Ancient Inventions came off my Amazon Wish List as a gift from to of my dearest friends, Cosmo and Mangatsikka (ask Speaks and Twelveoaks). I’ve been slowing worming my way through it, as the compartmentalized way it is written makes it perfect for reading in small doses. Unlike similarly titled books, Ancient Inventions is NOT a stab at describing every accomplishment of our ancestors as the work of crystal harmonics, alien mentors, pseudoscience or magic. Rather it celebrates the often underestimated genius of our ancestors by illustrating the similar challenges and accomplishments they experienced.
In twelve general chapters, Peter James and Nick Thorpe cover a collection of topics from Medicine to Music and Communication to Sex Life. Aside from the clear illustrations and laymen’s descriptions of various inventions and principles used, they also show the complexity of interplay between cultures traditionally compartmentalized in historical studies.
The illustrious history of chewing gum, aquaculture, musical notation, cosmetics and engineering; something for everyone. And I promise, you won’t have to endure a single visit from ancient astronauts!