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Collection of 18th-century telescopes found in Amsterdam

Five 18th-century telescopes made of cow bone have been found in the Netherlands.

At the time, called the Enlightenment, the telescopes would have been considered luxury items and were likely used to gaze at objects on land or sea, rather than to look at the stars. They were created during a period when Amsterdam was a flourishing center for trade, one that attracted talented craftsmen.

Ranging in length from roughly 3 to 5 inches (80 to 140 millimeters), the telescopes were made using cattle metatarsal bone. “This particular bone of cow, the metatarsal bone, is actually quite straight and round,” Marloes Rijkelijkhuizen, of the Amsterdam Archaeological Centre at the University of Amsterdam, told LiveScience.”It’s a nice shape to make these telescopes from, it’s straight and (has a) very round narrow cavity.”

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Story: Owen Jarus, LiveScience | Photo: Wiard Krook, Office for Monuments & Archaeology, Amsterdam

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