During the Renaissance, Europeans began to uncover antiquities from the time of the pharaohs. Excavators first unearthed these artifacts in Rome, where the ancient Romans–who had conquered Egypt–displayed spoils and also created their own Egyptian-style works. These discoveries, as well as contemporary accounts of travel in north Africa, fueled a fascination with both ancient Egyptian and modern Arab life. The two very different cultures seemed equally foreign to Europeans, whose interest encouraged a lively market in printed images of these faraway lands. At the same time, startling reports about the native peoples, plants, and animals of the New World were reaching Europe. Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the demand for images of America was tremendous and prints were the sole means of disseminating them to a wide audience.