Destinations Magazine

Streets Ahead: A Really Brief History of Time

By Lwblog @londonwalks

Streets Ahead: A Really Brief History of TimeStreets Ahead is the column from London Walks' Pen David Tucker…
Part I
“A hundred million years from now, all that we consider to be the great works of man – the sculptures and the libraries, the monuments and the museums, the cities and the factories – will be compressed into a layer of sediment not much thicker than a cigarette paper.”
Yup, time to meditate.
Meditate on time.
(No better place to do it than London: the city that “invented time” – and from which all time is measured.)
Maybe start with the moment of time that counts for us as today.
Today. And all our yesterdays. In our lifetimes. And, as long as we’re at it, the lifetimes stretching back over the centuries. To our “historical starting points”.
We’re in what we call the 21st century so there’s a lot to be said for planting a fingerpost  back there, back then. Two millennia ago. And maybe a few more fingerposts even further back. Marking out the major “steps forward” – the Roman Empire, Ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, the Egypt of the Pharaohs, the “Cradle of Civilisation” in China, etc.
That’s what – about 5,000 years. Quite an arc of time.
Or is it?
Is 5,000 years far enough back for you? Deep enough? Well, take a deep breath. Because the time has come to go in the other direction. Go almost unimaginably far in the other direction. And once we get there… Well, it’s round trip time. Time to re-enter, time to go – from that point – a hundred million years from now  – back  down to now, to today, to our era, to this layer of a few thousand years of human civilization. Our arc of time. A snap of the finger in the aeons of time. 
And why take a deep breath – other than that a hundred million years is a serious cave dive?
Here’s why. (As adumbrated – there, always wanted to use that word – in the epigraph sentence up above.) It’s the words of stratigrapher Jan Zalasiewicz. Words that are worth repeating.
“A hundred million years from now, all that we consider to be the great works of man – the sculptures and the libraries, the monuments and the museums, the cities and the factories – will be compressed into a layer of sediment not much thicker than a cigarette paper.”
Now there’s a thought. Now let’s see where that takes us in the British Museum, for example.
Part II coming up. Tomorrow’s post.
A London Walk costs £9 – £7 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.
Streets Ahead: A Really Brief History of TimeStreets Ahead: A Really Brief History of TimeStreets Ahead: A Really Brief History of TimeStreets Ahead: A Really Brief History of TimeStreets Ahead: A Really Brief History of TimeStreets Ahead: A Really Brief History of TimeStreets Ahead: A Really Brief History of TimeStreets Ahead: A Really Brief History of TimeStreets Ahead: A Really Brief History of TimeStreets Ahead: A Really Brief History of Time
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