From: Grant Callaghan (email@example.com)
Date: Wed 05 Mar 2003 - 15:36:13 GMT
All the work they do is valuable, but wouldn't you agree that there are
limits on what can be gained? It's kinda like the fosil record, there's
stuff that's been found and some details fleshed out but still much
presently unknown and possibly lost forever.
There are limits to even newly created artifacts. Bill Gates just revealed
to China the source code of Windows. You probably use that code every day.
What do you know about it? If you came across a copy of CPM today, what
would it tell you about the culture in which it was created and used? And
you are already completely familiar with that culture.
Nothing from a single artifact is going to tell you everything you want to
know about it. Culture is accumulated in bits and pieces. A single piece
will not tell you about a whole culture. Just as one clue won't solve a
mystery. Unless you already have the same information as the person who
created the artifact you are left to guess what went into the making of it.
But there are lots of clues in the artifact itself. Something made of bone,
fur and sinue are going to infer a stage and type of culture in which it was
created, even if it doesn't tell you everything you want to know about that
culture. The more artifacts you can collect from that culture, the more you
will learn about it. Expecting a few to reveal everything is a bit much to
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