An example of Aboriginal hand stencil rock art.
Update! This post was originally published on July 23rd, 2013. In the post below we explore the ancient history of rock art and how we’re still using pictograms to communicate today. Recently, ancient petroglyphs have been back in the news with the discovery of an ancient Aboriginal site in a suburb of Sydney, Australia. Researchers say the site is tens of thousands of years old and has probably been dismissed by locals as graffiti. Actually, it is kind of like ancient graffiti and it helps us see into the past and get a glimpse of what life was like for the ancient people living in the area. The art is made up of hand stencils of things that were a part of everyday life, such as “eels, a spearhead and a crescent-shaped moon.” The images are a particularly advanced form of aboriginal hand stencils in which numerous hands combine to form a particular shape. There’s a waterhole nearby and the petroglyphs are on a rock overhang so the artists were probably living in this spot, using the rock for shelter and fishing out of the waterhole. Because of the size of the hands, researchers have concluded that this site was created by women and children. Continue reading
Posted in Art, Blog, Communications, Culture, Kids Blog, Kids: Art, Kids: Communications, Kids: Culture, Kids: Public Life, Public Life
Tagged ancient history, AntiquityNOW, Lascaux caves, petroglyph, petrogram, pictograph, prehistoric, rock art
A cuneiform tablet similar to the ones on display in the Bible Lands Museum.
Have you ever sat down at the end of a long day and written in your diary? Or maybe you just updated your Facebook status and shared what you ate for dinner or how you were feeling after a difficult day at school. What if ancient people from thousands of years ago had done the same thing? We could learn so much about the way people lived, how they felt, what they did. These are the kinds of things archaeologists get to study when they are lucky enough to find written records and testimonies from ancient times. Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Culture, Kids Blog, Kids: Communications, Kids: Culture, Kids: Literature, Kids: Public Life, Literature
Tagged ancient Babylon, ancient history, ancient Judeans, ancient tablets, AntiquityNOW, Babylonian captivity, cuneiform, history of Jerusalem, King Nebuchadnezzar
Did you know that kites were invented 2,300 years ago? A Chinese philosopher, Mo Di, who lived from 468-376 BCE, designed the very first kite in the shape of an eagle. It was not made out of paper, because paper had not been invented yet. Instead, he used wood. Imagine how hard it must have been to fly a wooden kite! Amazingly, he did manage to keep it in the air for a whole day. His student, Gongshu Ban, later nicknamed Lu Ban, learned how to build kites from Mo Di. He even improved upon his mentor’s design, making a bamboo kite in the shape of a magpie, which is a bird common on the Eurasia continent. Lu Ban was able to keep his kite in the air for up to three days. Continue reading
Posted in Blog, Communications, Culture, Kids Blog, Kids: Art, Kids: Communications, Kids: Culture, Kids: Public Life, Kids: Science and Tech, Public Life
Tagged ancient history, ancient kites, AntiquityNOW, box kites, Chinese engineering, Chinese kites, General Hsin, history of kites, Lu Ban, military kites, Mo Di
Image by Noel Hidalgo Tan, Antiquity Publications.
Invisible ink, such a simple and yet crafty way to keep secrets. You may know that it was used in wars such as the American Civil War, the American Revolutionary War and both World Wars, but did you know it was being used thousands of years ago by ancient civilizations? In the first century AD, Pliny the Elder wrote in his Natural History, an early encyclopedia, about how the milk of the tithymallus plant could be adapted as an invisible ink. Ovid spoke about secret ink in his Art of Love. Ahmed Qalqashandi, a medieval Egyptian writer and mathematician, described several types of invisible ink. And recently an article published in LiveScience explored a startling new discovery at Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat temple regarding invisible ink. Ancient invisible ink didn’t always start out as invisible and in this case the ancient artists probably had no idea that their stunning works would one day be hidden to the naked eye. Continue reading
Posted in Art, Blog, Communications, Culture, Kids Blog, Kids: Art, Kids: Communications, Kids: Culture, Kids: Public Life, Kids: Science and Tech, Public Life, Science and Technology
Tagged ancient art, ancient history, Angkor Wat, AntiquityNOW, art history, invisible ink, temple paintings