“This is an instrument that has been asleep for almost 2,000 years, but all you have to do to awaken an instrument is to have an idea.
Musical instruments are to express human ideas. Therefore, the reconstruction of a musical instrument is in a class utterly different to the reconstruction of any other archeological object. If you reconstruct a cauldron, you’re not going to make a family dinner in it.* … If you reconstruct a musical instrument, find out how it works and use it, it is as valid as the moment at which it was first used.
Because music is timeless, as well as individual. It is a liquid commodity in time.”
John Kenny, on the reconstruction of the Carnyx
When contemplating other planets, there’s only so much we can bring with us, in our heads and our hands, of the sights we’ve seen before, and the things we’ve done. As anyone who’s tried to read the destructions that came in Engrish for assembling some piece of furniture or equipment knows, written instructions are chancy at best for transmitting information. (Thank G-d for youtube, and somebody deciding they were going to put “how to balance your fan blades” up as a video.)
But languages change over time, storage media decays, file formats change, and things are lost because they fell out of fashion for all sorts of reasons. So those who take delight in the obscure and the ancient may rediscover a treasure trove of What Came Before that someone, somewhere, somewhen long ago decided, for their own reasons, should go out to the stars and carried on.
What liquid commodity in time will you have them find?
*He doesn’t hang with the reenactor crowd, clearly. Because they totally do this. Up to 3-D printing roman relics and using them to knit gloves, because they can. But his point, in the main, stands.