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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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Flotsam and jetsam

14 minutes

Where others see trash, the beachcombers of remote Texel island find treasure

The people of Texel, a small island off the north coast of The Netherlands, have been beachcombers for more than 400 years. Though their island is geographically remote, ocean currents around it act like an invisible highway and items from as far away as England and Iceland wash up on their shore. Each item – whether it is a message in a bottle or a containerload of fur coats – has hidden within it a human story, and the people of Texel cherish the sense of connection it brings them on their remote island.

Director: Sam Walkerdine

Producer: Luke Marsh

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/
Anthropology
Infanticide

There is nothing so horrific as child murder, yet it’s ubiquitous in human history. What drives a parent to kill a baby?

Sandra Newman

Essay/
Rituals & Celebrations
Who first buried the dead?

Evidence of burial rites by the primitive, small-brained Homo naledi suggests that symbolic behaviour is very ancient indeed

Paige Madison