Dura-Europos

Dura-Europos is the name of this pattern, copied from the oldest extant piece of knitting ever found, in the remains of Dura-Europos, a city on the banks of the Euphrates River in Syria, dated somewhere between 300 BC – 256 AD, the time of the city's existence. What happened to the city? How does a city disappear? Which mode of catastrophe – plague, war, flood, earthquake, drought – destroyed a once vibrant place. No mention of knitting in the wikipedia entry (too ordinary? too everyday? the work of slaves and women?) though weapons are noted, along with synagogues, churches, and archaeological comparisons to Pompeii. A cosmopolitan city on the edge of empires – time is so very strange in it's present-ness. The yarn used in the knitting above is hemp and cotton with a touch of 'modal' (for drape), under the right conditions it too could last for a couple of thousand years.

Destruction of the necropolis continues as those under the flag of ISIS move through the Levant wreaking havoc on history in the current quest by young angry ManMen to produce tabula rasa, action-thought both materially and literally oxymoronic. Pictures here (see no. 5) on buzzfeed.

That's the knee jerk, even romantic response. Follow the money: Dura-Europos holds/held valuable artifacts that can be and have been sold on the shady black antiquities markets. Thus enabling the savvy angry ones to bankroll their enterprise to establish a new caliphate. Looting is the name for spoils of war and conflict everywhere. Here's an aptly titled New Yorker article ISIS's Looting Campaign, by David Kohn. What does a young revolutionary care about history? That's why it's called a revolution.