Make no Mistake: Documenting Life Since the Ancient Egyptians

Uploaded by techEIU on 08.02.2012

♪ [music playing-- no dialogue] ♪ ♪
>> Dr. Wafeek Wahby: Before I start with
welcoming you to the official traditional welcome, I want to
ask you a question, ready, have you ever heard about
the mine of radioactive gold?
A mine of radioactive gold.
if you haven't we are sitting in a room
in a such a mine of radioactive gold right here,
right now and that's Booth Library.
Booth Library is the mine of gold.
And not only gold, just aesthetic gold, but radioactive.
When you walk through the aisles looking through books or videos
or whatever material you are looking for, it's radiating
things that can change your life when you read
it, just changes your mind.
So it has radioactivity, and it is very precious.
I grew up from early childhood loving books.
I used to see my dad was a pastor, reading, preparing his
study, so I grew up loving books.
I like their smell, I like to hold them and change pages and
put my finger here in the word.
So they mean a lot to me, so being in a library to me is a
mine of gold, and it's not just aesthetic gold.
It is radioactive.
And I leave a better person when I come to the library, so thanks
to all the lirarians in this room and guess what?
It started a long time ago, make no mistake.
Without much ado, Dean Lanham.
[audience applause]
>> Dean Allen Lanham: Well thank you, some
of you are camping out here and that is wonderful.
What we all would like to do.
So today, I thought I would share with you some of the
things that interest me about ancient Egypt and how it
connects to not only my life, but your life and the life of
libraries and other things.
What I won't be doing is talking about the
grand library of Alexandria.
There are other people who already talked about
that, and there is more to come in this series.
But nonetheless, I will look at some of the remnants of the
ideas of the period, but actually my title comes from
a conversation with Wafeek Wahby.
And I don't know if he remembers the conversation at all, but he
was describing to me about the ancient scribes and how they're
sitting at the rock tablet, the stone tablet, you know chiseling
these letters away and getting everything just right.
And you know it struck me that with just a turn of the chisel,
they would change history as we know it in a variety of ways.
And so my caution in that is make no mistake when you are
documenting because it does come back to you,
and scholars base their lives and write their books and
treatises on evidence they find.
And we don't know if perhaps the scribe was incorrect that day or
feeling bad or got his arm bumped and did something wrong,
and so I'm thinking documenting life you know since these
Egyptians all had the same effect.
Today look at the editors, the proofreaders, the scholarship
that goes into producing any document, and I refer back to
the one that is of course related to this symposium,
and I know what it takes to put together something like that
and try not to make a mistake.
And several eyes may give you a different effect in the final
product, so as I was looking through what we might talk about
today related to libraries and information and related somehow
to music that is my background as well.
I wasn't in Ancient Egypt, although I may look like I might
have been there.
I wasn't there, so all of this is in turn borrowed from others
who have shared with us along the way.
And there have been as you can imagine many.
It goes back to knowledge is power, and so you look back into
Ancient Egypt, you have those people who were extremely
wealthy and others who might've had some kind of profession
and then others who were trying to make it to the end of
the day by finding food or fire or something else that
they might get through that part of their life with.
How many of these people had knowledge of their own life,
their own surroundings, yes maybe they have a few blocks
around them, but others then could actually write or read or
transcribe and actually know about more, so much more.
And as we look through various societies, we know that very
often people hide knowledge from others.
We find it here in the library.
There are several librarians here [unclear dialogue].
What happens in any library?
Someone gets in, especially in the older period a couple of
generations back, the professor would give the assignment
at 9 'o' clock, class would be over at 10.
The student would run over here and hide the information for the
next three weeks because they then would have the
power in the classroom.
Today with the Internet, it's harder to do that,
you know, but a casual book among a million others
among the shelves, you know where it's hidden.
And so knowledge is power and remains power.
Look at this from one of the tombs,
can you read it in the back?
It's a little far back, "Listen all of you!
"The priests of Hathor will [unclear dialogue]
"any of you who enter this tomb or does harm to it.
"The gods will comfort him because
"I am honored by his lord.
"The gods will not allow anything to happen to me.
"Anyone who does anything bad to my tomb, then the crocodile,
"hippopotamus, and lion willl eat him."
