We’re surrounded by gifts from the past: stories, poems, buildings, ideas. They constitute our human nest. The discovery of a new Egyptian tomb (like that of the 22nd-Dynasty temple singer Nehmes Bastet, whose mummified remains were uncoffined after almost 3,000 years of seclusion in January 2012) or a new spider (like the shy but showy, fearsome-clawed Trogloraptor, which was discovered in the caves of Oregon in 2010) deepens understanding, as well as inspiring wonder. I think, though, that you could argue that the recuperative efforts of Don Cauda and the mayor of Monferrato were more impressive still. We don’t just look and learn from what they found. They help us smell and taste the past.