Thursday, March 05, 2009

Field Trip to Seattle

The traveling Lucy exhibit includes more recent Ethiopian history, with a focus on Aksum and Gondar, the various religious influences, Italy's more recent occupation.

Britain accepted the occupation at first, welcomed Italy to the colonial club, reversed itself later. The Soviet Union never did accept the occupation and one of the audio tracks mentions the Russian airplane used to transport an important stolen relic back to its native context.

The history is much longer and more twisted than a small exhibit might fit, but at least it hits some of the high points: Queen of Sheba, descendants of King Solomon, Arc of the Covenant... Stuff homo sapiens were into, long after Lucy's species had ended its tenure.

Lake Tana looks interesting: lots of islands with sacred sites. Dawn would have liked going there maybe, given her esoteric interests.

Haile Selassie's message, that racism must end if Africa is to ever have peace, gets some good press. He didn't consider himself a god though.

Hominids (bipedalists) leave a complicated puzzle going back some six million years, with many makes and models in the fossil record. Paleontologists have their various pet theories of how to fit the puzzle pieces together.

The Lucy fossil, some 3.18 million years old, was on display in the last room, the climax of the exhibit. She doesn't get out much, part of the motivation to catch this exhibit before it closes.

Tara and I stayed in a hotel near Seattle Center, joining our hosts for Japanese food in addition to some chess playing and dancing at Center House.

Yes, Lucy is named for that Beatles song.

Over the Door