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Ancient Technology

Dating back thousands of years are numerous examples of ancient technology that leave us awe-struck at the knowledge and wisdom held by people of our past. They were the result of incredible advances in engineering and innovation as new, powerful civilizations emerged and came to dominate the ancient world. These advances stimulated societies to adopt new ways of living and governance, as well as new ways of understanding their world. However, many ancient technology mysteries were forgotten, lost to the pages of history, only to be re-invented millennia later. Here we feature ancient technology history and dozens of amazing artifacts that reflect the brilliance of ancient minds.

Scythians shooting with the Scythian bow, Kerch (ancient Panticapeum), Crimea, 4th century BC.

Pick Your Poison: The AK-47 of the Ancient Near East

The Scythian bow was the AK-47 of the Ancient Near East and the weapon of choice to dominate the battlefield. Even though the bow was uniquely designed to deliver the utmost damage, the arrow itself...
Cleopatra's Needle, NYC (CC BY-SA 3.0); Cleopatra's Needle Obelisk in the Hold of the Steamship Dessoug, 1880. (Public Domain); Bob Brier in Egypt. (Sharon Janet Hague)

Bob Brier and the Hunt for the New York Obelisk

Bob Brier is arguably the world's most famous Egyptologist. Professor at Long Island University in New York, where he has tenure, he teaches both philosophy and Egyptology. A popular host on Learning...
Great Wall of China, China.

8 Ancient Chinese Inventions the West Had Not Imagined

According to the statistics provided by the World Economic Forum, nowadays China can boast its position of the world’s second largest spender on scientific research and development, yielding only to...
The helmet of a gladiator

Gladiator Helmets: Fit for Purpose, Not Just Protection

The gladiator is most likely the first image one calls to mind when thinking about entertainment in ancient Rome. As most would already know, gladiators fought either each other or wild animals, in...
All Giza Pyramids in one shot.

From the Pyramids to Stonehenge – were Prehistoric People Astronomers?

Daniel Brown / The Conversation Ever since humans could look up to see the sky, we have been amazed by its beauty and untold mysteries. Naturally then, astronomy is often described as the oldest of...
Mammoth in the Royal BC Museum in Victoria (Canada). The display is from 1979, and the fur is musk ox hair.

Surprising Stone Age Knowledge Revealed on a Mammoth Bone Bracelet

In Sivershchina, close to the village of Mizyn in Ukraine is one of the oldest and most unique settlements of humans – and it was discovered in a parking lot. The now well-known archaeological site,...
Handle of one of the wooden tools from the Poggetti Vecchi site.

171,000-Year-Old Fire Forged Tool Discovered Beneath a Giant Elephant

171,000 years ago, in Tuscany, a set of ancient tools were crafted and forged with fire. Archaeologists in Florence, Italy, made an incredible discovery during construction work at Poggetti Vecchi. A...
Obsidian projectile point sourced to Batza Tena, Alaska.

Reconstructing an Ancient Lethal Weapon

Archaeologists are a little like forensic investigators: They scour the remains of past societies, looking for clues in pottery, tools and bones about how people lived, and how they died. And just as...
The Lycurgus Cup.

Romans Mastered Nanotechnology and Used it for Eye Catching Decoration

A strange chalice made its way into the British Museum’s collection in the 1950s. It is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman artifact called the Lycurgus Cup. The image on the chalice is an iconic scene...
South Bridge, Dujiangyan, Sichuan, China.

Dujiangyan: The 2,200-Year-Old Chinese Irrigation System That is Still Used Today!

The oldest irrigation system in the world is in China. Called Dujiangyan, it is also the only surviving monumental non-dam irrigation system from the ancient past. A marvel of Chinese science and...
Yacouba Sawadogo planting.

The Man Who Stopped a Desert Using Ancient Farming

Desertification is a serious problem facing numerous countries in the world today. Various measures have been taken to counter the negative effects, with some providing better results than others. A...
Romano-British silver toothpick. (The British Museum) An ivory toothpick found in India. (The British Museum) A gold case with matching a tooth and earpicks.

The Strange History of the Toothpick: Neanderthal Tool, Deadly Weapon, and Luxury Possession

A toothpick – the go-to little tool you select after a meal of corn on the cob, an object you absentmindedly chew on while listening to an unremarkable conversation, the piece of wood you carelessly...
Roman glass (not the legendary flexible glass). Landesmuseum Württemberg, Stuttgart.

An Unbreakable Story: The Lost Roman Invention of Flexible Glass

Imagine a glass you can bend and then watch it return to its original form. A glass that you drop but it doesn’t break. Stories say that an ancient Roman glassmaker had the technology to create a...
 Main: A scene of the Qing dynasty campaign against the Miao (Hunan) 1795 (public domain). Inset: Model of a Chinese South Pointing Chariot, an early navigational device using a differential gear.

The South-Pointing Chariot: This Ancient Chinese Invention Led Armies In a Unique and Impressive Way

The south-pointing chariot is a Chinese invention that functioned in a similar way to a compass. Instead of pointing north, however, this device could point south, or any other direction it was ‘...
Prehistoric hand axe found in Israel.

Half-a-million-year-old Feeding Ground for Homo Erectus Found Near Tel Aviv

Archaeologists from Israel have announced the discovery of hundreds of hand-axes, most likely used by prehistoric humans from five hundred thousand years ago at Jaljulia, north-east of Tel Aviv...
Reconstruction of the Myklebust Viking ship burial chamber c. year 870 AD, Norway, probably containing King Audbjorn of the Fjords. The king’s head is resting on pillows filled with bird feathers.

What Comforting Items Did Vikings Have That Are Still the Height of Luxury Today?

By ThorNews In the largest and most richly equipped Viking burial mounds discovered in Norway there are usually found beds and several types of bird feathers and down from pillows and duvets,...

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