RE: Vitrified forts (was Re: Information & Power /Alexandria library)

Billy Brown (
Fri, 7 May 1999 14:58:02 -0500

Jeffrey Fabijanic wrote:
> The ancients were as smart and clever as we (perhaps more so at times),
> I have no doubt that there is knowledge and technique that we once knew,
> and do not know now. But I think that stone building techniques are not
> likely amongst them. Look instead to botanical and psychological lore. And
> personally, I think of these less as "Lost Secrets of the Ancients!" (cue
> incidental music) and more as "Poorly Recorded Trade Secrets of People Who
> are Dead Now"!

There do seem to be a few 'traditional herbal remedies' that actually work, so presumably there were others known to ancient cultures that were also effective. However, we should keep in mind that we usually wade through hundreds of completely worthless folk remidies for every one that turns out to be worthwhile. That being the case, I'm not sure what we should say about primitive medicine - if an Athenian physician 'knows' two hundreds treatments unknown to the modern world, of which 199 are actually worthless and 1 is moderately effective, should we say he knows something we don't? Or should we say his bag of tricks is essentially worthless, but every once in a while he happens to do something right by accident?

Billy Brown, MCSE+I