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McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Time Capsules: A Cultural History

Time Capsules: A Cultural History

by William E. Jarvis


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Time Capsules: A Cultural History

Time capsules have been used for thousands of years to store for posterity a selection of objects thought to be representative of life at a particular time. Such vessels have the dual purpose of causing participants to ponder their own cultural era and think about those to come.
This work is a cultural history of five thousand years of time capsules and other related time-information transfer experiences. It examines both the formal and the popular culture aspects of the time capsule, from its roots in ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian building foundation deposits to the present utilization of spacecraft probes and other extreme locations. The deposits of 3000 BCE deliberately had no definite date and time to be opened; in 1876 CE came the idea of target-dated deposits. Also discussed are how “real” time capsules work, notional and archaeological time capsules, the height of the time capsule’s popularity from 1935 to 1982, the preservation of writings in time capsules, keeping time in a perpetual futurescape, and turn of the century hype surrounding millennium time capsules.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786412617
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 11/11/2002
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 329
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

William E. Jarvis is an associate professor emeritus (Library Faculty) at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Time Capsule Experience 1

Time Capsule Milestones in World Chronology 5

1 How Time Capsules Work 9

2 Notional and Archaeological Time Capsules 50

3 The Time Capsule’s Ancient Origins and Modern Transformations 82

4 The Golden Age of the Grand Time Capsules 138

5 Writing Down the Ages 175

6 Keeping Time in a Perpetual Futurescape 220

7 Epilogue: Our Ideal Time Capsule 255

Bibliography 265

Index 313

What People are Saying About This

Richard J. Cox

Provides a serious analysis of the history, function, and image of time capsules...certainly the definitive reference on the topic.
professor, archival studies, School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh

Richard Gid Powers

An informative (and highly readable) history of a fascinating and enduring aspect of human behavior.
professor of history, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

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