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Africa
Southwest Asia
Egypt
Indus Valley
China
Europe
South America
Mesoamerica
North America
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Africa

 The first five centuries AD saw the rapid spread over much of Africa of agriculturalists using iron tools and weapons and subsisting in part on indigenous domesticates like sorghum and squash, and on domestic cattle and other animals. (50)

It must then be admitted that the Phoenicians, inventors of this system of telegraphy two thousand two hundred and sixty­ eight years ago [he is writing in 1868/9], founded it on the perception of two coasts, of two headlands, by the means of telescopes. (139)

Southwest Asia

 

Egypt

 The Cairo lens: The most wonderful thing about this excellent Romano-Egyptian lens is that the glass is still wholly transparent, and only the dirt gets in the way. It was thus easy to measure the magnification directly - which is not often possible with ancient glass lenses - and although it was zero when resting, when raised the magnification was 1.5X. It was therefore a perfect reading lens for a long-sighted person. The quality of this lens is absolutely first-rate, the glass is superb, and this all indicates a highly sophisticated level of manufacture at Karanis in the third century AD. (139)

Indus Valley

 

China

 By 500 BC iron-working became widespread, and iron agricultural tools were in common use. Iron weapons, mass burials, and military annals tell of a savage form of warfare, not at all like the depersonalized modern combat of tanks, missiles, and automatic weapons. Men in armor fought at close quarters with swords and knives on battlefields swarming with chariots, cavalry, and bowmen. (49)

In the Shanghai Museum in China I was...shown ancient bronzes from the Han Dynasty (last two centuries BC and first two centuries AD) which contained close-work so minute that it could not have been done with the naked eye. Once again, this work was done at a time and in a culture when crystal lenses are known to have existed, for there are many textual references which describe optical artifacts...(139)

Europe

 Over hundreds of millions of years, the erosion of mountains and the levelling of plains had been taking place. In pluvial periods soil was swept out to sea down the rivers, in dry periods it was carried away by the winds. Metals, being heavy, would have been deposited in the river-beds, nuggets would have been lying on the open ground, ores would have been exposed on the surface. Tradition has come down to us that the first smelting of metalshappened accidentally with forest fires melting the superficial deposits. Both Diodorus and Strabo quote Posidonius, a Syrian of 136-51 BC, who asserts that a forest in the Pyrenees was set afire by shepherds, and the heat unloosened the treasures of the earth. Diodorus says: 'The surface of the burned ground ran with much silver, and the natural substance [ore] from which silver is got having been fused, many streams of pure silver were produced.' (135)

The Cairo lens: The most wonderful thing about this excellent Romano-Egyptian lens is that the glass is still wholly transparent, and only the dirt gets in the way. It was thus easy to measure the magnification directly - which is not often possible with ancient glass lenses - and although it was zero when resting, when raised the magnification was 1.5X. It was therefore a perfect reading lens for a long-sighted person. The quality of this lens is absolutely first-rate, the glass is superb, and this all indicates a highly sophisticated level of manufacture at Karanis in the third century AD. (139)

In the Shanghai Museum in China I was...shown ancient bronzes from the Han Dynasty (last two centuries BC and first two centuries AD) which contained close-work so minute that it could not have been done with the naked eye. Once again, this work was done at a time and in a culture when crystal lenses are known to have existed, for there are many textual references which describe optical artifacts... One can go from culture to culture in this way and find microscopic art, and generally one can also find the lenses which made it possible. The largest number of examples probably survive from Greece and Rome. Art historians and archaeologists will be familiar with many such, or will suddenly recollect them if prodded in the ribs. (139)

...the three materials for use for the optical purposes of magnifying and burning - glass, crystal, and 'smaragdus' - all took their Greek names from the older and more sophisticated culture of Egypt, which was also a culture possessing lenses from at least 3300 BC. (139)

South America

 The Sipan burials that reflect these aspects of Moche culture were found in the interior of a large mudbrick pyramid. In one burial a man identified by archaeologist Christoper Donnan as a "warrior-priest" was found lying on his back in a wooden coffin. He was wearing gold nose and ear ornaments, turquoise bead bracelets, and copper sandals, and surrounded by other exotic goods, including spears, war clubs, shields, atlatl darts, sea shells, feather ornaments, lovely cotton fabrics, hundreds of pots, a dog, two llamas, and other goods. This man was also buried with what one might consider the most valuable of all commodities, three young women and two men. (52)

Mesoamerica

 By about AD 100 Teotihuacan had hundreds of workshops, with perhaps as much as 25 percent of its population employed as craft specialists, making products in obsidian, ceramics, precious stones, slate, basalt, seashells, feathers, basketry, leather, and other materials.

North America

 Between 9,000 and 2,500 years ago Desert West cultures worked out a marvelous array of subsistence technologies and strategies, and the aridity of the environment has preserved artifacts so well that we can reconstruct their way of life in considerable detail. Wooden clubs, twined basketry, grinding stones atlatl points, and many other items have been found.(26)

Stone tobacco pipes are found in some Adena sites, and smoking probably played an important role in rituals. The native strains of tobacco were much more powerful than modern strains and could have produced narcotic effects much more powerful than modern cigarettes. (53)

Other