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The danger of losing our wisdom

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A new discovery by researchers at the University of Cincinnati is upending the way we think about the development of Western Civilization. The find, a tiny stone, has emerged from a 3,500-year-old tomb of a Bronze Age warrior in Greece.

the danger of losing wisdom

The Pylos Combat Agate. Credit: Jeff Vanderpool / University of Cincinnati

It took conservationists more than a year to restore the work and fully reveal an amazing work of art. Some details are so small they require a microscope to view. 

The whole piece is 3.6 centimetres long – about half the length of my little finger.

“What is fascinating is that the representation of the human body is at a level of detail and musculature that one doesn’t find again until the classical period of Greek art 1,000 years later,” says Jack Davis, the university’s chair in Greek archaeology and co-project director on the excavation. “It's a spectacular find.”

Probably human conflict caused the loss of knowledge and skills – we await further research. Somehow it brings to mind what Albert Einstein said: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

What Einstein may have missed is that today’s ‘war’ is between humans (especially the big industrial nations), and our Planet Earth. We don’t know how things are going to unfold.

Are we undermining old wisdom? Possibly, just possibly, we should pay attention, and look beyond ‘sound bites’. To begin with, we could learn about the wonder of nature and become more aware of human impact (some of it good, some of it catastrophic) on our planet. We could also pay attention to human history, not only the arts and sciences but the history that contains lessons on how best to get along with each other.

To dig further, go to Griffin warrior Tomb.


- Jonathan Milne


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