Okay, so it's spreading the knowledge that if you do
anything to me even after death, I oh holy one, you will discover
the wrath of, and this is the first time I knew that the
hippopotamus could throw wrath towards individuals,
but I suppose you can.
So here as you read down the various figures, etcetera,
there's a message that someone has left behind
to steer people away.
Of course, we've already in this conference looked
at Indiana Jones and all his powers and bravery.
I'm not sure we would all be as brave, especially when we're
talking about snakes and frogs, which we will see
later in this presentation.
But much of what we know about one civilization or one lifetime
can tend to be hidden.
And so we see here, the scientists who with this small
implement is blowing sand away from something very important.
Like you would drive through the fog,
and you knew that there was a cliff beside the road.
You would go very carefully.
And of course the scientist is doing the same thing, carefully,
carefully, we're going to find what is under here.
And you can see the magnificent drawings that are under here,
covered by what?
Any and everything that someone has thrown there or the wind has
blown there or the river has brought up in the three month
flood that always happened for so long.
So we owe much of what we know about the Ancient Egyptians to
not only the people who did it to begin with, but to those who
have resurrected it for us.
And this continues, and those of you who were in Dr. Hoffmeier's
presentation on Thursday or Friday realized that that type
of work can be very exciting, but very, what,
it could be very tedious, it could be very hot,
it could be very uncomfortable.
And yet, eureka!
You come upon something that no one has come upon for thousands
of years perhaps.
For example, we throw the Rosetta Stone around all the
time, but has anyone actually seen it in the British museum?
A few of us, you can walk right by it
and think it's a doorstop, almost.
And where they have it, or when I was in the British museum,
it looked like it was holding the door open.
And then I'm like, oh my gosh, look what this is,
and maybe they thought that they were putting it in
a place of prominence, and it didn't seem to me yet from this
and you can see the heading here from the caption.
And from this, we are able to decipher so much about
Ancient Egypt and bring information forward for next
many generations to come and so had we not found this,
and whoever found it, and I'm sorry I'm not an Egyptologist
and this is not actually my specialty here.
But I can say whoever did find it, it was important that they
knew what it was or could recognize that there are three
different languages going on here and they are actually
the translations or the key to the castle,
to the understanding of past knowledge.
I love this photo from 1954, this is not very old.
I too was here, and several of you were about to be born.
And here in one of the excavations sites, they are
trying to look back and look to what trouble they are having to
do to look back into ancient society.
You must build, you must uncover, you must carefully
brush off, I'm not totally sure exactly what they're doing here.
It's certainly an official look at probably something new or
recent dig here, but my point is it takes a lot more effort
to uncover it, than perhaps it would've taken
to keep it uncovered and bringing it into our society.
Well just in the last session, Dr. Wahby said,
"Well, we'll have this as long as the Internet survives."
We're like well how long will that be, and we don't know.
No one knows, we hope that it keeps going,
but what we depend upon other specialists to do is to bring
that information forward through another form of translation
or another key or another Rosetta Stone.
Unfortunately, there's a company now that's Rosetta Stone that
sells language tapes, you know, language materials for you
to learn how to travel the world.
But I'm fascinated by things that are
uncovered, just as you are.
All of the sudden this becomes personal doesn't it?
They look like this, somebody didn't make this up because if
they did, they wouldn't look as close to what we still look
like, I don't think.
They might have had different appendages or a different look.
But this is very normal looking to us, and yet when you look at
some of the other drawings, it's not quite as normal,
it doesn't always look as normal.
Here, this is one of the images on your program, so the caption
there for you to look at, but I'm fascinated here,
the symmetry, the grandness of this, what it would take to
build a structure so large.
And this symposium has helped you learn how these were built,
and so we don't have to go over that again.
But I'm struck by what is written on
each of these and why.
And we've learned that much of what is described there turns
out to be descriptive of what the Pharoah was thinking or
wanted to be remembered for, or perhaps thinking his parents
or his wife or saying that remember we'll be,
we'll go down in history for staving off the warriors from
whatever tribe or something like that.
Maybe it's historical things like that,
of course we don't really know.
