ANCIENT INVENTIONS by Peter & Nick Thorpe James


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Not just an inventory of gizmos and whatsits, this is a responsible attempt by two British archaeologists (Centuries of Darkness, not reviewed) to construct an overview of science and technology in various cultures before 1492. The book, they say, has ""one simple message: Our ancestors, however long ago they may have lived and whatever part of the globe they may have occupied, were no idiots."" Among the 12 chapter headings are Medicine (""The medical writings of Cornelius Celsus, who lived under the Emperor Tiberius...include a detailed description of a cataract operation""); Transportation (more than 2,000 years ago the Chinese ""were making miniature hot-air balloons from empty eggshells""); and Sex Life (""Ancient Greek dildos were often made to measure from bread""). With drawings and photographs.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0345401026
Page count: 704pp
Publisher: Ballantine