Comment on Disney Presents: Pre-Soviet Revolution-Land by jvillvt

Thank you so much! I really just wanted to share the thought process I went through when looking at all of Prokudin-Gorsky’s photos for the first time. I think that overall Russian history is already interesting because of how it doesn’t really fit both European stereotypes and Asian stereotypes. And added onto that, I think the fact that it is a monastery made it more interesting because I know that very old monasteries are constantly changing and rebuilding, so there is a lot more history to look at here!

Comment on Disney Presents: Pre-Soviet Revolution-Land by jvillvt

Thank you so much! I think when I found the photo I was just really taken back because it looked so similar to what I saw at Disney Land! That I side, I am really interested in religious architecture and I felt like the Nivola Monastery, specifically because it is surrounded like a lake, was especially mysterious and heightened my curiosity which made me want to look into it.

Comment on Much Ado About Swords- Exploring the Zlatoust weapons foundry through photographs by mnerickson

As far as I am aware, Wootz steel, the steel that makes Damascus swords unique, was being imported from India to various parts of Europe from early antiquity up until the seventeenth century. Now the manufacturing practices obviously changed quite a bit over this timeframe, so it is hard to tell when the importation of true Wootz steel ceased. The Wootz that made Damascus blades famous has been found to have things like carbon nanowires and other unique trace elements that make its “special sauce” unique and hard to replicate using experimental archaeology.

During the 19th century, the Bessemer process made the production of steel significantly cheaper and less time consuming, permitting the production of immense quantities of steel. But the evolution from bloomery steel production to Bessemer steel had a lot of intermediate steps that gradually made steel production more and more economical. The blast furnace in the 15th century and Benjamin Huntsman’s crucible steel work in the 1750s are two examples. While Bessemer brought about the modern age of steel, before that Europe was still producing pretty large quantities using various other technologies.