For some 190,000 years, humans have been making music, lodging complaints, and preparing for an unpredictable future. It’s just kind of what we do. But what’s surprising is how these everyday bits of human history are remembered and recorded for centuries, even millennia, to come. It’s something we’ve often explored on The Atlas Obscura Podcast. This week we’re unearthing some of our favorite classic podcast episodes that investigate this flawed, resilient human experiment, from a nuclear fallout shelter constructed from 42 schoolbuses to a forest destined to become art.


An archeological site in the country of Georgia, which features the oldest human skull fossils found outside of Africa, challenges what we think we know about our deep past.

The Complaint Tablet of Ea-Nasir

Turns out, complaining about bad service really is as old as time. Hear this story of an ancient Babylonian clay tablet that logged a 1750 BC complaint about the quality of some copper ignots. Today, the tablet has launched a slew of modern memes.

Congo Square

Congo Square in New Orleans is the heart of where African drumming found its way into American music and the birth of Jazz.

Ark Two Shelter

In the early 1980s, 42 school buses were buried in Horning’s Mills, Ontario. Covered in concrete, they became Ark Two Shelter, an extensive tunnel system designed to house up to 500 people in case of nuclear fallout.

Forest of the Future Library

This forest in Oslo, Norway, will provide the trees for paper as part of a century-long art project featuring famed contemporary authors.