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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.

Sample of the oldest known insect-dyed fabric.	Source: Dafna Gazit/Israel Antiquities Authority

4000-Year-Old Fabric from Cave of Skulls is Oldest Known Insect-Dyed Textile

Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient textile dyed with the Kermes vermilio insect, from the Cave of Skulls in Israel. This significant find dates back to the Middle Bronze Age (1954–1767 BC) and...
The six Roman medical implements that have been 3D scanned. 	Source: University of Exeter

2,000 Year Window into the World of Roman Medical Techniques Opened

By Andrew Merrington, University of Exeter The intricate design and workmanship of a set of medical instruments used by Roman surgeons 2,000 years ago have been revealed thanks to state-of-the-art...
Top image: The oldest stone needles that have been found in Tibet.	Source: Yun Chen/Sichuan University

World’s Oldest Ground Stone Needles Found in Tibet, Dated to 9,000 Years Old!

In 2020, archaeologists excavating near the shore of Lake Xiada Co in western Tibet uncovered six distinctive stone artifacts. Each artifact measured about half the length of a golf tee, featuring a...
150,000-Year-Old Pipes

150,000-Year-Old Pipes Baffle Scientists in China: Out of Place in Time?

Oopart (out of place artifact) is a term applied to dozens of prehistoric objects found in various places around the world that seem to show a level of technological advancement incongruous with the...
Roman baths, Bath, England. 	Source: ctj71081/CC BY-SA 2.0

How Were Roman Baths Cleaned? (Video)

Roman baths were integral to daily life, serving as communal spaces for exercise, socialization, and relaxation. These baths were architecturally diverse, ranging from small sheds to grand complexes...
Rocamadour, France, with Durandal in position in the rock, before it vanished.	Source: Patrick Clenet/CC BY-SA 3.0

Durandal, France's Legendary Sword Stolen

In a baffling turn of events, the famed Durandal sword, which had been wedged in a rock in the southern French village of Rocamadour for the past 1,300 years, has mysteriously vanished. The sword,...
Remnants of a second ship found at the Antikythera site in Greece, and right, marble artifact.	Source: Greek Ministry of Culture

Second Ship Found At the Antikythera Shipwreck! Breakthroughs in 2024

The 2024 expedition to the Antikythera shipwreck marked a significant milestone in underwater archaeology. Between May 17 and June 20, under the framework of the 2021-2025 research program led by the...
Morphological variation in the size and shape of Late Pleistocene eyed needles. Source: Gilligan et al, 2024

The Beginnings of Fashion: Why Do We Wear Clothes?

From stone tools that prepared animal skins for humans to use as thermal insulation, to the advent of bone awls and eyed needles to create fitted and adorned garments, why did we start to dress to...
: Left, the reconstructed Bromeswell Bucket, and right, a newly found fragment. 	Source: © National Trust

Ongoing Sutton Hoo Excavation Finds Missing Pieces of Byzantine Bucket

The conclusion of a month-long excavation by a renowned television archaeology TV show in Britain has revealed the uncovered missing fragments of a 6th century Byzantine bucket at the renowned Sutton...
Antikythera Mechanism on display at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens.	Source: Joyofmuseums/CC BY-SA 4.0

Gravitational Wave Researchers Cast New Light on Antikythera Mechanism

University of Glasgow Techniques developed to analyze the ripples in spacetime detected by one of the 21st century’s most sensitive pieces of scientific equipment have helped cast new light on the...
Worked human bones found on Janitzio island in an excellent state of conservation. Source: CINAH Michoacán

Traditional Boat Find Reveals Pre-Hispanic Treasures in Mexico

A recent accidental discovery of a traditional boat, or tepari, on the island of Janitzio in Lake Pátzcuaro has led to significant archaeological findings, shedding new light on the region's pre-...
A recreation of the original Roman sandal. Source: Courtesy of the Bavarian State Office for Monument Protection.

