A while back we asked who will save our digital memories? Now we have an answer, and his name is Matt Kirkland.
Although he's a web developer in Lawrence, Kansas by day, Kirkland's hobby is reading really old books, getting deep into ancient Greek tragedies and Hebrew scriptures. But he tells Nora Young of Spark that the further he went back in time for his reading, the more banal it got. The oldest writings he could find were Sumerian Mesopotamian texts that were dull, mundane, everyday, boring. Or as Jon Stewart might have called it, a big mess o' potamia.
The Sumerian Cuneiform tablets seemed to be full of messages like "you owe me a goat" or were receipts for a few barrels of beer. He thought it was like reading someone's tweets or texts, totally ephemeral and dumb.
So it seemed a perfectly reasonable thing to invent Dumb Cuneiform, where he takes your favorite pointless and ephemeral tweets or any 140-character message, and transliterates them into cuneiform text. Then his scribes (actually his wife, Erika) stamps them onto little tablets of clay and bakes them, all for only $20 including shipping in the USA.
You send us your most ephemeral and worthless communications, and we'll carefully transcribe them into the most long-lasting medium known to man - a clay tablet. Favorite jokes? Amazing pickup lines? Your 2-star review of last summer's blockbuster? KEEP IT FOREVER.
Nora Young notes that Dumb Cuneiform seems silly (and it is) but that it's part of a larger trend that we discussed in our post on digital memories — people find "comfort in something you can hold onto, something analog and tangible. Something that feels more permanent than ones and zeros." Kirkland admits that putting silly tweets into a text that people cannot read is a dumb way to preserve memories, but he loves the joke of it.
So do I; I think I will send in my best MNN headlines so that historians can treasure them forever. And if you want to see what your initials look like in Cuneiform, write like a Babylonian at Penn Museum.