Category Archives: Communications

KIDS’ BLOG! Picture This: Pictograms and Petroglyphs and the Stories They Tell

An example of Aboriginal hand stencil rock art.

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.[1] 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.”[2] The images are a particularly advanced form of aboriginal hand stencils in which numerous hands combine to form a particular shape.[3] 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.[4] Continue reading

KIDS’ BLOG! Proverbs II: Timeless Words and the Soul of a People

An ancient Viking rune symbolizing fertility and new beginnings. In modern times, it is often used as a symbol for the saying "Where there's a will, there's a way."

An ancient Viking rune symbolizing fertility and new beginnings. In modern times, it is often used as a symbol for the saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

In Part I, we discovered how proverbs, sayings that carry a message or truth, seem to be a part of every culture going back millennia. In the oral tradition, before writing could delve deeply into the world of ideas, societies needed ways to instruct people as to how they had to behave. Proverbs arose as an effective way to do just that. Their wise and often witty words and images embodied the values of a culture. And while cultural values can be quite complex, proverbs were popular because they conveyed that idea, that value, that moral in a distinctive and memorable way. Continue reading

KIDS’ BLOG! Proverbs I: Timeless Words and the Soul of a People

Book of French Proverbs from 1845.

Book of French proverbs published in 1845.

Every culture has a story to tell, and that story is told in many ways. Artifacts, legal records, letters, journals, art, music, dress, even the detritus of daily life uncover the ways of a people. Values and mores are realized through rituals, religions, oral and written histories, monuments and palaces, and many more touchstones of culture. In particular, language and the expressive arts have produced some remarkable observations of lives lived long ago. Continue reading

The Fable of “The Sheep and the Horses”: Take a Listen to the 6,000-Year-Old Language of Our Ancestors

th21-630-istock-language-dictionary-learn-book-630wUPDATE! This post was originally published on February 25, 2014.  The post below reveals the amazing technology that is helping linguists rediscover languages from our past that were lost long ago. Specifically, it discusses the discovery of a Proto-Indo-European language that was spoken over 6,000 years ago. Today’s update is about saving a language before it becomes extinct. Some young people in Louisiana, United States, are fighting to preserve the language of their people, a little known Native American tribe called the Houma. Continue reading

Merry Christmas from AntiquityNOW

old-christmas-card-hirez (1)The image above is one of the oldest mass produced Christmas cards. Published in England in 1843, approximately 1,000 copies were originally made, but only ten have survived in modern times. It was a scandal in Victorian England because it features a child drinking wine.[1]

Here’s hoping your holidays will be devoid of scandal and filled with feasting, family and friends!

Click here to learn more about this card and visit our posts below to discover some ancient connections to the holiday season.

 

[1] World’s oldest mass-produced Christmas card in SMU collection. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2014, from http://www.smu.edu/News/NewsIssues/OldestChristmasCard

Maps, Part 3: Defining and Explaining our Past, Present and Future

"Gaia spacecraft" by ESA–D. Ducros, 2013

“Gaia spacecraft” by ESA–D. Ducros, 2013

In Parts 1 and 2 of Maps: Defining and Explaining our Past, Present and Future, we explored how the ancients mapped the heavens and how modern space programs capture data today. Amazingly adept we humans have been at duality, both mythologizing and demystifying the worlds around us through time. As we calculate and calibrate and chronicle, we push the boundaries of our known existences and challenge ourselves to see where the impossible can become the possible. Take a look at the Gaia Probe that will map out the Milky Way using a billion pixel camera and two telescopes. The Milky Way was the stuff of dreams for millennia. Now the Milky Way will be rendered with a precision that boggles the mind and unlocks the mysteries that have intrigued the human imagination for centuries. Continue reading

Maps, Part I: Defining and Explaining our Past, Present and Future

800px-FraMauroDetailedMapHistory can be difficult to understand. The way it is told and interpreted depends on the point of view of a person or a culture, the time period from which it is being viewed and a thousand other variables that affect what is actually perceived as the truth of history. One of the greatest tools for anyone wanting to learn more about the past is often overlooked. Maps do more than tell us how to get where we’re going. Maps give us visual representations of the past. They can illustrate growth and movement of civilizations, the spread of various cultures, patterns that repeat themselves throughout time and so much more. Today we’re bringing you some fantastic resources that will help to illuminate the past and explain it in ways you may never have considered. These are great sites to use on your own or in the classroom. Continue reading

Strata: Portraits of Humanity, Episode 1, “Sailing Canoe”

StrataImage-webWe are pleased to bring you “Sailing Canoe,” the first documentary from our partner Archaeological Legacy Institute’s new series, Strata:  Portraits of Humanity. This monthly half-hour video series is available online and on select cable channels. Strata is a showcase for unique and diverse stories about the world’s cultural heritage. Stories come from across the globe with segments produced by Archaeological Legacy Institute and dozens of producer and distributor partners around the world. Continue reading

Celebrating National Coffee Day: A Jittery Goat, Political Plots, Slave Labor, Grounds for Divorce—The Coffee Bean Brews Up a Tumultuous World History

The inimitable coffee bean. Lusciously colored, smooth, glistening, fragrant. It’s a devilish addiction shared by millions of people throughout history. But aside from its robust flavor and energized boost, the bean has given us a history that is eye-opening and colorful, just like the bean itself.  Let’s take a step back in time and review a few facts drawn from the nefarious and splendiferous legacy of this enduring brew.

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National Anthems: Ancient Elements, Modern Resoundings

The_Star-Spangled_BannerLast Sunday, September 14th, was the 200th anniversary of the writing of the United States’ national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.  Inspired by the raising of the American flag at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, which signified a major victory by the Americans over the British during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key penned a homage to the “broad stripes and bright stars” he saw that night. This year, people celebrated across the land with concerts dedicated to the music of the United States. Continue reading