- Sometimes I wonder what future archaeologists would think of our society’s current belongings. What would they discover and what would they think?
- Everyday when I enter the front door to my home I notice my neighbors cute little garden gnomes resting in the green grass. If you think about it, garden gnomes are everywhere! This made me question what would future archaeologists think of these recurring ceramic figurines?
- Perhaps archaeologists would conduct a pollen analysis and discover that often the findings are located in environments that were once full of lush flora. Perhaps they would discover more context by comparing locations of the funny little art pieces and find that often they were placed in front of or behind rectangular structures we call home. They would most certainly conclude that a majority of the statues were decorated with paint and shaped to have a pointed top and full beard.
- While contemplating this rather silly idea I realized I didn’t know much about garden gnomes, their history, or what they symbolize. After searching the internet it seems who actually created the garden gnome is not fully agreed upon, but often sources point to 19th century German artist Philipp Griebel. Many claimed that Mr. Griebel’s design was influenced by local miners. In 1874, Griebel founded a terra-cotta factory which is still ran by fourth generation Griebels today. The Philipp Griebel factory is home to the Garden Gnome Museum were visitors can learn about their history and production.
For symbolism I found that currently garden gnomes are generally used as decoration and often their range of activities reflect the owner’s hobbies. Garden gnomes are tied to European folklore, myths, and fairy-tales. Traditionally they were placed in gardens for protection, good luck, or due to superstitions.
Gnomes have been around for hundreds of years and have inspired movies, books, and artwork. They are found worldwide and live in millions of people’s backyards. Now that you know a little more about gnomes, what do you think future archaeologists would think of our cherished garden friends?