From Their Balloons, the First Aeronauts Transformed Our View of the World

Not so long ago, people had no idea what would happen to them – and what they would see – once they ascended into the clouds. Introduction Near the beginning of the new film “The Aeronauts,” a giant gas-filled balloon called the “Mammoth” departs from London’s Vauxhall Gardens and ascends into the clouds, revealing a[…]

The Submerged History of the Submarine

Submarines played a major role in Word War I. But the first submersible was actually used, though unsuccessfully, in the Revolutionary War. By Matthew Wills On July 1, 2019, a fire on a Russian nuclear-powered submarine in the Barents Sea killed fourteen of the crew. According to Russian sources, they died preventing a “catastrophe of[…]

Medieval Castles, Caves, and Rock Shelters

A medieval world where caves and underground shelters provided refuge from raiders, allowing a threatened civilization to flourish. Introduction Southwest Georgia, close to the borders with Turkey and Armenia, is dotted with the remains of ancient defences. Many of these structures – great and small, highly visible or hidden away – reflect the near-constant conflicts[…]

Social, Political, and Environmental Characteristics of Early Civilizations

Complex societies took the forms of larger agricultural villages, cities, city-states, and states, which shared many features. A New Social Order About 12,000 years ago, human communities started to function very differently than in the past. Rather than relying primarily on hunting or gathering food, many societies created systems for producing food. By about 10,000[…]

Primate Activity with Stones Hints at How Human Tool Use Evolved

Studying animal tooling can provide clues to the mysteries of human evolution. Human beings used to be defined as “the tool-maker” species. But the uniqueness of this description was challenged in the 1960s when Dr. Jane Goodall discovered that chimpanzees will pick and modify grass stems to use to collect termites. Her observations called into[…]