The Real-Life Origins of the Legendary Kraken

Mary Evans Picture Library/Alamy The myth of a monstrous giant squid prowling the oceans has persisted for centuries but scientists have been able to reveal the truth behind the stories. By Dr. Rodrigo Brincalepe Salvador / 12.30.2015 Researcher, Natural Sciences and Paleontology Museum of New Zealand The Kraken is perhaps the largest monster ever imagined by mankind. In Nordic folklore, it was said to[…]

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: A History of Monsters, from Werewolves to Hippogriffs

Warner Brothers In the world of Harry Potter, beasts are to be protected, not feared. But this concern for monsters is hardly modern. By Dr. Marta Cobb / 11.16.2016 Teaching Fellow in Medieval Studies University of Leeds Stories involving fantastic beasts are some of the oldest narratives we possess, but the threat posed by the beast is usually perceived as being[…]

Ramesses and Nefertiti: The Abu Simbel Temple Complex

Great Temple of Ramesses II (left) and Small Temple of Nefertari (right) / Photo by Holger Weinandt, Wikimedia Commons Abu Simbel is an ancient temple complex, originally cut into a solid rock cliff, in southern Egypt and located at the second cataract of the Nile River. By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 08.09.2018 Professor of Philosophy Marist College Abu Simbel is an ancient temple complex,[…]

The Art and Architecture of Early Dynastic Egypt, c.3100-2686 BCE

The funerary temple complex of Djoser / Photo by Lansbricae, Wikimedia Commons The hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, such as art, architecture and religion, took shape during the Early Dynastic Period. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 06.03.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Art in the Early Dynastic Period The Early Dynastic Period of Egypt immediately followed the[…]

Rome’s Flaminian Obelisk: An Epic Journey from Divine Egyptian Symbol to Tourist Attraction

Piazza del Popolo. Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-ND From the Temple of Heliopolis to the centre of Rome, the massive stone column has boosted the egos of several powerful men. By Dr. Nicky Nielsen / 05.03.2018 Lecturer in Egyptology University of Manchester It’s a great place to sit in the shade and enjoy a gelato. The base of the Flaminian Obelisk[…]

How Early Humans First Began to Paint Animals

Painting from El Castillo cave (Cantabria, Spain). Early Upper Palaeolithic or older. Photo Becky Harrison and courtesy Gobierno de Cantabria., Author provided Figurative art may derive from Neanderthal hand prints and the hunter’s keen eye for perceiving animals.    By Dr. Derek Hodgson and Dr. Paul Pettitt / 05.04.2018 Hodgson: Research Associate in Archaeology, University of York Pettitt:[…]

Why a Building and Its Rooms Should Have a Human Character

Renaissance master Andrea Palladio designed Villa La Rotonda with rooms of various characters, which at night served as viewing boxes for fireworks displays in the surrounding landscape. Bogna/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA Might we enjoy our homes more if their rooms were characterised by their sense of loftiness or intimacy or cheerfulness or melancholy rather than lifeless labels such as ‘media room’[…]

European Fashion and Cultural Transfer, 1450-1950

Hendrick Avercamp’s ‘Ice Scene’ (c. 1610). Wikimedia Commons The function of fashion as a form of cultural transfer in Europe-wide social processes between 1450 and 1950. By Dr. Gabriele Mentges / 06.03.2011 Professor of the Cultural History of Clothing/Fashion/Textiles Institute for Arts and Material Culture Technische Universität Dortmunt Introduction This article discusses the function of fashion as a[…]

An Introduction to Chaco Canyon

Fajada Butte, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Chacoan petroglyphs can be found at the base of the cliffs (photo: Adam Meek, CC BY 2.0) New Mexico is known as the “land of enchantment.” By Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank / 04.12.2018 Assistant Professor of Art History Pepperdine University New Mexico is known as the “land of enchantment.” Among its many wonders,[…]

Raiders of the Lost Marks: Uncovering the Prehistoric Rock Art of the Cochno Stone

Ludovic Mann (right) and a colleague studying the site in 1930s. Historic Environment Scotland It’s arguably Europe’s premier Bronze Age art site -– but it has spent the last 50 years hidden underground. By Dr. Kenneth Brophy / 09.14.2016 Senior Lecturer in Archaeology University of Glasgow In the foothills of the Kilpatrick Hills, a short walk from the Faifley housing[…]

