Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Operation Read Those Books: Day 11

(You can read about Operation Read Those Books here.)

What Did I Read Today? Chapter 4 of Pytheas the Greek: "The Lure of Tin".

Tell us something interesting about it: Apparently the tin near Britain formed when a massive batholith cooled and became granite, and the cooling process altered the sedimentary rocks around it, producing tin, wolfram, copper, lead, and zinc, in ever-widening circles around it.

See? I'm learning things I never knew.

That's pretty cool, actually, the idea of a giant molten hunk of rock, hundreds of kilometers long, forcing its way up through the earth and sending up spikes of even more molten rock, then cooling off gradually, and the heat and material radiating off it creating these layers and layers of metals that man would then mine for centuries. Such a gigantic, important, completely unobservable process. It's amazing to think about.

But what did the author seem to find interesting? Okay, the charming thing about Cunliffe is how much he seems to love imagining his hero Pytheas observing, in real-time, all the sites he himself has researched through painstaking archaeological methods. He's scholar enough to always remind himself, "I can't be sure he was actually here, that he actually saw this," but I love how enchanted he is by the idea. It gives me a real feeling for why people go in to the field of archeology: they've got great imaginations and they're people-fascinated.

Or at least that's what I'm getting from his narration.

Tomorrow: Pytheas reaches the mysterious realm of Britain! I can't wait.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

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