Princess Ahmose Meryet Amun — daughter of an Egyptian pharaoh — died with a heavy heart in 1540 BC.  It was not until 2008, some 3500 years later, that scientists discovered it was clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, that ultimately contributed to her death.

Click on the timeline above to learn about this and other great moments in heart history and medicine. As you’ll see, our understanding of the heart happened in fits and starts through history, rather than a continuous series of progress. Learn more in Rob Dunn’s latest book, The Man Who Touched His Own Heart.