What We Saw Under the Microscope’s Lens

The lens, a tool technology that helps make the invisible world visible, brought a revolutionary perspective to our descriptions of nature.
Central medallion of a Qashqai rug, 19th century, with fragmented Herati pattern.

An Object History of the Persian Carpet

The famous Persian carpet, woven by female artisans in southwestern Iran, may be going extinct. Its story can be told in spindles and whorls.
adhesives

The Sticky History of Adhesives

Our Pleistocene ancestors in southern Africa made and used glue-like adhesives as early as the Middle Stone Age.
alchemist

Inside the Alchemist’s Workshop

What tools would an alchemist use in the quest to transmute other elements into gold?
Sherd of the Geometric period. Sifnos, 8th century BC. Archaeological Museum of Sifnos (in Kastro).

Complexity in Simplicity: The Three Technologies Behind Ceramics

More than two thousand years ago, the Mayans of eastern Guatemala used ceramic teapots to pour themselves hot ...
Neanderthals

We Didn’t Start the Fire (Neanderthals Did)

Fire was once thought to be a strictly human technology, but new discoveries show that Neanderthals could wield it.