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Medieval African history – Timbuktu and Great Zimbabwe

By |2018-04-21T12:09:34+00:00October 3rd, 2017|Africa, History|

Mansa Musa of Mali After the 400s AD, the Bantu expansion slowed down. They had already settled most of the good farmland in southern Africa. What was left was mainly desert or thick jungle. It was no good for farming or herding cattle. The Bantu left that land to the Khoikhoi and San people who already lived there. [...]

West Asian science – Mesopotamia and Iran

By |2018-04-07T17:05:01+00:00September 15th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

The constellation Orion From the Stone Age through the Islamic empires, great scientific discoveries have streamed out of West Asia. West Asia is one of the places where farming got started, and maybe the sailboat. The Sumerians developed the world's earliest system of writing, including the first way to write down numbers. They invented the wheel, using it as a pottery [...]

Iron Age economy in West Asia – the Phoenicians

By |2018-04-25T23:34:29+00:00September 12th, 2017|Economy, West Asia|

Iron Age economy: Phoenician glass - a face pendant of an African man. 400-200 BC Traders in the Mediterranean The rise of the Assyrian empire (in modern Iraq) and of the Phoenicians (in modern Lebanon) about 900 BC created a new economic boom in West Asia. The Phoenicians traded all over the Mediterranean Sea in ships, and established trading posts [...]

Phoenician art – West Asia

By |2018-04-25T23:24:29+00:00September 11th, 2017|Art, West Asia|

Core-formed Phoenician glass bottle (400s BC) The Phoenicians, from as early as 1500 BC, were mainly known for producing glass bottles and jars, especially for perfume. The Phoenicians sold these jars to Egypt and to the Assyrians. After the Dark Age they began to sell their jars (and the perfume) to the Greeks too. The rise of the Silk Road in the last centuries [...]

What is a bellows? Who invented the bellows?

By |2018-04-09T10:35:31+00:00September 7th, 2017|History|

(Tomb of Rekhmire, Egypt, ca. 1450 BC) About 14,000 BC, potters in China started to use kilns to fire clay pots. By about 3500 BC, people in West Asia were beginning to use furnaces to smelt metal - to burn copper and tin ore and melt it to get the copper and tin out, and mix them to make bronze. To melt bronze, you needed [...]

Medieval stained glass, eyeglasses, and modern glass

By |2018-05-27T00:13:12+00:00September 5th, 2017|Medieval, Modern, Science|

Medieval glass: Islamic glass (probably Iraq, 800s AD, now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York) Medieval glass-making By the 1100s, glass-making was expanding again from West Asia; there were glassworks further east at Kuva in Central Asia (modern Uzbekistan). Glass-making also moved westward: by 1000 AD, Venice was a growing center of glass manufacturing. In West Africa, local [...]

Blown glass and the Silk Road

By |2018-05-25T18:17:31+00:00September 5th, 2017|West Asia|

Who invented blown glass? A Roman man blowing glass Glass-makers and the Silk Road Increased trade on the Silk Road in the 200s BC forced traders to try to come up with new things to trade that other people would want. West Asia was already way ahead of China, India, Europe, and Africa in glass-making. So West Asian [...]

History of glass – Who invented glass?

By |2018-05-25T17:36:54+00:00September 5th, 2017|Ancient, Science, West Asia|

Obsidian: naturally occurring glass History of glass: Glass beads from Old Kingdom Egypt, about 2700-2500 BC People have been using naturally occurring glass since the Stone Age, when they wanted an especially sharp edge on a tool or an arrowhead. Where does obsidian come from? Obsidian is a natural glass which forms when sand [...]

How did people eat in ancient Rome? Roman silverware and dishes

By |2018-04-25T09:06:28+00:00August 31st, 2017|Food, Romans, Science|

Spoons made out of bronze and animal bone from ancient Rome Most people in ancient Rome ate most of their food with spoons. A lot of it was soups and porridge. The spoons in this picture are made of bronze and bone. But a lot of Roman spoons were made of wood. Fancy rich people [...]

Roman economy – jobs, stores, money, debt, and trade in ancient Rome

By |2018-05-27T00:09:57+00:00August 31st, 2017|Economy, Romans|

The Roman economy: a Roman olive press mosaic (200-250 AD) now in St. Germain en Laye, France Farming in the Roman economy Most people in the Roman world were farmers. Some of the people who worked on farms were slaves, but most of them were free. (More about farming and debt) Some owned their own [...]