How One ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Poster Won Out Over All Others as a Symbol of Female Empowerment

During the war, the poster on the left, painted by J. Howard Miller, was only on display for only two weeks. Norman Rockwell’s, on the other hand, was seen by millions. Nick Lehr/The Conversation During the war, few Americans actually saw the ‘Rosie the Riveter’ poster that’s become acultural icon.    By Dr. Sarah Myers and Dr. G. Kurt Piehler / 05.25.2018 Myers: Assistant Professor of History,[…]

What Neolithic Rock Art Can Tell Us about the Way Our Ancestors Lived 6,000 Years Ago

Rock art in central Northumberland, northern England. Author provided Trying to save Neolithic rock art made by our ancient ancestors is no easy task. But it tells us how people used to live.    By Dr. Aron David Mazel and Dr. Myra J. Giesen / 12.20.2017 Mazel: Reader in Heritage Studies Giesen: Visiting Fellow Newcastle University The British and Irish countryside is often celebrated for its wealth of[…]

Hands on the Wall: Were the First Artists Actually Women?

Women’s contribution to art history might have to be revised – for the better. Dean Snow/Society for American Archaeology In France’s Pech Merle cave, which is around 25,000 years old, many hand prints were indeed female. By Dr. Janine Burke / 10.20.2013 Art Historian, Research Fellow Monash University Back in the 70s, when I was writing a[…]

Living Life as an Artist: Nietzsche on Creativity

The tragedies of ancient Greece underpin Nietzsche’s understanding of what it means to be an artist. Hans Runge/Flickr Love or loathe him, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) offered a unique way of considering creativity. By Dr. Laura D’Olimpio / 02.04.2015 Senior Lecturer in Philosophy University of Notre Dame Australia Love or loathe him, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) offered a unique way of[…]

Rome’s First Emperor Died 2,000 Years Ago – His Tomb is Now Used as a Toilet

Not so august now. Stefano Carniccio/Shutterstock Monument restoration requires lacking funds. By Alice Borchi / 08.19.2014 PhD Candidate, University of Warwick Research Fellow, University of Hull Augustus, who died 2000 years ago, was the first emperor of Rome. He brought peace after the turmoil in the republic after the assassination of Julius Caesar when he defeated[…]

Neolithic Bling Provides Clues to Spread of Farming in Europe

The decoration of choice by Europe’s farming-friendly forefathers. Solange Rigaud, Author provided Studying beads, shells and animal teeth – ornaments which carried deep cultural meaning to prehistoric man – reveals that northern Europeans resisted the spread of agriculture for centuries. By Dr. Solange Rigaud / 04.09.2015 Researcher at the Center for International Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences New York University[…]

70 Years of Instant Photos, Thanks to Inventor Edwin Land’s Polaroid Camera

It’s been 70 years of instant photography, thanks to Edwin Land, on the left. AP Photo Whether at a family gathering or in a research lab, getting access to images immediately was a game changer. And Land’s innovations went far beyond the instant photo. By Dr. Ann E. Elsner / 05.18.2018 Professor of Optometry Indiana University It probably happens every[…]

Exquisite Rot: Spalted Wood and the Lost Art of Intarsia

Geometric figure (1537), intarsia by Fra Damiano da Bergamo, from the Museum of the Basilica of Saint Dominic, Bologna, Italy — Wikimedia Commons The technique of intarsia — the fitting together of pieces of intricately cut wood to make often complex images — has produced some of the most awe-inspiring pieces of Renaissance craftsmanship. Daniel Elkind[…]

The Hardworking, Homemaking Hedgehog of the Medieval Bestiary

A Hedgehog (detail) in a bestiary, about 1270, unknown illuminator, possibly made in Thérouanne, France. Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment, 7 1/2 × 5 5/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 3, fol. 79v. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program In the medieval bestiary, hedgehogs are portrayed[…]

The Corpse-Devouring Hyena of the Medieval Bestiary

A Hyena (detail) in the Northumberland Bestiary, about 1250–60, unknown illuminator, made in England. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 100, fol. 12v. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program. In a world of good versus evil, the hyena plays the role of the bad guy. By Jessica Sheppard-Reynolds / 05.10.2018 Notoriously hungry, the[…]