The First Mass Produced Items of the Ancient World


The first mass produced pieces of artwork were the ancient Egyptians shabtis which were essentially miniature mummies that the ancient Egyptians believed had magical powers and were therefore buried with the dead. Shabtis were comprised of Egyptian faience which is a type of glass ceramic material made from sand. Egyptian faience is referred to as such in order to distinguish it from faience, which is a tin glazed pottery associated with Faenza, Italy. The idea of Egyptian faience was to replicate semiprecious stones like turquoise lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, which at the time was more expensive than gold. The recipe for Egyptian faience is 90% crushed silica, crushed fine natron salt to act as a flux, crushed limestone, and then the coloring with blue being the most popular, a color achieved through the use of pure copper oxide. Water was introduced to turn this composition from a granular mix into a dough like substance. Natron salt which is a type of baking soda, is the key ingredient to this recipe as it rises to the surface when baked and lowers the overall temperature at which sand melts and becomes glass. The statues are left to stand for 24 or more hours as this helps the salt grow on the surface through a chemical reaction process as oxygen within the ambient environment mixes with the ingredients inside the Egyptian faience

The Decoding of the Rosetta Stone


The decoding of the Rosetta Stone was a massive breakthrough, taking 20 years to achieve, and shaping archeology into a science, distancing itself from the art form it had been regarded as prior. For the first time in history, the focus of archeology was not centered upon owning a piece of history for its beauty but rather understanding a piece of history for the information it contained, information which could be freely shared with and taught to those outside of the field. The Rosetta Stone has been inked and pressed by paper to make exact duplicates and has had 4 plaster copies made, which were then sent to the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Dublin. A large printed copy was also drafted by hand using just paper and an inked pen to carefully mimic each and every hieroglyph carving made. The Rosetta Stone had an added benefit to the initial benefits listed previously as it aided archeologists in their quest to work out the chronology of Egyptian history

Ancient Egyptian Influence Upon Europe


Prior to the development of the methods and tools used for scientific analysis, many Europeans regarded Egypt as the birthplace of civilization. This meant that Napoléon Bonaparte was free to invade Egypt because the French people viewed his campaigns as a way of leading themselves back to the source of their roots. Bonaparte did not only bring soldiers, he also brought scholars who would observe and record the knowledge gained while in Egypt. This acquisition of knowledge made information about Egypt available to the public through books filled with illustrations and writing about Egyptian culture, its people, and its landmarks. Elements of ancient Egypt started to work their way into European culture and even reach out west as far as the new colonies of the United States of America, with examples like the pyramid on the back of U.S. currency and the obelisk Washington Monument in Washington D.C.. Bonaparte’s campaign was the most significant European foray into the Islamic world since the Crusades