Archaeologists Discover a 2,000-year-old Roman Military Sandal with Nails for Traction

Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a 2,000-year-old Roman sandal near an ancient military fort in Oberstimm, Bavaria in Germany. The discovery was made while conducting excavation work at a...
Viking ship at Jarlsberg

Signs of Viking Age Ship Burial Found in Vestfold County, Norway

In 2018 metal detectorists in Norway found curiously shaped and obviously old iron rivets scattered around in the shallow soil of a field at Jarlsberg Hovedgård (Jarlsberg Manor), the ancestral home...
The only known Lorica Squamata model legionary armor in the world, discovered at Satala Ancient City,	Source: Turkish Ministry of Culture/via IHA

One-of-a-Kind Roman Lorica Squamata Armor Restored

One-of-a-Kind Roman Lorica Squamata Armor Restored In an unprecedented conservation triumph, the only known example of Roman legionary Lorica Squamata armor, dated to be around 1500 years old, has...
Usermontu's Knee Screw Baffles Experts: 2,600-Year-Old Medical Marvel

Usermontu's Knee Screw Baffles Experts: 2,600-Year-Old Medical Marvel

In 1971, the Rosicrucian Museum in California acquired a sealed ancient Egyptian coffin containing the well-preserved mummy of a high-status Egyptian male. More than two decades later, a team of...
Five Mysterious Ancient Artifacts That Still Puzzle Archaeologists

Five Mysterious Ancient Artifacts That Still Puzzle Archaeologists

Natasha Harlow /The Conversation Archaeologists are often described as “ stumped ” or “ baffled ” by their discoveries. But, in reality, specialists have a good grasp of what most historical objects...
Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch of his invention of the giant crossbow. Public Domain

Five Da Vinci Inventions That Could Have Revolutionized Technology

Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous artists in history. His genius, however, was not just in his art; Leonardo was also a brilliant inventor in the fields of civil engineering, chemistry,...
A 4,500-year-old dugout canoe found in Lake Mendota.	Source: Wisconsin Historical Society

11 Ancient Canoes at Lake Mendota Reveal Wisconsin's Early Civilizations

Archaeologists from the Wisconsin Historical Society have unearthed up to 11 ancient canoes at the bottom of Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin, offering new insights into the region’s early...
Artistic photo showing the replica of the Dendra armor used in the study. 	Source: Flouris et al., 2024, PLOS ONE/CC-BY 4.0

Greek Marines Prove Mycenaean Suit of Armor Was Fit for Battle

A suit of armor found at an archaeological site near the village of Dendra, Greece in 1960 has been linked to the famed kingdom of Mycenae , a militarily powerful Late Bronze age fiefdom that holds...
The human skeleton in Neolithic grave found in Exing, Germany.	Source: S.Lorenz/Landratsamt Dingolfing-Landau

Remarkable Middle Neolithic Burial & Curious Grave Goods Unearthed in Germany

Construction work for a new residential area in Exing, a municipality of Eichendorf, Germany, has revealed a remarkable grave from the Middle Neolithic period. District archaeologist Dr. Florian Eibl...
Roman armor was exceptionally well-engineered and fit for purpose, and transformed the Roman legionary into a formidable fighter. Source: Caligula10’s wife / CC BY-SA 3.0

Roman Armor, the Backbone of the Ferocious Roman Warrior

Rome created an empire that was amongst the most powerful in the ancient world. But conquering half of the known world was no easy task, and it required a capable and highly functional fighting force...
The Bent Pyramid in Dahshur, Egypt.		Source: WitR/Adobe Stock

The Bent Pyramid’s Light Magic - An Intentional Phenomenon?

King Sneferu (Snofru, Seneferu) was the father of Khufu and is famous for being responsible for two pyramids, plus finishing his predecessor’s at Meidum. His two pyramids at Dashur lie within sight...
The Bronze Age wooden structure found in Oxfordshire, England.  	Source: Oxford Archaeology via Oxfordshire County Council

Remarkable Ancient Wooden Structure Unearthed in Oxfordshire

The discovery of a well-preserved wooden structure (1200-700 BC), dating back to the Bronze Age in Oxfordshire, England, has been deemed remarkable. Wood typically doesn't survive well over such...
Side view of the colossal head of Decebalus. Source: Cazanele Dunării/CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Colossal Head of Decebalus, King of the Dacians

In the heart of Rome stands a 38-meter tall (124.67ft) tall column built in the 2nd century AD. Carved in low relief spiralling around the monument are over 2600 figures, representing the combatants...

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