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African clothing history – weaving, knitting, embroidery

By | 2018-02-22T13:25:02+00:00 October 2nd, 2017|Africa, Clothing|

African clothing history:  An Egyptian painting of Nubians (from modern Sudan), about 1300 BC Weaving comes to Africa By about 2500 BC, some people in Africa started to weave their cloth instead of pounding it, which makes more flexible, comfortable clothing. People buy clothes instead of making them The Egyptians learned from their West Asian neighbors how to weave linen, and very [...]

American science after colonization

By | 2018-04-08T11:21:58+00:00 September 28th, 2017|Americas, Native American, North America, Science|

European trade goods (thanks to Nebraska Game and Parks Division) North American people made rapid scientific advances in the course of the 1500s AD, inspired by contacts with traders and explorers from Europe. People learned how to tame horses and ride them, and they learned how to use guns. They also began to use a [...]

What is steel? Ancient and medieval steel

By | 2018-04-24T08:21:18+00:00 September 8th, 2017|India, Science|

Damascus steel sword from the 1200s AD Soon after 300 BC, with the rise of the Silk Road, people were all looking for new ideas for things they could sell. Thanks to Buddhist monks, there were big universities in Mauryan India, where people came from all over Asia to study and work, and they, or someone else in India, [...]

Steel history – medieval to modern steel

By | 2017-09-07T22:22:19+00:00 September 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

Safavid steel helmet (Iran, 1500s AD) The wars after the collapse of the Mongol Empire in the 1300s stopped steel production in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. But metal-workers kept on making high quality crucible steel under the Pandyas, the Mughals, and the Safavid Empire. The wars also made it hard to travel on the Silk Road, so traders started trying to go by sea [...]

History of iron and blacksmithing – from iron to steel

By | 2018-04-07T17:04:34+00:00 September 7th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

History of iron: a Greek black-figure vase showing a blacksmith at work (Athens, about 550 BC) Why do people use iron? The history of iron doesn't start until much later than bronze. Iron is harder to form into metal than copper or bronze, because it needs a much hotter fire and a more complicated process. But if [...]

What is a bellows? Who invented the bellows?

By | 2018-04-09T10:35:31+00:00 September 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 [...]

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

By | 2018-04-25T09:06:28+00:00 August 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 [...]

What are magnets? Physics and electricity

By | 2018-05-31T11:49:22+00:00 August 16th, 2017|Physics|

A magnet holding a steel bar Magnetism is a force created by electricity, or more specifically by electrons. In any iron atom, there are 26 electrons. Each electron has a tiny bit of negative charge. The way these electrons behave is impossible for us to imagine, because it's not like anything we can see. But we can [...]

Shawnee and Tecumseh – American history

By | 2018-04-08T21:33:38+00:00 August 14th, 2017|History, Native American|

A Shawnee cooking pot (ca. 1500 AD) The Shawnee people probably first suffered from contact with European explorers and traders shortly after 1500 AD. That's when they caught measles from their Iroquois and Mississippian neighbors. Many Shawnee died. There were fewer Shawnee people than there had been before. Shawnee people kept on living in villages, but the villages seem to have [...]