In Alaska’s Thawing Permafrost, Humanity’s ‘Library Is on Fire’

Archaeologists who work in the Arctic, like Anne Jensen, have a metaphor for what is happening there from global warming. The Library of Alexandria was the most famous site for cultural knowledge and history in ancient Egypt, until it burned down, taking with it an irreplaceable record. The decomposition and disappearance of some of the world’s best-preserved sites is much the same, she says: “It’s like the library is on fire.”