As places go, the United States isn’t very old, only about 250 years old. You have to travel to Europe or Asia to find really old artifacts. One of the best places to find old construction is the State of Israel. Itself, it is pretty new, having been founded in 1948. But the Covenant from God, giving the land to the Jews, is pretty old, dating from around 2000 BC. In 2007, we visited Israel with Michael Medved, and I had a chance to explore the land of my ancestors All over Israel, you find ancient things. One place we visited was the Fortress of Masada, where, in the year 73AD, a band of Jews fought to the death, and committed suicide rather than be captured by the Romans.
This is how you get from the ground to the top of the massive fortress built right into the mountainside. A very new mode of transport up the walls of an ancient structure. Here’s a sample of what you see when you get there.
Fast-forward to 1991. In the summer, I spent a magical three weeks in Cambridge, England, on a UCLA program, studying Medieval English Society. We went a numerous field trips around the area, visiting towns and castles dating from the period. One of my favorite places was the monastery of Bury St. Edmunds. We read the memoirs of a monk, Jocelyn de Brakelond, who lived at the monastery about 1080-1100 AD.
See how the relatively new house is built right into the medieval ruins!
The houses on the High Street in Lavenham date from the medieval period. I think the vehicles are newer than that!
This was me in 1991. The doorway in the College where we stayed, dates from the 14th Century.
Orford Castle was built in the late 1170s. I don’t think the builders of the castle had access to the device next to the hearth.
I think we should appreciate old things, especially ancient things that have survived to today. Much of what we build nowadays is not built to last centuries, so maybe people hundreds of years from now won’t remember us as easily as we remember the ancient Israelites, or the early English.
As Ralph Stanley, the well-known Bluegrass artist used to say “Watch where you’re goin’, and never forget where you came from”.
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