This might say [unclear dialogue]
too or if there was a school trip anywhere nearby,
you know what it's going to say on there.
So hopefully the teacher keeps the class moving
so they don't upset history once again as we go through.
We think of very large monuments when we think of Ancient Egypt,
you know, as we have the Sphinx here and of course
only one of the hundreds of pyramids that are there.
And yet quite frankly, Dr. Stimac told us just an hour ago
about how this was a not brought here, this was already here and
they merely added something that would make it look normal
and natural and be there and decorate or
to be symbolic of whatever.
And so this whole thing of geologic formation already
occurring there and someone saying oh you know I think that
could be [unclear dialogue].
Setting up to do it is really, it shows
creativity and artistic ingenuity.
Of course I'm afraid most of our history is going down like this
[unclear dialogue] perhaps you can tell, maybe not.
What is going on here?
I'm not sure.
I think maybe the later civilizations took away parts
of the body they didn't want there.
Maybe like they did later in the Roman and Greek sculptures
where certain body parts were eliminated.
We don't know that that didn't happen.
But also there's a variety of things going on there.
The person depicted there seems to be painting her lips
and is that a mirror that she is holding.
We don't know.
I don't know, maybe others do.
Here my favorite scribes, these are the people that when I think
of if I were an ancient Egyptian what would I want to be,
and I think I would like to be the scribe.
Just sitting there writing all this stuff down, knowing how to
read, knowing how to write, knowing how to take instructions
from others and really having the final say so right.
Because probably very often the ones that you were doing it for
didn't know what you did after you wrote it down.
And so here we have them and they're careful, very careful.
It's prepared just like you know two number two
pencils of behind the ear.
Ready for any situation and to continue their work.
Scribes were so important that we had an inspector of scribes.
Someone who would say that you truly know what you're doing
or were going to inspect you to make sure
that you're worthy of the title.
And I love this in the tradition, here's
[unclear dialogue] down here.
You might overlook that if you're just walking by, you're
just struck by the man's face or the tablet
and all of a sudden the whole family is all around its feet.
This happens in several of the areas or artworks found.
Here's one other this is the scribe that is found in Memphis
right outside of Cairo, another ancient capital there,
which I find interesting.
You look at the Illinois area, and you find Cairo down at the
bottom of Illinois and just down the river a little bit,
Memphis of course, and so we are bringing other parts
of the world very locally to what we're doing here.
This guy almost looks like a buddha, I think he is eating too
well to be a scribe.
So what do we need to do, we need to over time the few people
who knew how to do these things, it was generalized,
we would all become fluent in writing, learning, reading,
expressing ourselves, doing all these types of things.
And yet when we do, we have to find a way in which to capture
those thoughts, capture the history of all this.
I had to stick that in too down here.
I don't think that happened because the inspector of scribes
would have had you decapitated probably.
Okay and so it's written that we need to document life as
we go on, and I'm not going into the areas
but you can think why we need this.
The whole thing, we need to document who owns the property,
the marriage, and all these types of things,
they're obsessed with driver's licenses,
and death certificates.
We're all trying to find out what happens, you know, and it's
necessary to know those things for a variety of reasons, but if
we didn't capture those and there are societies that don't
really capture those, they say they do, but you know
even in my mom's case, um, when she went to get
her birth certificate she found out she had a different name.
Because it was recorded maybe a year or two after the birth of
the child in the particular place that she was living.
And so that leaves a bit of space for us to forget what
the child's name was, and she is not the only instance,
I know others, who had to find out what their real name was.
It could be by the time the county agent came around to
record the birth that they had changed their mind what the name
might be, which happens a lot too.
But as we look back to ancient Greek society,
these things to us look like decoration, but it's always
telling a story of something and very authentic.
It's a different story as we learned from Dr. Hoffmeier.
It could be a different story because when one Pharaoh,
one king died, we just started into a different direction.
He died on a Sunday, well on Monday, we're marching this way,
and whatever the story entails and products that
had been deemed necessary the whole story might change.
Hair ornamentation really hasn't changed very much has it?
Links us right back to there, but I don't see any of you
ladies with some kind of gazelle in your
hair, but it could happen.
