A recent story in the NY Times describes some fascinating birch bark scrolls, preserved for hundreds of years in a kind of magical mud that give us a inside knowledge of Novgorod, Russia in medieval times.
The writings and drawings on the birch bark scrolls date from the 1000s to the 1400s and show that people who lived 1,000s of years ago discussed many of the same things we do today. Things of ordinary life are documented including school exercises, doodles, shopping lists and many letters.
"Written in conversational language, on everyday topics, the birch-bark documents provide a remarkable human soundtrack to accompany a vast — and still growing — trove of artifacts including coins, official seals, kitchenware, jewelry and clothing. There are records of business transactions, demands for payment of debts, inventories of goods, accusations of crimes, convoluted discussions of legal disputes, personal letters among family and friends, even love letters."
“The people of ancient Novgorod are talking to us through these scrolls.”
In a way, these preserved scrolls have accomplished what Timebox is working to achieve, but long, long before computers or even paper. It’s intriguing to think how people in the future will discover what everyday life in the 2000s was like.