The Invention of Wireless Cryptography

In 1915, a congressional bill was introduced to ban all civilian wireless activities from the airwaves. Static was always a problem as the summer heat rolled in. Situated on a hundred-acre plot along the Long Island coastline and “dropped in a mosquito-infested field,” the Sayville wireless plant began experiencing the seasonal interference that comes with[…]

Pioneers of U.S. Military Cryptology: Colonel Parker Hitt and Genevieve Young Hitt

Genevieve Hitt, likely the first woman to serve the U.S. government as a cryptologist, broke ground in her own way, paving the way for future generations of females in the profession. Introduction “The father of modern American military cryptology, whose Manual for the Solution of Military Ciphers guided our early, halting footsteps in the science[…]

Ambassadors and Missionaries, Converts and Infidels: The 1686 Siamese Embassy to Versailles

Examining the formal and contextual heterogeneity, as well as the interpretive instability, of objects representing the 1686 Siamese embassy to Versailles. Between 1680 and 1688 six embassies were dispatched between King Narai (1633-1688) of Siam and King Louis XIV (1638-1715) of France. These extraordinary diplomatic events, which were the first official exchanges between the two[…]

An Artistic and Architectural History of the Great Mosque of Damascus

Damascus is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. To understand the importance of the Great Mosque of Damascus, built by the Umayyad caliph, al-Walid II between 708 and 715 C.E., we need to look into the recesses of time. Damascus is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world,[…]

Divine Reverie: Revelation, Dream Interpretation, and Teeth in Antiquity

You might say the Roman emperor Septimius Severus was a dreamer, but he wasn’t the only one. You might say the Roman emperor Septimius Severus was a dreamer, but he wasn’t the only one. The ancient tabloid known as the Historia Augusta records that not long after coming to Rome, a young Severus made the mistake of[…]

Lucky Discoveries of Lost Ancient History

Our knowledge of the ancient world owes a lot to chance discoveries. Here, we share the stories of some of the most important and unlikely finds from ancient Western history. Unearthing a secret scroll, tablet, stone or parchment filled with important revelations about the past is an archaeologist’s dream. Chance finds, like the Dead Sea Scrolls –[…]