Ancient Egyptian culture and interest is continually renewed,
in our society, and I don't know if all others,
but in our society, King Tut just opened up a whole new
world of old Egypt to us.
Wasn't it true?
And it seemed to come in waves because first of all there was
the discovery, and then there was the books that came with it
and the films, and we were all just King Tutting everything.
Then came all the traveling exhibits to all the major
museums in the United States, and then it made its return
three or four years ago to Chicago, so we all have been
rather intrigued by the Ancient Egyptians, of course,
by what they had to offer and who knows what is still
below the earth for us to record.
They didn't he was there until they found him, right?
Let's skip this little librarian thing, although I did bring a
book that for those of you the graphic novels of iLlibrarian
have in here stories [unclear dialogue] using
depictions of Ancient Greek, or Ancient Egyptian characters.
You know it doesn't stop, does it?
Look at what we have here in terms of the various
[unclear dialogue],
can someone tell me what they think is here?
What is she concerned with or thinking about or famous for?
Do any of those look familiar, and you see lots of birds,
ducks, doves, river, you see a river here that leads to water.
You don't know exactly, but here is one with the male, and what
do we find that he's concerned with or famous for,
or thinking about, or wants to be remembered for.
More weapons, or things that look like weapons, the animals
have, there are still birds and doves and all these things
but what else is there.
What was one of the plagues that was discussed this morning?
The frogs, locusts, here's another one.
Here we have a detail of the previous [unclear dialogue] and
here and notice on the bird on the right sharp talons
and the teeth or some fighting aparatus from the mouth,
I'm not sure exactly what it is.
Ferocious cats, frogs that changed society at one time or
another, that we learned this morning in the religion area.
On the other hand, here's something that probably is
very symbolic, but I saw it as something rather frivolous of
showing a dancer maybe and it could be a very sacred dance.
I don't think so, it looks like a girl having fun.
But someone took the time to pose or someone took the time
to put it down.
I just put Nefertiti's face in here because we haven't talked
about her for the past four days, and if you turn the clock
back before King Tut that's about the
only one that anybody knew.
So that's what I put there.
This is showing up on one of the [unclear dialogue]
to Queen Nefertiti, and it goes back to the cattle
and the importance of the cattle and the horns, once again,
these are the seven cattle with all kinds of other things
depicted here of course.
And you know we can spend the next six months reading
and deciphering these, but notice the colors.
Here lack of color and yet nonetheless very impressive.
Now if you would were the scribe doing this, do you think you
would err on the side of making this person look
more virile, more stronger, wiser, more important?
I think you would.
Notice the fine detail with the drawings at the top.
And yet how soft is this from the alabaster mines that were
described in Dr. Stimac's talk earlier today, very gentle.
Also the presence of women throughout society, as which we
will have some discussions later on in this series about women
and their role in the society.
But if we look down through here, and I just threw
a few of these, there could be five hundred of them
but just to get you started.
We've come a long way here from carving into stone or to putting
wet clay around objects and then drawing into the clay
and then firing the clay again to all the way down to
these microphones and electronic files that
we hope will stay alive over time.
And yet we're already in the second or third generation
of electronic files and many of them
are unreadable at this time.
So we must take care as we proceed that we can continue
to keep up with history and our place in society.
We've gone from copying everything by hand,
one thing I will throw out about the Library of Alexandria,
remember any ship that stopped in the Alexandria harbor was
raided for books.
They would go on to board, they would send soldiers on to every
ship that came from any other society in the world that
might be training there.
And they would rob and borrow the originals,
take them to the library, copy them, and then do what?
Give the copy back to the ship, okay?
And that's how you get a very rich library.
>> audience member: [unclear dialogue]
>> Dr. Lanham: No, you heard right.
They would give the copy back to whoever brought it.
That reminds me of a similar instance, except even harsher
in our own lifetime.
>> audience member: [unclear dialogue]
>> Dr. Lanham: Well yes that goes,
that continues, but I am thinking of a library
in particular, the National Library of Cuba where yes you
can leave our country, but you must leave everything here and
we will put everything into our library thank you very much,
watch out for the waves.
And that's how they built their library.
