Make Future Archaeologists Happy Day

This article isn’t about fake history but about trying to bring back an old tradition; grave goods.

I’m fascinated by the things we find in historical burials, from little trinkets, to valuable ceremonial objects, from priceless jewellery to a child’s toy.
I can’t get enough of hearing about these type’s of finds, they give us a direct connection with someone who died centuries ago, someone who we usually know very little about.
These objects allow us to catch a glimpse of who they were and what their life was like.

Photo by Jdsteakley

Unfortunately the tradition of burying our loved ones with gifts has pretty much died out a long time ago.

So, let’s bring it back!
Besides it being a nice and comforting idea for us and our loved ones to be given something nice and personal for the afterlife, it may also, one day, make a future archaeologist happy!
And who knows, maybe you, in a couple of centuries, will not end up in some museum depot box with “skeleton #824-G” written on it but in stead make the news as a find of historical importance, they may put your remains in an exhibit and perhaps generations of people will stare at you and wonder who you were and what those little amazing objects say about you.

The idea of Make Future Archaeologists Happy Day is that on December 2nd, every year, we remind ourselves and others to think ahead to the day we die and that we should make arrangements to be buried with artefacts.

So start making a list, which things do you want to take with you to the grave?
Besides your secrets obviously.

Look around your house, pick objects that means something to you, that will fit with you in the coffin and most importantly, that will make future archaeologists happy.
Write these things down, add them to your last will and testament or leave it with other important papers and tell your loved ones about it so they can take care of it when you die.
Remember that some objects, such as letters or photos, may need to be laminated or placed in water- and airtight containers.
Just in case, perhaps add a little sign that states that you’re happy to have your remains and/or goods displayed in museums one day?
And yes, I know, graves are often dug up and cleared, but there’s always a chance something is left behind or that the cemetery leaves you be.
If you are sure your remains will not be left to rest in peace very long or if you want to be cremated, you can still participate in MFAH day, just put your gifts for future people in a box and bury them somewhere where you think it will remain undisturbed for centuries, like a time capsule, but all about you.

You can share your grave-goods on social media if you like, it might make other people think about what they’d like to take with them.

Why December 2nd?
I choose this date because it’s David Macaulay‘s birthday.
Mr. Macaulay is an illustrator/writer who made some fantastic books that are responsible for turning quite a few kids into history addicts.
You may have seen some of his books about the building of a Medieval Cathedral, a Roman city, a pyramid, a castle, etc.
Wonderful books full of very detailed drawings.
But he also made a book called ‘Motel of the Mysteries‘ which describes archaeologists from the future digging up an 1970s motel and of course totally misunderstanding the meaning of everything they find.
The book is one of the things hat inspired me to come up with the idea for MFAH day.

So, in short, on this day think about your future grave-goods, make a note of them, share pictures, start the conversation.
And one day perhaps you will make a future archaeologist happy 🙂

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