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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.

A Roman Swiss Army Knife? 200-300 AD.

The Original Swiss Army Knife: Check Out This Must Have Gadget for Guys on the Go

The modern Swiss Army Knife didn’t make its debut until the nineteenth century, revolutionizing convenient tools on the go. But, as with so many other things, the ancient Romans did it first! Meet...
Restored statue platform with standing moai on the south coast of Rapa Nui. Note that one of the moai is adorned with a red scoria pukao.

How the Easter Island Statues Received Their Hats: Final Report

How do you put a 13-ton hat on a giant statue? That's what a team of researchers is trying to figure out with their study of Easter Island statues and the red hats that sit atop some of them. "Lots...
With a blade of Damascus steel (similar to Wootz steel), the blade makes this object a treasured piece.

Wootz Steel: The Mysterious Metal that Was Used in Deadly Damascus Blades

Wootz steel was amongst the finest in the world. It is the metal that was used to fashion weapons such as the famous Damascus blades of the Middle Ages. However, Wootz steel dates back much further...
Bronze Corinthian helmet found in 5thcentury BC burial mound in, Taman Peninsula, Russia.

First Corinthian Helmet North of the Black Sea Has Been Discovered in Russia

The Russian RIA news agency has reported a remarkable find of an ancient Greek Corinthian helmet. The discovery was made in the Taman Peninsula in the southwest of Russia. The helmet was unearthed...
The Roman Tantalus Bowl, a Pythagorean Cup. (Journal of Roman Archaeology) Background: ‘Aeneas and a Sibyl in the Underworld’ by Jan Brueghel the Elder.

More than a Sip and You Feel a Drip: A Morbid Motif for the Crafty Pythagoras Cup

The Pythagoras Cup (Pythagorean Cup) is the name given to a drinking cup attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher, Pythagoras of Samos. This cup is also known as the Greedy Cup and the Tantalus...
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...

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