Art History Humor Strange Technology War

Ancient Atom Bomb? No, Modern Art Parody.

You may see this image below on places like Pinterest and Instagram. Often, it is posted as seeming proof of ancient super technology, with comments to that effect. In actuality, it is modern art by Steven Parker, a parody. You could look at this and imagine that a time traveler had appeared in Mesopotamia and used a modern bomb to win a huge battle, changing the course of humanity for ever.

The story accompanying the supposed acquisition of this item is fun. There is this video:

The claim in the story is that there was a meeting in Iraq by a scholar to an area not typically open to anyone. The person claims to have engaged the services of a female “Dr. Jemyel Sedyegh, from the local Carbon Dating Service” to discuss the goals of an expedition. This doctor was said to have “connections in the highest places” including with a high ranking official who had a large private collection of artifacts from Mesopotamia which had never been seen by academics.

The somewhat believable story describes the author’s arrival and meeting with the Dr. who shows him a small object from a case, “explaining that it was from the realm of Nebuchadnezzar II, around 600 B.C.E..”

At that moment, someone shows up at the door and the Dr. panics, apparently not having the permission she portrayed to be showing the artifacts. In the rush to get out, they both forget that the item needed to be returned and once back in his room, the author says,

… I realized that I still held the object that Dr. Sedyeqh had given me in the gallery, and I asked her to tell me about it. The panicked look that had almost left her face was replaced by one of abject terror. She told me that our accidental removal of the piece would be considered theft and an act of espionage, and that her known possession of the keys would implicate her. She advised me that she was leaving town immediately, and that I should do the same if I valued my life. … Not wishing to cause any more trouble for Dr. Sedyeqh, I left Baghdad on the next flight out, without incident, retaining the cylinder seal to guard it against any mishap until I was able to return it safely to the gallery where it rightly belonged. …

Great story. Here’s an image of the cylinder seal on their web site.

The item opens to reveal two more inner seals, one of which has the bomb imprint.

Quite inventive. Nicely done. It would be an amusing piece to own, to perhaps keep in a glass trophy case to show special friends who think you are a world traveling mystery collector.

We do hope, however, that you noticed right away that this thing looks in improbably excellent condition for an artifact that is supposedly 2,600 year old. Perhaps it’s a bit of a test of your observational skills.

If you check, you’ll discover that Nebuchadnezzar II did, in fact, rein as a king of Babylon around 605-562 BC, so that small detail was true.

If you read the “About” page on the acmeclockworks web site, however, you will also see without a doubt that this is a parody.

Acme Clockworks represents the work of Steven Parker. As you browse through the site, you will also find pieces that result from collaborative efforts with other artists – the synergy of such creation is incredibly rewarding. Over the years, Steven Parker has been active in the design and manufacture of product in two industries – toys and jewelry. The work you see here brings together the knowledge culled from that experience with the elements of mechanics, narrative, and an interactive experience woven throughout. Another element present in some of Mr. Parker’s work may be apparent in the discoveries documented here of Mr. Parker’s alter ego, Dr. Kent Streaver – a barely perceptible hint of parody. We hope you enjoy the work shown here, and look forward to adding more to the mix.


As a policy, we suggest you do your own fact-checking before you share things. You may not be a great detective, but if everyone did a little bit, the Internet would be a less hoax-ish place.

Imagine for a minute if everyone was in the habit of citing the source of every fact they relay. A “source or shuddup” policy for all claims, even between friends, would make for a very different world. It would take more human brain power to remember not only information, but also the sources. We may be heading in that direction now that the term “fake news” has been popularized. I wonder if we will get to that place ever as a species with our highly advanced data communications.

Throughout human history there have been waves of more or less interest in this type of thing, accuracy and truth in information sharing, that is.



You Might Like ...


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Notify of
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!