Post-Apocalyptic Archaeology #2 – Historical Accounts

by battleaxebunny

Whether you’re trying to set up a new library or museum, have a natural curiosity for the past, need to research your next archaeological expedition, are missing useful survival/rebuilding skills or just need some handy historical nuggets to aid in the trade of ancient treasures – recovering lost historical records is a must. Now, assuming that the internet has been totally wiped during the apocalypse (I know! Calamity!) , this means searching through likely places to collect any surviving documents.

Your first choice for all things historical. If the building is relatively intact and there’s no impending doom then it’s best to leave all those books in-situ and gather together a willing crew to help fix it up and make it defendable so you can preserve all that lovely knowledge from future disaster. This will also give you an excellent place to bring books and other documents recovered from elsewhere and will make it easier for your fellow survivors to find what they need to educate themselves on the essential skills.

Also look to the ruins of universities and other educational institutions as they’ll have their own libraries you can raid. And by raid, we do, of course, mean take the books and documents to the main library so it can be built into the collection and properly catalogued and archived. Any duplicates of texts you find can either be put into store, or traded to neighbouring bibliophiles.

Also consider setting up a copying house so that the more fragile documents can have their contents duplicated before they crumble to dust. This also lets you pull a Library of Alexandria any time you’ve got travellers with interesting documents passing through your settlement – insist on getting copies of anything useful before they leave. Unless the power’s back on and you’ve got someone with a knack for kicking photocopiers into action, this will mean copying things out by hand or by arcane sorcerous means, but the time spent will not be wasted.

Like libraries, museums provide a handy source for historical information. (Also shiny treasures that your local evil overlord might be interested in, but that’s another post…) It’s likely that the apocalypse and later looting has caused significant damage to the public collection so what you’re going to want to do is find any basements or secure underground storage rooms that may have been overlooked. And don’t forget to investigate the gift shop. The replica artefacts may have been looted but there may still be guide books or artefact related history books. This will serve you almost as well as the real deal. Once you’ve secured all the good stuff, get it back to your shiny new library for the in-house librarian to attend to.

Art Galleries
Art can be a valuable information tool – it can tell you how people thought, what they did, or just what things tickled their artistic fancy. However, it’s not the most portable of things and is extremely vulnerable to damage. It will also have been high on the post-apoc looter’s grab list, so by the time you make your visit, it’s likely that all the good stuff will be gone. Again, don’t forget to check out the gift shop as a well stocked one should have plenty of art books with explanatory text which will give you the benefits of the missing art in something a little more portable and less appealing for bandits to steal.

Visitor Centres
Similarly, the visitor centres for sites of historic interest should prove to be quite useful for your research needs. Well, the visitor centres and gift shops. You can benefit from a long gone tourist board’s attempts to sell bumph to its visitors and it’s likely that the books and maps will have remained relatively untouched.

Book shops, antique shops and just about any shop in a popular tourist site is going to be host to all kinds of interesting things. Aside from the glorious treasure trove of history (and other) books, there’s old maps and replica maps, photos and replica artwork, old music sheets, antiquarian travel guides – pretty much all a girl needs to get a good grounding in the necessary information for a post-apoc expedition.

Home Invasion
People are hoarders, this we know to be true. So at some point you’ll want to poke around any empty houses that are left standing and see what goodies can be found. This can be done in combination with regular supply scavenge runs – multi-tasking is always a good thing! In addition to the spare copies of books and maps, private diaries and correspondence is worth looking at. You won’t want to miss the chance that your long dead house-owner knew something useful.

Bureaucratic Establishments
If it’s historic records you want, then hitting somewhere that had a high quantity of bureaucrats will be a goldmine. Whether it’s the local town council offices or a military base, somewhere there is going to be a room with boxes upon boxes of archived paperwork just begging to be nosed through. Historians will be overjoyed to find decades of memos and supply invoices and will happily spend months compiling it into patterns. For those of you with a need for something a little more tangible – find the right set of papers and you could have intel on some interesting new sites to explore. Sites that were hidden well enough that they survived the looting and assorted apocalyptic events and might just have a hidden cache of weapons or other useful bits that people forgot about when the apocalypse hit. Always make sure you check to see what security measures are in place so you know how to bypass it when you get there.

Research now will save you a lot of trouble later.

battleaxebunny out.

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