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I'm trying to track down a short story from my high school English class, but the details are fuzzy.

A group of people are exploring ancient ruins of a civilization and they're discussing how primitive they were. In the end, you realize they are exploring a post apocalyptic U.S. I think they found the Statue of Liberty or maybe the Lincoln Memorial?

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    Hi that's a good start. Please read scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9335/… and flesh out your question. – Moriarty Jan 13 at 21:08
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    For instance, when did you read it? Were you in high school in 1960 or 2010? That will help us enormously. – Moriarty Jan 13 at 21:13
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    So when they found the Statue of Liberty were they being pursued by gun-wielding apes on horseback? – Danny3414 Jan 13 at 22:24
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    You have described a bunch of stories, a whole microgenre. Please try to add more details. – user14111 Jan 13 at 23:10
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    Rings a bell. Could it have been they found the Jefferson Memorial and were trying to decipher the words carved there? – Dosco Jones Jan 13 at 23:12
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"Digging the Weans" by Robert Nathan? I can't find a free copy online but your description sounds very much like what I read in high school English class about 60 years ago. You can read the story here if you have a subscription to Harper's Magazine.

THE inscription on the north wall of the temple at Pound-Laundry on the -east coast of the Great West Continent has finally been deciphered by the team led by Sf. B'Han Bollek. This work brings us certain assurance of the theory expressed by Bes Nef, Hanh Shui, and Nat Obelgerst-Levy that a people of considerable numbers and power formerly inhabited this salt and desolate land. It is a triumph for those archaeologists who have been working ever since the fortunate discovery of an ivory cross and string of beads at the northeast, or "Bosstin" tumulus, along with a rusted iron wheel which seems to have been designed to run along some kind of track or trolley. These artifacts, as every- . one knows, are now in the museum at Kenya. What we have been unable to discover, is the fate of these ancient people. That they perished in some sort of upheaval many thousands of years ago is clear from the inscription itself, which Sr. B'Han Bollek translates as follows: "nor [for north?] rain nor hail nor snow ... " there are some hieroglyphics missing, and the inscription ends with the phrase ... "their appointed rounds."

  • Who wrote this? How does it match the OP's description? See this guide for some useful tips on how to write a good answer to a story id question. – TheLethalCarrot Jan 14 at 17:10
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    Also a PDF at joshpachter.com/pages/weans.pdf – FuzzyBoots Jan 14 at 17:41
  • Maybe not clear in the quote but "Pound-Laundry" = "Washing Ton" – DavidW Jan 14 at 17:48
  • More details in this answer. – DavidW Jan 14 at 17:52

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