When I was a kid my dad used to take me arrowhead hunting and I absolutely loved it. More than the thrill of finding an arrowhead I loved exploring the Indian ruins seeing where ancient people lived. In my little own mind I would imagine how these people lived and I was fascinated by it. This is when my interest in anthropology and archaeology began.
One day we were out exploring some ruins, again looking for arrowheads, and I asked my father how these people used to live in such little rooms. I just couldn’t imagine people the same size as us living in such small quarters. My father told me that back then people were not the same size as we are today but smaller than us. He said the average person back then stood between 4-5 feet tall so to them the living quarters were not small but “just right.”
When we think of ancient people many of us tend to think that they were the same as we are today but that is not so not only in terms of size but also in terms of things like culture, lifestyle, daily activities, religion, etc. That’s important to remember when we think about ancient peoples because in some ways they were like us but in other ways they were not.
We tend to view things through colored lenses and what that means is that in looking at ancient peoples we tend to compare them to ourselves or our own culture. Perhaps it is our own ego getting in the way but I think more than anything else we just don’t stop and think. Common sense tells us that ancient peoples were not exactly like us. Yes, there are similarities but there are also differences and in some cases BIG differences. When we look at a culture we need to try to see it through the eyes of the people who lived in that culture, not through the eyes of our own modern culture. It’s also important we realize that the world and people have NOT always been like they are today. People used to be smaller and the small rooms they lived in were likely perceived as “spacious” by them even though we consider them “cramped” by today’s standards.