled these old woodworkers were.
Often times buildings are disappointingly short lived, but I think sometimes people lament it a little too much. If we need a different building there 50 years later, and we built it to last 200 years, then a lot of material and effort was wasted. There's often a lot of good that comes from knocking a building down and using the limited space for something more useful.
Not as long as you would think. Non-reinforced concrete only lasts a few generations, whereas there are Roman concrete roads still in (mild, rural) use today.
We actually know why too. Recent science shows that Roman concrete used a slightly different formula that took much longer to set -- weeks or maybe months rather than days. They didn't know how to make fast-setting concrete like we have today. But the length of time also made the structure stronger. We could build that way, if we wanted. But we don't.
These days, we're so crammed in where ever there are usable resources, that the moment we die, or move on, someone claims the space and adapts it to their needs. Space is at such a premium that it's illogical to lock it out as one particular usage for centuries.
Average Romans were probably slaves and, not sure, but probably lived in shanties that definitely don't exist.
The mosaics and stuff that survives today is likely the home of an elite, or some important Government building. So the right comparison would be to, say, Empire State Building.
that - once freed - became a citizen (with some very marginal restrictions).
Just a few blocks away was a medieval church built hundreds of years later. The mosaics there looked so amateurish that they looked like they were done by children.
Japan has somewhat of an answer to this: every 20 years they tear down the Ise Grand Shrine and build it up again. This allows them to retain specialized construction techniques across generations.
Those tiles aren't surface level like ours are, each spot in the mosaic is more like a rod, and it goes down a couple inches.
There are some beautiful counter examples, like for example the Rome Pantheon, but this building, being converted as a church, as been correctly maintained most of the time up to now.
Long standing (and sometimes beautiful) structures are still up because of proper maintenance, they can endure some kind of neglect for a few decades, but not a lot more. Maintenance is the key.
(an even bigger example that comes to my mind is Hagia Sophia, which, in spit of being in a seismic area and being quite tall, is still standing today after ~1500 years).
As for the ruins, given the proper conditions, even your shitty bathroom can be preserved. Maybe not yours specifically, but one of the millions others like yours. Keep in mind that the Roman Empire spanned across most of southern Europe, the middle east and North Africa, that multiplies the "proper conditions" opportunities.
Several nuclear waste containment structures are planned with that kind of lifetime. They have to be.
If you read the article what makes this "exceptional" is the fact that the fires which destroyed the place actually had a preserving effect:
'The fires essentially froze in place much of the neighborhood’s architecture, including even the artifacts left behind by residents fleeing the blazes, “transforming the sector into a veritable ‘little Pompeii’ of Vienne,” according to Archeodunum.'
So no its not just any old Roman find.
A culture minister seeing a marketing opportunity for tourism likely had their office issue a press release and as stated in the article invited journalists to come to tour the site this week.
Similarly the archeologist from Archeodunum likely put out their own press release as it's good for business.
Perhaps those parts of the Balkans/Italy you mention should have their respective cultural minister to do a better job marketing their finds.
The Culture Ministery's comments are therefore quite accurate for this case, and not so much pomp.
It's a poem inspired by some archeological discoveries in Egypt, whose main message is that no matter how vast or powerful an empire is, all that will remain---over time---are ruins, if at all.
Not entirely irrelevant; although maybe not quite in line with what this board usually discusses.
referencing ozymandias with respect to any old artifact seems to miss the point of the poem. imho, at least.
in a thousand years, will someone quote ozymandias whilst sifting through the ruins of a forgotten toronto housing subdivision? would it be apropos?
Qualitative differences, sometimes matter.
Also, from what I've read, Romans were complaining that catastrophe was about to happen all the time.
Pompeii was discovered more than 200 years ago.