NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

ca - 1100 BC __ Homing pigeons
Comment : Egyptians use homing pigeons to deliver military information. Homing pigeons are amazing birds whose use by humans has been documented as far back as ancient Egypt, Carthage and Rome. Caesar used them in his defeat of Gaul. Use of pigeons spread to India, China and Greece. In fact, China had a postal service that relied on homing pigeons to carry the mail. The Reuters News Service was created in the nineteenth century and relied upon the use of homing pigeons. Homing pigeons were used in the twentieth century in war, and are still used today to pass military communications, as well as rescue operations. Peter James and Nick Thorpe in “Ancient Inventions” state that pigeons were first domesticated in Sumer (southern Iraq) around 2000 B.C.: “Most likely it was the Sumerians who discovered that a pigeon or dove will unerringly return to its nest, however far and for however long it is separated from its home” (James and Thorpe). But the “first actual records of their use as carrier birds come from Egypt,” although the authors here do not specify when this occurred (James and Thorpe). Another account in The Early History of Data Networks holds that “in the days of the Pharaohs the Egyptians announced the arrival of important visitors by releasing pigeons from incoming ships,” which may have been prevalent as early as 2900 B.C. (Holzmann and Pehrson). Elsewhere, centuries later, it is said that “the outcomes of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece, around 776 B.C., were sent to Athens by pigeons”. (Holzmann and Pehrson.)
Source : Holzmann, Gerard J. and Pehrson, Björn (1995), “The Early History of Data Networks”, California: IEEE Computer Society Press.
Source : James, Peter and Thorpe, Nick (1994), “Ancient Inventions”, New York: Ballantine Books. NYU - Department of Media, Culture and Communication.
Source : Chappe, Ignace Urbain J. (1824), "Histoire de la Télégraphie", Paris : chez l'auteur.
Urls : http://cultureandcommunication.org/deadmedia/index.php/Homing_Pigeons (last visited )

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