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In: Lost Knowledge
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Cover illustration: “A Pause to Consider the Arrogance of Machines”, copper plate etching, by James Skvarch, 2005. © James Skvarch

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Olshin, Benjamin B., author.

Title: Lost knowledge : the concept of vanished technologies and other human histories / by Benjamin B. Olshin.

Description: Leiden ; Boston : Brill, [2019] | Series: Technology and change in history, ISSN 1385-920X ; volume 16 | Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2018060003 (print) | LCCN 2019000440 (ebook) | ISBN 9789004352728 (Ebook) | ISBN 9789004352711 (hardback : alk. paper)

Subjects: LCSH: Technology and civilization—History—To 1500. | Technology and civilization—History—To 1500—Sources. | Technology—History—To 1500. | Communication of technical information—History—To 1500. | Knowledge, Theory of—History—To 1500. | Civilization, Ancient.

Classification: LCC CB478 (ebook) | LCC CB478 .O47 2019 (print) | DDC 303.48/3—dc23

LC record available at

Typeface for the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts: “Brill”. See and download:

ISSN 1385-920X

ISBN 978-90-04-35271-1 (hardback)

ISBN 978-90-04-35272-8 (e-book)

Copyright 2019 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Brill Hes & De Graaf, Brill Nijhoff, Brill Rodopi, Brill Sense, Hotei Publishing, mentis Verlag, Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh and Wilhelm Fink Verlag.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher.

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This book is printed on acid-free paper and produced in a sustainable manner.

Lost Knowledge

The Concept of Vanished Technologies and Other Human Histories