[Humanist] 26.880 clay storage

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Mar 15 08:21:25 CET 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 880.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2013 10:30:36 +0000
        From: Daniel Allington <daniel.allington at open.ac.uk>
        Subject: Re:  26.876 medicine, graphic-novel style; clay storage
        In-Reply-To: <20130314074038.978BFE4A at digitalhumanities.org>

On 14 Mar 2013, at 07:40, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:
> --[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>        Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2013 08:12:20 -0400
>        From: "Dr. Robert Delius Royar PhD" <r.royar at moreheadstate.edu>
>        Subject: Re:  26.874 clay storage and human memory
>        In-Reply-To: <20130313063043.093B32DC4 at digitalhumanities.org>

> A medium has longevity if the conditions under which it is stored are unlikely to degrade the medium. How long would clay survive exposed to the humidity of a temperate climate? 

> -- 
> Robert Delius Royar               Department of English
> Morehead State University     r.royar at moreheadstate.edu

Yes. And it's perhaps worth remembering that the Sumerians used clay as a medium because of affordances that had nothing to do with longevity: they used to leave the tablets unfired, then soak and re-use them when the stored information was no longer needed. For the most part, the tablets that have survived are simply those that - for one reason or another - failed to be recycled. It's pure serendipity that environmental conditions preserved them for so long.

Daniel Allington
Centre for Language and Communication
The Open University

The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302).

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