Tuesday, August 23, 2005

[geek] Interesting lessons from our past

Lessons in community and biodiversity, provided by a group of 5 archeologists and historians running a 17th century farm in Wales for an entire year using nothing but period equipment. No, this isn't a remake of "Frontier House" or what have you - no soap operas dressed in period cloting here. The folks doing this were all well-versed in the period prior to participating in the project - but only from an academic perspective. This was intended to provide them with some valuable hands-on insights into the reality of their chosen era of study. A sampling:
1. Know thy neighbours. Today it's possible to live alone, without knowing anyone within a 20-mile radius (the same goes for townies). That was simply not possible in the past - not only did the neighbours provide social contact, people shared labour, specialist skills and produce.
9. Reliance on any one thing leaves you vulnerable. Hence the country ground to a halt during the petrol blockades of 2000, and a shortage of coal during 1978-9's Winter of Discontent caused electricity shortages. On the 1620s farm, when oxen used to plough fields fell ill, the implements were reshaped and horses did the job instead.
While I do have some rural/early-tech skills, I know I sure as hell couldn't live like this - but this may be a glimpse of shades of our future as well, if Peak Oil comes to pass. The producer's site can be found here.


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