Heinrich Schliemann cleans house for company

Howard Carter, Arthur Evans, Heinrich Schliemann were my heroes at age eleven or twelve.  I loved to sit up in the treehouse and read about their archaelogical excavations in the Valley of the Kings, Knossos, and Hissarlik/Troy.

What I couldn't get my head around was how those ancient cities and sites became buried. I mean, like, hey, how could there be so much dust, enough debris, and even ashes, to cover a small ancient city?

Trying to find traces of the earliest humans in Olduvai Gorge, Louis and Mary Leakey were always brushing dirt and dust away with tiny paintbrushes. Jacques Cousteau found underwater artifacts encrusted with more gradoo than the petrified fallen lumps of toothpaste in a boys' bathroom sink.

Where does it all come from? My preteen mind thought people were purposefully shoveling dirt to hide treasures. The dirt must have been trucked in from somewhere, hauled by hundreds of slave workers tugging on long ropes to move it across corrugated log roads (leading to deforestation). The dust was not falling from outer space, right?

Wrong. The dust IS falling from space, pulled out of the air as it were, and covering pretty much everything like powdered sugar on cake donuts. Large objects and eventually whole cities are slowly being buried under a cosmic blizzard of DIY home improvement projects.

Brushing away the dust with a tiny paintbrush to ready the condo for company. I don't want to dislodge any frescoes. I'll take my guest out to the patio to stare up into the night sky. If we squint we can see Orion's Craftsman toolbelt.  No, wait! It's an orange Home Depot apron.

© 2013 Nancy L. Ruder

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