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Read e-book online A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life PDF

By Greg Jenner

ISBN-10: 1250089441

ISBN-13: 9781250089441

Who invented beds? whilst did we commence cleansing our tooth? How previous are wine and beer? Which got here first: the bathroom seat or bathroom paper? What used to be the 1st clock?

Every day, from the instant our alarm clock wakes us within the morning until eventually our head hits our pillow at evening, all of us participate in rituals which are millennia previous. based round one usual day, A Million Years in an afternoon reveals the impressive origins and improvement of the day-by-day practices we take without any consideration. during this gloriously enjoyable romp via human heritage, Greg Jenner explores the gradual―and usually unexpected―evolution of our day-by-day routines.

This isn't a narrative of wars, politics, or nice occasions. as an alternative, Jenner has scoured Roman garbage containers, Egyptian tombs, and Victorian sewers to deliver us the main exciting, incredible, and occasionally downright foolish historic nuggets from our past.

Drawn from internationally, spanning 1000000 years of humanity, this booklet is a smorgasbord of ancient delights. it's a background of all these belongings you continuously puzzled about―and many you may have by no means thought of. it's the tale of your lifestyles, a million years within the making.

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Additional info for A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life from the Stone Age to the Phone Age

Sample text

The problem is that no Egyptian examples – whether written, archaeological or illustrated – actually show any evidence of a crossbar ever existing. Basically, we don’t actually know how shadow clocks worked, or if they even had crossbars at all. We can be a bit more authoritative about sundials, though. By the eighth century BCE, the Egyptians had developed elegantly sloping stone blocks to better capture the sun’s position in the sky, and translate that into detailed measures by tracking the drifting shadow along its exposed face.

Cubicle-like cells in the corner of the homes, built over drainage channels, suggest they were distinct zones for doing one’s business, and perhaps this is also an intriguing insight into Stone Age notions of privacy. Maybe they were like us and preferred to do their business without an audience, or maybe it was simply easier to keep out smells if the toilet could be cordoned off from the living room. What’s more clear is that the lack of running water suggests that when it came to cleansing their mucky backsides, the inhabitants were wipers rather than washers, with most archaeologists theorising that moss, seaweed or leaves were the Stone Age equivalent of our loo roll.

But hang on a second,’ I hear you exclaim in unison, ‘what was that bit about the Egyptians having a ten-day week? ’ Yeah, about that … Now’s probably a good moment to get to grips with the ‘how’ of horological history. You might need to concentrate for this bit, so make yourself comfy. It’s about to get fairly technical. SEASONS IN THE SUN If we were to look at a calendar on our wall, we would see that our system allots seven days to each week, imitating that of the Babylonians, but Egyptians fused that custom with their own innovations to produce a separate timekeeping system.

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A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life from the Stone Age to the Phone Age by Greg Jenner


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