The National Library of Cuba, I think, I forget how many volumes
it holds, they built it within 3 or 4 years of the revolution,
and it was supposed to last 40 years, 20, 30, 40, 50 years,
but because so many people left the island because they
wanted to get away from the revolution regime to come.
The library filled up to capacity and overflowing
within 3 or 4 years from riches from somebody else.
So we're not all without guilt and over the years as we try to
pull in information together and you can bring that home right
today where people are stealing things off of the Internet
right as we sit here.
People wherever they can find information, and we go back to
information is power and that is what we will go back on.
So as you can see there, we used to copy by hand and then we
finally got to movable type, and this is thousands of years later
and now hundreds of years later we're doing
electronic files reading them and etcetera.
The whole thing of compiling information into something
that was handy, of course, has gotten much easier.
But if we look here this is from around 692,
and the Pope Gregory's were quite interested in
a lot of things, and this was Codex that a copy
went to Pope Gregory II, but look at the true bookcase
where it was going to be actually shut and locked as
soon as this person was finished with what he was doing there.
It could be a scribe here I'm not exactly sure,
but the idea of keeping that information from others,
but also keeping it safe is very important through today.
As you walk out of the library, you'll be zapped by an
electronic object seeing if you're taking anything from this
library, so some things never change as we go along.
But these, the next 3 or 4 slides just bring up
from different illuminated manuscripts and paintings
and whatever, the importance that we give to the scribes
and then the scholars and the people who may be able to read.
Today we think everybody should be able to read and write.
But that's very late to the party, we went centuries where
it really didn't matter if you could barter your way through
the market, be fed, and get home, and do all that
and do it again tomorrow, that was enough maybe.
But as we go through here, you can see once again now we've
tied volumes together, they're probably so heavy
you couldn't drag them home if you wanted to
and there's someone there to make sure they stay.
This is a few centuries after Ancient Egypt.
Here we have people writing and reading and talking about
information that they are finding in written materials.
I love we have someone here with a scroll, a couple of scrolls,
he's writing on the scroll.
This one seems to be, someone's holding the great books up here,
up there, someone may be studying for the next lecture.
I think I may recall reading about this particular theme,
and it's early university life, and here we have a chair.
So the symbolic as the chair.
Today it's a little thing on 4 wheels that looks like everybody
elses, but in those days that person was elevated and could
yell across the room and spread the information that they were
interested in spreading to overtake perhaps
much of the conversation that is going on in the room.
Finally a library here, it looks Dutch to me,
I don't know and forgive me for not giving you exact specifics,
you would forget them if I told you.
I would unless it was written down, but if you want to know
specifically where each one of these came from
I can provide that for you.
What I'm interested in here is the classification scheme here,
Mathematics, Philosophy, Literature, Theology,
Medicine, HIstory.
There's more Theology than History.
There's very little, some disciplines are very small in
this particular library and stayed that way for a long time.
But notice what happens here, if I'm not mistaken these are
chains so if you wanted to look at one of those books,
you would request from the library to look at it.
They would chain it to the desk here and you could stand up
and read it for as long as you wish.
Now if that is not what is happening there then we
could find other photos and illustrations that that is
what was happening there.
You remember the name of the Rose the movie from the
1970s or 1980s where the library was finally torched,
but all the books were chained to the desk so
they couldn't get them out to save them.
So anyway, I'm fascinated with the idea that we're trying to
classify the information and yet let a few people know about it.
Also, as you look at some more areas of the Rennaissance
and later periods, we always have these portraits
of important groups of people or individuals,
there's always a book.
You know that's the knowledge or this is the ledger
of things that people owe me
or this is how I've recorded what is important to me.
And so, you know, here we've just tossed them, but we have
several books here that we've just thrown them on the table.
And a few of these were also very wise here with a map
of a couple big blobs because they probably
had no idea what was on other places.
But nonetheless, if you were a fine, rich,
and upstanding person you were supposed to surround
yourself with information.
This is a recent drawing of an old library but with ghosts
of the past or authors or ideas floating into the air.
It gets a little nebulus, I love this when there is the Director
I think of one of the earlier Egyptian museums.
What's important to this man?
Obviously the thoughts of others,
unless he's the author of those.
I don't think it's the Sears Catalogue
that is surrounding him there.
