Some argue that the first genuine science fiction novel is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, where technology bordering necromancy is used to reanimate the dead. But labeling what falls under science fiction can be troublesome. Christopher McKitterick says that in the strict etymological sense, it’s literature about scientific discovery or technological change, but then argues that this definition misses the mark; instead Mckiterrick believes “SF is about how we have changed, how external change affects us, how things we do change the world around us, and how we will continue to change over time.” What about works of fiction written in a time when science wasn’t even considered a distinct field, separate from natural philosophy, or study of religious truth, etc? Depending on how you class what makes science fiction, Lucian of Samosata’s “True Stories” might be the first science fiction novel. The characters venture to distant realms including the moon, the sun, and strange planets and islands. The star protagonist is Lucian himself who happens to stumble upon aliens on the moon and finds himself in the midst of a war between the lunar and sun empires.
Some relationships last a lifetime – but some last even more than that. University of Leicester archaeologists uncover a trove of relics and remains at Chapel of St Morrell in Leicestershire, including two skeletons who have been holding hands underground for the past 700 years. The archaeological excavations uncovered not only the couple, but also fragments of stone masonry, wall plaster, tiles
An ancient Egyptian woman who lived 3300 years ago was found to have no less than 70 hair extensions. This incredibly elaborate hairstyle was probably made especially for her resting place. Interestingly enough, she wasn’t mummified, her body was simply wrapped in a mat, said Jolanda Bos, an archaeologist working on the Amarna Project. “Whether or not the woman had her
A seismometer or seismoscope is an instrument that detects and measures the motions of the ground as a result of seismic waves gushing from an earthquake, volcanic eruption or powerful explosion. Today, there are thousands of such instruments dispersed in key places around the world that constantly keep watch, gather data and help seismologists better their understanding of how earthquakes
Prostitution may or may not be the oldest job in the world, but rigging goes a long way too. Researchers have recently deciphered a Greek document that shows an ancient wrestling match was fixed. The document, which was dated from the year 267, is a contract between two teenagers who had reached the final of a very prestigious tournament in Egypt. This
Peter Turchin, a population dynamicist at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, and his colleagues finished a study which concluded that war drove the formation of complex social institutions such as religions and bureaucracies. The study showed that these institutions helped give much needed stability to large and ethnically diverse early societies. “Our model says they spread because they helped
The mystery surrounding Stonehenge is still actual, puzzling archaeologists for decades; how was it built, why there, and most interesting, what purpose does it serve? Now, after dating some bone fragments of men, women and children, a team of researchers believe they have the answer. Centuries before the imposing monument was raised, the site started its life as a burial
A British academic has stumbled upon a 500 year old warrant for one of the most famed people in history: Niccolo Machiavelli. Prof Stephen Milner from Manchester University discovered the historic document almost by accident, as he was browsing through town criers and the proclamations in the Florence archives. The 1513 proclamation, which called for the arrest of Machiavelli, eventually
The remains of the legendary Richard III have been found beneath a Leicester car park – where else? DNA, carbon dating and the whole shebang showed, beyond reasonable doubt, that the remains belong to the king, explained lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, so the finding I was telling you about a while ago really check out.