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The Archaeology of Your Apartment

Imagine a living space. Now provide a general description of the objects located in each area of this space. For example, such objects might include furniture, books, clothing, electronics, etc. What materials are these objects made of? How do they relate spatially to the architecture of the room(s)?

Now imagine that a sudden-onset plague wipes out every human in North America instantly, within the course of a single day, and without affecting any other animal or plant life forms. (Medically improbable, maybe but its a thought experiment!) All human activity thus ceases, but the objects in your living space stay exactly where they were, affected only by natural processes of decay and degradation. One thousand years from now, archaeologists from a future human society begin to explore ancient upstate New York. One of the first buildings they excavate is the one that contains your living space.

What evidence are they likely to find there? What is likely to remain of your apartment and its contents 1000 years from now? What sort of data might still be accessible to future archaeologists, and what sort of data would be lost to them? Which of your daily activities would they be able to reconstruct successfully, and which might they misinterpret (and why)? What broader aspects of our society do you believe future archaeologists could successfully reconstruct, based on the evidence from your apartment?

The paper should be divided into two sections, as follows: (1) Description of the objects in your room (about 2 pages). (2) Discussion of what evidence would likely survive 1000 years from now, and how future archaeologists might interpret this evidence (35 pages).