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History of sheep – Ancient sheep and goats

By | 2017-06-12T22:20:16+00:00 June 12th, 2017|Clothing, Food, West Asia|

Scythian man milking a sheep (Ukraine, 400 BC) Sheep are an important part of the economy of North Africa, Europe, and West Asia even today. They were much more important long ago. People wore clothes made out of wool from the sheep, and they drank milk from the sheep and ate its cheese and [...]

What is silk? Ancient Chinese clothing

By | 2017-06-08T15:05:43+00:00 June 8th, 2017|China, Clothing|

Silkworms People make silk from the cocoons of silkworms. Have you ever seen a butterfly cocoon? It is just like that. You have to take zillions of these cocoons and unwind them carefully, and that makes long threads like spider webs, and you spin these together to make them thicker, and then weave [...]

Steel needles and sewing machines – History of clothing

By | 2017-06-08T14:56:09+00:00 June 8th, 2017|China, Clothing|

Early thimble-ring from Han Dynasty China (200 BC-200 AD) During the Han Dynasty, about 200 BC, Chinese blacksmiths started to make sharp, thin steel needles (this is about 100 years after Indian metal-workers began to make steel). Chinese tailors and seamstresses needed these thin, strong needles to sew silk clothing, which was more [...]

Who invented sewing? History of clothing

By | 2017-10-14T22:50:33+00:00 June 8th, 2017|Central Asia, Clothing|

A Neanderthal stone awl When people first started to wear clothing, about 60,000 years ago, they didn't sew it at all: they just wrapped leather or furs around themselves. Probably they soon began to tie their clothes on with string or leather cords. People continued to wrap their leggings on this way for [...]

What did people wear? The history of clothing

By | 2017-06-08T09:04:11+00:00 June 8th, 2017|Clothing|

Venus of Lespugue, ca. 25000 BC, now in the Musee du Quai Branly, Paris, wearing a grass or string skirt Clothing was very expensive in the ancient and medieval world, because without engine-powered machines it was very hard to make. So most people had very few changes of clothing; many people owned only the [...]

Ancient China’s Economy – Silk and rice

By | 2017-11-22T15:42:08+00:00 June 6th, 2017|China, Economy|

Rice paddy with a Chinese man planting rice In China, as in West Asia, India, or Africa, most people have spent most of their time farming for the last ten thousand years. In northern China, people mostly farm wheat, while in southern China it is mostly rice. A video of people picking rice: [...]

Sewing, wheels, and steel – Central Asian science

By | 2017-06-08T09:55:47+00:00 June 1st, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

A clay pot with a drawing of a wheeled cart from what is now Poland, about 3500 BC Many of the world's most useful inventions come from Central Asia: sewing, leather, cart wheels and spinning wheels, burning coal. And then also the compound and recurve bows, saddles and stirrups, and high quality steel. [...]