Posted on by Author: Paul Gilster

Keck-telescopes

‘Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ says Ozymandias’s ruined statue in the desert of Shelley’s imagination.

Shelley’s sonnet is often interpreted as a sober warning that human works are fleeting, but when I read it as a young boy it kindled a sense of adventure; it suggested a wonderfully mysterious past beneath my familiar suburban surroundings.

As a child, I was obsessed with archaeology, the attempt to understand the past through enigmatic remains. I spent many afternoons digging up dark patches of Midwestern soil, as I searched the region’s dense forests for artefacts of the Mississippian Indian cultures. I never found a lost city, but I occasionally turned up an arrowhead that would set me speculating about its owner and how it was lost.

Through archaeology, I came to see landscapes as temporary surfaces that concealed a deep history. The world became rich with hidden texts.

Boyhood obsessions often linger into adulthood, even if they aren’t immediately recognisable. These days I find myself looking up into the Milky Way’s majestic thread, wondering if its stars play host to monuments as haunting as those found in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.

Coninue Reading…http://zen-haven.com/searching-for-the-ruins-of-alien-civilizations/