Times Past and Time Passing By
Things change as time passes. This is
one of the principal phenomenon observed in archaeology.
By observing and understanding the patterns of change,
archaeologists are able to construct a calendar of events
by placing items, objects or events on a time scale.
Changes occur for different reasons. Some
changes can be explained by technological advances.
We know, for example, that very old hunting spearheads
were made of stone, then when metals were discovered,
they were replaced by copper and then by iron spearheads.
Other changes occur because of functional
needs. Country roads were once dirt paths a meter wide
for travellers on-foot. With the arrival of the horse
and carriage, these paths were enlarged to ease circulation.
Then cars appeared and roads were paved. With the increase
of traffic, roadways were again widened and today they
are multi-lane highways, often more than 100 meters
Change also happens quite simply by taste
and fashion. The best example of such transformaiton
is the manner in which clothing has changed through
the ages and how, today, fashion trends can change drastically
from year to year. Such change reflects social and cultural
Today, changes occur at an extremely rapid
rate and are easy to observe as they affect familiar
objects. If you notice the details of these changes,
you will begin to understand a lot about the evolution
of specific objects, the same way archaeologists are
knowledgeable about very old artefacts.
Pick a particular object, for example
cars. We all know more or less how they changed during
the 20th century, but to what extent can we be specific?
What typifies a 1955 model? How can we differentiate
a 1965 model from one of 1975? Can you name the trends
of car evolution from its invention up to today? Try
to separate the diverse categories of changes, like
form, size, color, texture, style, material, special
features and accessories...See, for any of these changes,
if they are related to technology, function, fashion,
or even a combination of these elements.
Try to do the same with other objects.
Try soda bottles for example, television
sets, hats, houses, pens, or even computers...