Patrick Hunt is an archaeologist, writer, composer, poet, art historian—and damn fine aphorist. Directeor of Stanford’s Alpine Archaeology Project since 1994, he has conducted archaeological research in Peru on Inca sites and on Olmec, Maya and Aztec cultures in Central America. Since 1996, he has led annual teams across at least ten Alpine passes in search of topographic clues to Hannibal’s trek across the Alps in 218 BCE with an army accompanied by elephants. He has a knack for making discoveries: In 1996, he found the 9,000-foot-high quarry for the Temple of Jupiter in the Fenetre de Ferret pass adjacent to the Great St. Bernard Pass, and he directed a team that found a Roman silver coin hoard in the Swiss Alps in 2003. His aphorisms come from several different books, including Faust (1982), Proverbs (1989), and The Laws of Nature(2000):
A clever fool falls headfirst.
God makes wings, man makes chains.
Even stars cast shadows.
The devil will always tell a little truth in order to promote a bigger lie.
Humans have stomachs twice the size of their brains and three times the size of their hearts.
Dogs bark, foxes don’t.
Nature always balances the treasured and the toxic in metal deposition: gold comes with mercury, silver with lead and copper with arsenic.
The tragedy of Beauty is its brevity.