Yesterday, I had the unexpected privilege of being taken on a private tour of a museum attached to a university’s archaeology department. The tour was different from other museum tours in that we were guided by the museum’s curator, a preeminent scholar in middle eastern antiquities, who actually let us touch some of the artifacts.
At one point in the tour we were examining a collection of stones that had been shaped into primitive hand axes. The curator casually remarked. “This one is about a million years old.”
I was not sure I had heard him correctly. “Wait, what? You said ‘a million years’?”
“Yes” The curator held the axe in front of him.
“May I hold it?” I asked.
“Of course.” He handed it to me. As I ran my fingers over the stone’s cool rough surface, I noticed a quizzical look on the face of the woman standing next to me.
I said to no one in particular, “I am touching something that was made and used by a sentient hominid — one of our ancestors– a million years ago.” I saw the light come on inside her when she caught on to the significance of what I said, and she then reached out and took the stone from me.
As the tour continued we had the opportunity to handle other artifacts. Finally, towards the end of the tour, we came to a display case of first century Roman objects. The curator slid open the glass door of the case and pulled out a rectangular piece of fired clay.
“This is a piece of tile from the floor of the Praetorium in Jerusalem. The Praetorium was the building where criminals were tried, the one mentioned in the New Testament gospel accounts.”
There was a slight pause as his words sank in. Then a woman from the group quietly stepped forward and gingerly touched the tile with the tips of her fingers. Several others of us followed suit.
There I was in an office building in 21st century North America touching a piece of the floor where Jesus Christ had walked.
I think our desire to touch these artifacts was an intuitive attempt to connect with the energy of the past. We cannot physically time-travel, but our consciousness can — and it did yesterday afternoon.
Lgloyd (c) 2014