In case you've missed the news this week... Lucy, everyone's favorite Australopithecus afarensis, is visiting Texas now through April!
I now regret throwing out my Physical Anthropology notes from college. Well, maybe not; 98% of the lectures were about my professor's unfortunate working relationship with and absolute disdain for rhesus monkeys. A typical page of notes from that class would read something like, "Bad monkey. Bad, bad monkey.... Caution: Don't wear Prada to the lab." I remember I took the class because it fulfilled a science requirement. I figured the subject's overlap with archeology would be right up my alley. Turned out the intro course I took dealt more with DNA than digs. But I digress.
The news about Lucy's arrival to the United States spread nationwide. When I learned she was bound for The Houston Museum of Natural Science on the radio this morning, I nearly ran my truck off the road. Once I got to work, I started flipping through my calendar to find a free day. My last trip to the museum was unforgettable... I got within inches of Lady Puabi's Headdress and other artifacts from Sir Charles Leonard Woolley's excavations of Ur. Ten years prior, I'd taken an archeology course from the great excavator and translator of ancient stadium graffiti, Mark E. Landon. Among our assigned readings was Woolley's book The Sumerians. The book contained black & white plates of many of his discoveries from Ur. To finally see the treasures in all their gold and lapis brilliance nearly brought tears to my eyes. Mrs. T and my Evil Little Brother, on the other hand, couldn't stop talking about the Body Worlds exhibition downstairs.
The official title of this new exhibition is Lucy's Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia. What makes this so incredible is that not only will Lucy be there, but also artifacts from Axum. My knowledge of ancient Ethiopia and the Solomonic line of emperors is quite cursory. A few years back I read through the Kebra Nagast along with a handful of critical articles on Oriental Orthodoxy, the historical roots of Rasta and the concept of Tewahedo (which at first glance might be wrongly construed as Unitarian.) I don't know if I should be embarrassed by this, but it wasn't the ganj that piqued my interest in the subject. Rather, I was exploring the the fall-out of a schism that occurred after some rough and tumble Christological debates at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Like I said though, I didn't delve as deeply as I could have. But now that Lucy has embarked on a good-will tour in Texas, I feel compelled to read up on her home country's history a bit more before heading out to meet her.