I imagine that it's work that other scholars have prepared on
the collections of the museum, the holdings in the library
and very important things.
But he is pretty much glazed over with so much information,
it reminds me of today with information overload.
He needs a good cataloguer on his staff.
Once again another dandy with a book in his hand, and today,
and I've jumped centuries here, and forgive me here,
I'm just trying to drag you through history here.
So we have typewriting on the roof, I think, in Los Angeles.
And we have, of course up there, all kinds of miraculous things
that we are studying and reproducing and digesting
information with the computer and probably
that [unclear dialogue] probably displays electronically.
As we go through lifetime, there have been persons who write more
in their lifetime than we can read in hours.
And I think, I'm a musician, and I think back to the works
of Mozart and Bach.
You know Mozart died when he was 36.
It would take two of us to drag his works in here on carts.
And hundreds of hours to perform and to read those manuscripts.
And the same thing with Bach, you know, and make no mistake,
the little joke, the very old joke about Bach was
of course that Bach had 23 children and practiced on
a spinster in the attic.
There's a little mistake there that has changed
history if you believe that.
Instead of the spinnet piano, he's found something else going
on up there, but we look at the life of Anne Frank.
I just grabbed a little handful of these things,
and yet because of her writings because of her desire
to capture, to imagine, to what, to write, think, read, express,
we have people who can't get enough of
her recounts of the times.
And we have used her works, some of which are here, to describe
and to illustrate the lives of thousands
of people in the same period.
And we've gone forward in the "Treasures from the Attic"
are the items that were in her aunt's home after the diaries
became famous.
Later on, we found 600 photographs and old letters
and things from the Frank family that once again opened up
the world even more.
Had she, had Anne not written, and had those things not been
found and dusted off, we might have lost all of that and not
paid attention to the 600 things that were in the attic of the
aunt because that would have been dumped in a fire or sold at
an auction.
Think about it.
Because they would be totally unimportant, and yet it has
described for us a great epic in the history of the world just by
a child basically writing some things every day.
And we don't have time to look at some
of those, I'll leave those marked.
There are some illustrations and captions you can look for.
But you know the same thing through Shakespeare, you know, I
asked Karen, she said she would not bring all the Shakespeare
works up here in the room.
I was trying to get her to do it, but the, it's impossible to
tote the works of these people around because
they are so voluminous.
And yet, it was natural to them, and what, these composers,
we are still finding manuscripts written by Mozart.
Because the day he wrote it, somebody came to visit
and he was like, "Here you can have it".
So they took it.
They didn't really know what they had perhaps or they
cherished it enough to hide it away,
and then 200 hundred years later someone has found it.
Once again in the attic or the garage, you know the worst place
you could put print materials was in the attic of a home
or in the garage.
And for the most part, that is where we
find all of these things.
Sometimes they end up in museums by mistake and 50 years later,
someone from the museum archives will turn the page
and there's another piece that the world
has never been aware of.
Once again someone took the time to write it down,
someone took the time to save it
and then someone lost it and then someone found it.
It keeps going no matter how many centuries have gone by.
So it's back to I didn't mention the diaries and letters.
So here's the scoop on everything if
you want to find out.
So that's a little snapshot of today.
If we go back, there were some other things that weren't
related to the Kings and Pharoahs and Queens of the Nile.
Some people were looking for the next fish and someone,
we don't know who, put it down, it looks quite interesting.
I would not want to eat this thing from the Nile,
maybe it ws safer then, but look how many other creatures are
in the paper here.
And it could be that they had an extra hour before they
got off work the next day and drew some more fish
or whatever, but I don't think so.
I think times were abundant during certain periods
of the year, and these artists have helped us to do it.
Here we have Ramses.
Oh its the Sun, the Sun is on one side.
Look at this,
How ornate do you need a box to put your sandals?
Today we come from the beach and kick those off at the door
and hope that the sand stays in the garage.
But these, of course, were royal shoes and royal shoes
command attention of all kinds of things.
So before you put them on, you realize
how great an individual you are.
This is a battle we were famous for.
It could have been what is known here as the county fair, right?
I don't know, could be.
Other things, here's an ornamental tub with
a pleasure boat on the top.
Many civilizations have these pleasure boats.
