As 2012 wanes to a close, it’s hard to find a lot of good news. Political fiscal and health care squabbling, violent attacks on women, gun massacres and continued warfare.
Yet, in the midst of all this, I read an article that leaves me hopeful.
“While it is a painful truism that brutality and violence are at least as old as humanity, so, it seems is caring for the sick and disabled,” wrote James Gorman in the New York Times, Dec. 18. He was reporting about how archaeologists studying the bones and graves of prehistoric people show signs of caring for the incapacitated and ill. “Call it the archaeology of health care,” he wrote.
Australian archaeologists, uncovering graves in northern Vietnam, found skeletal remains lined in a row. Then they found one whose bones were curled in the fetal position. Upon examination they found the man had been paralyzed from a congenital disease, unable to care for himself. They concluded that the community where he lived, that survived by hunting and fishing, took care of this man.
From there, the scientists infer more about the culture and how it cared for its people.
Other cases included mention a site in Iraq, dating to 45,000 years ago.
One wonders what archaeologists of the future will think of us in 2012.
Let’s hope that if they study 2013 they’ll find better news.
Let’s hope they find that people were well taken care of, worldwide.