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If our society was abandoned, how long would the artifacts remain?

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posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 03:40 PM
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Most things would break down by 300 years.

Oddly enough, the things that would survive the longest are the things that have survived the longest.

The great pyramids, that ancient mountain fortress in the Andes, the Aztec pyramids, and any large stone structure should be around for a long time.

It would be funny if in 5000 years after present societal collapse, a future archaeologist marvels at the Great Pyramids but is totally clueless about our present civilization.




posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 03:45 PM
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This exact thing was posted just 3 weeks ago here.

I posted the videos of the documentaries about half way down the first page, it's an hour and a half but worth it if you're interested in this stuff.

The two structures that will last the longest are the hoover dam and mount rushmore.



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 03:48 PM
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The final chapters of "Evolution" by Stephen Baxter are worth reading in this respect.

Some quarries may still be identifiable as artificial features in hundreds of thousands - possibly millions - of years time.

But the real survivor of our society may well be plastic.

btw I am still rather fond of my (non too serious) suggestion that oil deposits are actually just rubbish dumps left by dinosapiens. What will our rubbish dumps become in future as all the plastic and vegetable matter and old fridges decompose and are crushed under subsequent deposits of sediments?



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 04:43 PM
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It would be funny if in 5000 years after present societal collapse, a future archaeologist marvels at the Great Pyramids but is totally clueless about our present civilization.


He or she would be highly inept archaeologists then. If they wouldn't note that mixed into the sand around the pyramids was masses of broken glass, plastic, brick, concrete and refined metals etc. He also might note the modifications of the pyramids done in modern times.



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 08:46 PM
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So I was trying to get a feel for not just how long things would be around, but how long they would be able to still function or at least impart the mechanics of their function.

[edit on 21-8-2008 by asmeone2]

Something that might be of value: The artifacts will persist a great deal longer in the desert than in a damp, forested environment...

Which might help explain Giza and Norte Chico structures in spite of their age being in better shape than European or Mesoamerican structures.



posted on Aug, 23 2008 @ 12:30 AM
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reply to post by Maltese Frog
 


Yep extreme environments will cause certain things to last longer, dry deserts will tend to cover and preserve as will bogs, marshes and peat. Certain soil types are better for preserving bone, etc

400,000 year old javelins were found because they had been immersed in water.

Workablility. Electronic stuff unless put into atmosphere controlled environments or a vaccum will tend to stop functioning rather quickly (archaeologically speaking) . If you had a power source some simplier items might play on for quiet awhile. Late 19th century electrical devices still can work today - if they were well cared for and an appropriate power source is still available.



posted on Aug, 23 2008 @ 07:49 AM
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reply to post by Maltese Frog
 


Whilst I agree that a majority of our present devices - cars, computers, power stations and so forth - would be rendered useless in a period of time which was relatively quick by archaeological standards, I think that enough of our infrastructure might survive for future archaeologists to at least infer a great deal regarding present civilisations.

Say, for example, that archaeologists thousands of years from now stumbled across the remains of the New York subway system. I am not saying that the NYC subway will survive into the future, merely using it as an example. Whilst the tracks would certainly be unserviceable and the trains themselves probably long since crumbled to dust, enough would probably remain that would provide a great deal of information regarding the ancient denizens of New York.

For example, the sheer size of the system - assuming a majority of it could be uncovered or otherwise mapped - might suggest something about the size of the long-vanished city it sat below. This may in turn give a broad estimation regarding population and dispersal. The fact that the structure is artificial means that the civilisation which created it must have had some kind of relatively advanced machinery to carve through the earth, lay tracks (assuming any remain) and - presumably - introduce some form of lighting and aeration.

In this way, I believe that archaeologists of the future would be well-placed to learn a great deal about our present civilisation even if large portions of our infrastructure were destroyed. However, this is not to say that their inferences would necessarily be correct. I have used the example before on this site of the man who is killed whilst watching TV and preserved in that state for 2000 years. Future archaeologists may infer that the TV was some kind of idol or altar, since everything in the room faced towards it. Obviously they would be wrong, but there is a tendency, as my professor used to put it, to ascribe those things for which we have no ready answer to religion.



posted on Aug, 23 2008 @ 11:17 AM
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Howdy J25

Yes any disturbance of the ground will tend to remain. The remains from this present civilization would be massive. A glass coke bottle made in 2008 will be recognizable 5,000, 10,000 even a 100,000 year from now. Even if broken the glass would be noted by an archaeologist of the future (assuming a level of knowledge equal to our own late 19th century or better).

The "everything will disappear myth" seems to come from two main sources. The first is common sense, people know stuff collaspes and disappears but that sense is mistaken. If it gets into the ground it will survive and as noted above some materials essentially last the same and as long as rocks. The second source is man-made, fringe writers trying to promote the ideas of lost civilizations have to explain away the lack of artifacts. Easy solution, just claim that everything will disappear.

This is easily dispensed with by looking at what we can find from earlier civilizations.



posted on Aug, 24 2008 @ 10:08 AM
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One thing that will last will be many concrete structures.

When concrete hardens, it doesn't "dry" but rather it cures. So, concrete that is exposed to moisture for long periods of time gets REALLY hard so that you can't break it with sledge hammers or freezing water cycles, and sometimes not even dynamite.

This is why you see old silos still standing decades after they have ceased to be useful to the farmer. Because the silage is moist, the concrete continues to cure for years. Also, concrete foundations for river bridges and dam structures continue to cure over time, so I would imagine that is why the Hoover dam was identified (besides the fact that it is huge). So, in the absence of erosion forces, reinforced and hardened concrete bunkers, bridge supports, silos, canals, and other such structures will likely be quite intact for thousands of years.



posted on Aug, 24 2008 @ 10:52 AM
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Oh yeah

Good quality concrete is like rock - it will last a long time. Dams and fortifications will be around tens of thousands of years in recognizable form. The Aswan dam would in 5,000 years still be there, Lake Nasser will be silted up and the Nile will have flowed around it. The old fortifications of the Maginot line, Seigfried etc will all be there too.

Also 5,000 years from now Roman constructions of concrete will be doing just fine.



posted on Aug, 24 2008 @ 01:26 PM
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Originally posted by wutone
Most things would break down by 300 years.

Break down? What would break down? Machinery?

The Antikythera mechanism has lasted 2000 years, to the point that we can even reconstruct it. Why would say your average wrist clock be any different?

Hell, we dont even know if something like your common CD plastic casing will decompose in a century, millenia, or more. And that's just one of a gazillion substances that wasnt around 100 years ago.

I do believe that the biggest issue is that no one will find out: If man doesnt live in 300 years, there's no way to know the answer, if man lives in 300 years, we already know none of the stuff we got around us will remain. We'll have thrashed it ourselves and probably rebuilt it a dozen times over.



posted on Aug, 24 2008 @ 05:01 PM
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There are a number of long-term archaeological experiments going on. From building an earthern wall and seeing how long it will last and how it erode. A LOT of material has been put into landfills and we have other items held in storage in museums. We'll have some idea of their rate of decline by observing over the centuries.

I've seen information somewhere on the net where they can estimate how long a certain material will last. I'll endeavor to find that again.



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