“Always and Everywhere the Same”

That’s how I recall Abraham Lincoln describing human nature, but I can’t put my hands on the quote. The phrase, in any event, was brought to mind by an archaeological discovery that was made next to the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, under a parking lot. It is a beautiful, 2,000 year old earring, preserved astonishingly well. My wife would happily wear it today:

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It’s actually smaller than it looks in that photo; you can see it in use, here. Pretty much any modern woman would be delighted to wear it today, for the same reasons that an unknown Roman or Jewish lady wore it 2,000 years ago.

Along the same lines, here is a photo of a 2,000 year old perfume bottle, also from Jerusalem, from my own small collection:

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Polish it up a bit, and it would be at home on any modern woman’s night table. I find it reassuring to be reminded through archaeology and history generally how little mankind has changed, in the most important respects, over the course of millenia.

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