Feeding the Future with Weird Doodads
How would where you live now be interpreted by someone scraping it out of ten meters of clay and silt? Somebody who moves on electrostatic pseudopods and speaks in microwave pulses, maybe. Would they have any sense of that place down the street with the perfect toasted reuben, or would they take its position at the center of a populated region, evidently heavily trafficked, to mean it was a seat of power or a neutral ground for diplomats and local chieftains?
I also love considering smaller time periods and smaller differences between uncoverer and uncovered. I enjoy post-apocalyptic stories with characters who pore over artifacts and ruins from just a hundred or two hundred years prior, just to see them interpret stuff in new ways. Mundane items become emblems of power, intellect, or veneration. It's also a rich space to make fun plays on words, as below:
This is the L'Enfant Plaza metro station in central Washington DC, the crackling chaos maelstrom that is technically still the capital of the United States. Whenever I go through this station I imagine a future city-state cobbling itself together over the ruins we're on the brink of turning the place into. Somewhere in the middle of the new city there's a special spot with a hazily-remembered ancient name. A clear stream bubbles out of it thanks to a heavy kinetic strike from the past age spiking an aquifer.
This freshwater pool has great significance to the new city. It's the seat of the judicial system, the cool spring symbolizing the pure and uncorrupted legal process. It is called the Law Font.