That it took so much human power to drag that boat
out to the water, so that 2 or 3 royal people could sit
for a couple of hours and have cucumber sandwiches, I guess,
if they had those.
My point here is someone has taken the time to document
and here in tapestry form the same thing.
Tell a story.
In libraries, we have preserve, preserve, preserve, museums,
the historical society, the hoarders, and packrats.
We've got a very bad reputation recently in the television for
going overboard, but nonetheless without hoarders and packrats,
we would have lost things of importance over time.
And yet on the other hand, there are other people in the world
who go destroy, destroy, destroy, don't let them know
about this, destroy this letter after you read it my darling.
You've read about those.
Book burnings, you don't have to go too far to
find people burning books.
There are family friendly groups burning books today somewhere
in America, waving the flag above it.
In certain civil unrest, we have torn down the statues that
described our societies over and over for hundreds of years.
And then boom on a Saturday, there's a revolution,
and what comes down first?
It's always, always that document shredding.
It is rampant at Eastern and at every other institution.
There's not an office without a shredder.
Because what I said yesterday, I don't want people to
know or may not still be true.
Or maybe we don't need this, or I can't tell them that,
so it's going back to knowledge is power.
If I leave this on my desk, someone will find out.
And you know think about all the wonderful information that
is now captured on people's cell phones
and other electronic handheld devices.
And when they die or lost or get dumped into the water,
which they seem to do.
Every time there is a new model available,
there is a wealth of information being destroyed
about our society.
It behooves us today to try to capture for the rest.
In terms of documenting things,
I just put a few things down here.
We've looked at hieroglyphics from Ancient Egypt.
You saw some Latin writings in some of the areas,
but every profession turns out to have his own language
and found ways in which to describe that in detail.
So a funny book came across my desk the other day.
It was "Guide to a Hodown" or something like that, and
it was dancing instructions for square dancers in the 1950s.
Not a very widely held document, but in the town of Charleston,
there are actually 2 of these.
I thought it was unusual, and maybe someone came around
and had a dance here in the 1950s
and sold books after it was over.
You know that's like getting the word out, we tried to do that.
And so everyone, the dancers, they all want to know
how did the famous do it?
And so they have documented that in a way.
The artists certainly have how many formats
and how many media do we have for artists to be expressive.
Think of the chemists.
My chemistry teacher used to say, I can see in the chart
on the back of the wall that such and whatever has
blah, blah, blah, and there was no chart
on the back of the wall.
Every student kept turning around looking for
the famous chart was in his head.
The cartographers, we've represented
those beautifully in this series.
Educators in their curriculum guides
and other kinds of things.
Musicians, think of the notes,
some people can read it, some people can't.
To some it's indecipherable, it's always in the wrong
language, and forbid you buy a German opera in
a French translation, you know, these kinds of things happen.
But the amazing thing is these people have found ways to
document their life and what is interesting and what is
important to them, and our culture is richer because of it.
I just had to stick this in because I love this picture.
It's in your program also, so you have one for your house too.
But we always think about the dry arid areas,
and yet they probably spruced the river up,
is it ever this blue?
>> male speaker: Sometimes.
>> Dean Lanham: Sometimes, okay,
I'm glad it is, maybe the sky has given it this lovely color,
but what I am thinking of, just stare at the top
and then imagine that someone has divined that
we need this on the other side to document our life,
to show that we are artistic, to show that we are capable
of understanding physics and engineering and other sciences
that we know the difference in this cap of the column
and that one.
It's the makeup of civilization,
and the desire to be remembered later.
Some of it's to impress your neighbors today, let's face it,
but in the long run, it comes out to be
symbolic of a learned people.
So I say make no mistake, be careful,
the world is full of bloopers--you don't have to
look far on our American television to find those.
But it's impossible to record everything, but something
needs to live on, so that our archaeologists don't have to
take the little bulb and go dusting the sand away from the
documents that were important for our civilization and our
time on this earth.
So I'm saying make your mark, join the historical society,
be a patron of the museum and library.
Make sure that these items that we want remembered
the hodown that took place in 1957 in Greenup
has been well documented, and it resides
at Eastern Illinois University's library.
Those are very important.
