This trip was wonderful at reminding me of a thing that I often forget to foreground: that, across historical eras, cultures, and geographic locations, people are a lot more similar than we often think. (Or, as I frequently put it on this trip: "people gonna people, no matter when.") "History", sometimes, is a deeply heavy bludgeoning weapon that gets swung around to win an argument or prove something negative about a group of people Now, or a Weighty and Serious Tome we must Carefully Memorize, or an ongoing selection of received 'wisdom' about the past that's been filtered through layers of contemporary (or also-historical!) cultural assumptions and mistranslations and misunderstandings and such. But when you're standing in front of a case holding a four-thousand-year-old customer service complaint and it sounds just like a person you heard yelling at a cashier three weeks ago, it reminds you that all those layers of capital-H History are made up of people.
rydra_wong said something that stuck with me, while we were looking at an occupied sarcophagus and the CT-assisted recreation of the woman's face, about how sometimes you look into History and can see one individual looking back at you from across that vast gulf of years. I had that happen a lot on this trip, as we wandered through various places, and it was a balm for the part of me that's been rubbed raw these past few political years to see those moments of connection across time and space, instead of division.
People gonna people. I took a lot of these pics to remind me of that later.
Anyway! On to the pictures. Click any thumbnail for a larger size.
( Week 1: Oxford )