time passages

I was poking around the internet looking for something completely different…

No. Not that.

…when I found something utterly unbelievable. Feast your eyes upon it:

The Crypt of Civilization at Oglethorpe University

Dr. Thornwell Jacobs taught ancient history. He was frustrated by how little he really knew about past civilizations. In the interest of making things easier on future generations,  he decided to build a repository of the knowledge of mankind.

Underneath Phoebe Hearst Memorial Hall at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia.

It’s supposed to be opened in 8113, because Dr. Jacobs began the process in 1936, and the Egyptian calendar started in 4241 B.C., and if you consider 1936 the halfway point, then 8113…

It took three years to put 640,000 pages of documents on the new medium called “microfilm”. Other artifacts include a female mannequin, big band recordings by Artie Shaw, a set of AC spark plugs, a fly swatter, a quart of beer, a hair net, a sample of soap shaped like a bull and an Emerson radio. (See the whole list.)

If anything has a chance of surviving the coming Zombie-Nuclear-Pole-Shift-Solar-Eruption Holocaust, the Crypt of Civilization at Oglethorpe University does. Right before sealing the time capsule, the curators siphoned out all the oxygen and replaced it with nitrogen. The microfilm is duplicated on metal film. The machines that play the film and recordings run on mini-windmills. There is even a Rosetta Stone of sorts, in case English is a forgotten language by 8113.

Here’s the University’s time capsule page. And a Popular Mechanics article written at the time.

This is the kind of stuff that sparks big story ideas for me.

It also makes me want to fill a big pickle jar with random things and bury it in the backyard.


About Lisha Cauthen

Lisha Cauthen writes YA novels for guys that girls like to read too.

Posted on March 9, 2011, in oddities and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hilarious! I have mixed feelings about this. It won’t be quite like uncovering Pompeii or Tut’s tomb. 😀

  2. Karlos Mabrillio

    I call dibs on the quart of beer!!! 😉

  3. Judy, I love the fact that they concentrated so much on knowledge and women’s cosmetics.

    And Karl. Oh, Karl. If you make it to 8113 A.D. you may have the quart of beer AND the fly swatter!

  4. You’re so generous, Lisha. Giving away quarts of millenia-aged beer. That stuff’s priceless. I wonder what will happen to it when it’s opened? LOL

    As far as the women’s cosmetics, you know they felt that there was a veil of mystery over everything women did. No one really understood cosmetics back then. Or pantyhose. 🙂

  5. Oh my dear, sweet, YOUNG Victoria, they didn’t make pantyhose back then.

  6. Welll, it says he BEGAN the process in 1936. Unless I’m blind, I don’t see a completion date. If he’s like me, he probably finished and sealed the vault twenty years later in which case, hose might have been available. 🙂 How’s that for slippery logic? LOL

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