Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sending Samples Downriver

Image: Dominican Mission to Mesopotamia, c. 1920. "Moussul. Un kelek en radeaux sur le Tigre."
In an earlier version of crowdfunding, during the late 19th - early 20th century, the Dominican Missionary Society of Nancy, France, sold postcards to help finance its campaign to "bring Christianity back to Iraq," (although it had never actually left). Vast quantities of cargo, including prodigious amounts of museum samples, moved downriver to the port at Basra, for shipment back to Europe. Home to early Islamic scholars such as Al-Haitham, medieval Basra was a major contributor to the invention of what we now call science. We're waiting on a kelek's worth of lab analyses, so that we can carry some of that science back to its home port. #cmarsh