Before I go to that, I'll stop for questions.
Or comments, or you can draw me a little picture
of [unclear dialogue] or whatever.
>> Dr. Wahby: I have a quick question.
Do we know if papyrus started first
or writing on stone started first?
>> Dean Lanham: I'm, from my readings,
and I could be wrong, this is not necessarily my area.
I will refer you to a wonderful book written on the subject by
Daniel Boorstin, the librarian of Congress, which he goes in
careful detail where all of the items came from
what their past was or whatever.
I would guess that the stone was before the papyrus,
and then the papyrus was before the parchment, etcetera,
but I will leave that for you to explore.
>>Dr. Wahby: Do we have any
information about the Sumerian language and the
hieroglyphic which fed into the other how and so forth?
>> Dean Lanham: I don't know.
I'll have to research that to find out.
>> Dr. Wahby: But it seems that there
is urge in the human nature to document,
and I think if I have a thermometer of
measuring this urge, it was as strong in us as in them.
>> Dean Lanham: I think so too.
It was strong for different strata in this civilization.
People were always scribbling something,
children playing hopscotch.
One will draw the little chart, and somebody else
will decorate it with curly cues, paint it pink,
and do all these kinds of things.
There is a desire within some people perhaps more to ornament
more than others, but the idea of getting it on paper,
on some surface is very strong.
Cut in stone is too much work, I can tell you that, right?
>> Dr. Wahby: Any other questions?
>> female speaker: Yes, how big is
the Rosetta Stone?
>> Dean Lanham: The Rosetta Stone is about
this big, as far as I can remember,
it is not a large piece.
And like I said when you're going from one hallway to
another and you cross a glass door, you could trip over it.
it's right there, almost behind the door, so don't miss it.
Maybe they moved it to a more prominent space at this time
or maybe they thought that was the most prominent because
you would trip over it, but that's there.
Some other materials that I did bring along of like documents,
actually there are documents, this one happens to come from
the National Archives, and it's talking about
the records of the post-Civil War.
Federal agencies documenting the lives of slaves, and when you're
doing that research handy guide in this little book,
and I'll leave it sitting out, it shows you the papyrus rolls
and the way they kept them on the shelf.
And I note that very often, the scribe failed to put the authors
name, but they would put the scribe's name on
the finished document.
So when you're looking back sometimes you're not going
to get all the information you might think
just like when you're reading a freshman's term paper.
I laid this volume out on the Mormon desire to document
genealogy and family history, and their efforts in since this
century to well since the 1800s to get involved
in documenting all sorts of information on individuals
and their family status.
Of course it started to be all related to their church,
but they moved way past that.
I think I'll stop there and end with a cute little thing.
When people saw that I was going to do this talk, they said,
"Well, I only have one question and
surely you'll talk about this".
And it was, does anybody know what it is?
What's your biggest question about the whole thing?
It's like, did the Egyptians really walk like that?
It goes back to the song from the 1980s,
"Walk Like an Egyptian", you know.
Randy, can I use you as an example?
How do you think or how have you seen Egyptians walk?
Just take a stance, you don't have to walk,
just what stance would you take with the body?
Show us yours, there's one!
What's another one?
Okay, Larry, come here, there's another one,
what about this one?
You've seen that, right?
I found a picture, I finally found a picture, would you
strike that pose please.
This was in the [unclear dialogue]
was drawn the Egyptian holding their arms
like that, walking like the crazy American Egyptian,
but the only thing I found documented was that they
were holding platters of food and perfumes and other things,
delivering them to someone, so I thank you.
So I looked on the Internet and came up with a
little blurb that just takes a couple of minutes,
if you have time, okay.
Are we not going to be able to hear this?
if so we are going to cut that off immediately.
Well I'm sorry the volume is not going to work for us,
but I finally did find what they thought,
how they thought Egyptians walked.
So I thought I'll bring this in case someone asks a question,
and we'll have them walk through,
if it's not going to come through for us.
You can find it for yourself by doing a Google search, walk like
an Egyptian, choose the Bangles, the girl group Bangles
that are on there, it's about 3 minutes and you will laugh.
>> Dr. Wahby: Any other questions?
[audience applause]
[no dialogue]