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. 

Inscription

Inscription as word/act implies marking and indentation; cutting into material matters and leaving an impression (imprint); an impression which acts as proof, thereby becoming material for the archive that makes history in Gregorian Time. 

The prefix in signifies within (a location) or into (a movement) and is encumbered with its Latin derivation where it signifies a 'privative or negative force' (Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, 1953. 870). And from another dictionary; 'to inscribe is to write or engrave words, characters, etc.; to mark a surface...especially in a durable or conspicuous way; to address or dedicate a book or an image, especially [This can’t be done (inscribed) more succinctly than the dictionary] with a handwritten note [and this still holds—an email, a twit, a post—just doesn’t appeal to the same kind of authenticity as a letter written with chosen pen and paper, a typewritten text, or a stitched letter]; geometrically to inscribe is to draw or delineate (one figure) within another figure so that the inner lies in the boundary of the outer at as many points as possible.'

Finally the Macquarie Concise Dictionary (3rd ed, 2000) also gives inscribe as a derivation from the Latin, 'to write in or upon [two crucial prepositions and conjunctions in this text] in(side) up-on (a surface). Inscription always calls attention to the monument and the archive, and at the same time (with a sense of history), to the act of engraving by the one who makes the movement that engraves, scratches, or scores a surface. The remainders of the action are the clues used by anthropologists, archaeologists, and archivists to fashion historiographies. Giorgio Agamben articulates understandings, and thus usage, of the archive in three ways: ' ...the storehouse that catalogs the traces of what has been said, to consign them to future memory...the Babelic library that gathers the dust of statements that allows for their resurrection under the historian’s gaze' and thirdly by using Foucault’s relational and inclusive notion of archive, as 'the positive dimension that corresponds to the plane of enunciation, the general system of the formation and transformation of statements.' (Agamben, Remnants of Auschwitz, 143).