Originally Posted by MarcUK
It would be interesting to work out, that if we suddenly ceased to exist tomorrow, how much of out present civilization would remain detectable for future civilizations.
I can imagine that present civilization would be detectable for hundreds of thousands of years, but, would the roman civilization be detectable for a really long time? I think not.
Weeeell... Lower stone age cultures had a very light 'footprint' but we still find evidence of the way Palaeolithic people hunted and lived, in hearths, tools, refuse (bones, broken tools, middens) and art. And unlike the Romans, they never built any permanent structures of any kind! I'd think that Roman civilisation would be detectable for... ever, really, if you were a future archeologist dedicated to exploring the evidence for 'Romans'...
Originally Posted by MarcUK
Ice ages would pretty much eradicate and evidence for civilization where they occur, but civilizations that survived around the equator, would probably build over ancient civilizations pretty quickly and destroy the archaelogical record.
Apparently not... even in London we find evidence of Elizabethan culture, Medieval culture, Roman culture, Pre-Roman culture, Neolithic culture and Palaeolithic culture. The evidence really persists; you just have to look under the next bit, a few centimetres deeper. Human leavings are really distinctive.
Successive Ice Ages have still left us plenty of evidence of Palaeolithic cultures in Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa, and evidence of older hominid presence and habits. It's really clear that the Americas have no permanent structures of any kind until really, really recently, for example. The evidence for great lost civilisations just isn't there, and it should be if we can find evidence of other, earlier hominids and the things they made and did. In southern Africa the continuity of the archeological record relating to human beings is pretty complete over 200,000 years.
You could probably argue that if there were ancient, lost civilisations they would have left some kind of evidence of trade, settlement or influence on 'foreign' cultures still living stone age stylee... and as far as I'm aware, there's none. People have made this stuff their lives' work and I've never read or heard anything like that, not even in the whackier fringes.
Well, maybe in the whackier fringes. There's people like Graham Hancock, for example. When I read him I want to kill him, because he doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about. My area of so-called 'expertise' is the art of Palaeolithic cultures in southern Africa and Europe, and when he writes about this I can tell you, he a) makes stuff up (b) doesn't have a clue about the state of research there and (c) only sees what he wants to see. If he does the same with Ancient Egyptian and Meso-American culture, as I suspect he does, I can promise you his books are total cuckie.