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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.

Ancient Peruvian mask made of gold (Carlos Santa Maria / Adobe Stock)

From Medicine to Nanotechnology: How Gold Has Quietly Shaped our World

The periodic table of chemical elements turns 150 this year. The anniversary is a chance to shine a light on particular elements – some of which seem ubiquitous but which ordinary people beyond the...
The Norimitsu Odachi.

Norimitsu Odachi: Who Could Have Possibly Wielded This Enormous 15th Century Japanese Sword?

The Norimitsu Odachi is a huge sword from Japan. It is so large, in fact, that it was said to have been wielded by a giant. Apart from the basic knowledge of it having been forged in the 15th century...
Two small figures guard the table holding the Buddha’s relics. Are they spearmen, or robots?

Robots Guarded Buddha’s Relics in a Legend of Ancient India

As early as Homer, more than 2,500 years ago, Greek mythology explored the idea of automatons and self-moving devices. By the third century BC, engineers in Hellenistic Alexandria, in Egypt, were...
Plague Doctor Mask, Steno Museum

Secrets Behind the Creepy Plague Doctor Mask and Costume

The plague doctor mask is one of the most recognizable symbols of the Black Death. Though the image is iconic the relationship may be a little anachronistic. While plague doctors have been plying...
Standard of Ur mosaic, 26th century BC.

Both a Princess and a Priestess, What Did the First Known Author Have to Share with the World?

Louise Pryke / The Conversation The world’s first known author is widely considered to be Enheduanna, a woman who lived in the 23rd century BC in ancient Mesopotamia (approximately 2285 – 2250 BC)...
Agrasen ki baoli.

Agrasen Ki Baoli: A Subterranean Architectural Wonder

When we think of architectural wonders, we do not typically think of the water supply. However, in the heart of modern New Delhi, near one of its most popular tourist sites, is a remarkable...
Stone of the Pregnant Woman, an example of ancient high-tech stonework in Hajar al Hibla at Baalbek in Lebanon.

The High-Tech Stonework of the Ancients: Unsolved Mysteries of Master Engineers

There are many stone artifacts from the ancient world made from the hardest stone on the planet such as granite and diorite, which have been cut and shaped with such quality, precision and accuracy...
Roman weapons were vital to protecting and conquering the ancient world.

Roman Weapons: Sharp Blades to Conquer the Ancient World

The Romans were arguably one of the most successful conquerors of the ancient world. At the height of their power, the Roman Empire stretched from the British Isles in the north to Egypt in the south...
The Hallaton Helmet

The Helmet That Shows Celtic Warriors Helped the Roman Army Conquer Briton

In 2010, there was a very important find at an old Iron Age shrine in England. It included coins and other items from both the Iron Age and the Roman era. Among the discoveries was a remarkable 2,000...
Note the separation between rocks in the Sacsayhuamán Archaeological Park.

Mega Earthquake Caused Major Shift in Inca Construction Methodology

A major new scientific study revealed by Peru’s state-run news agency Andina has confirmed that construction of the ancient Inca city, Machu Picchu , located in modern day Peru, was interrupted in...
3D printed model of the ancient site of Puma Punku, Tiwanaku.

Advanced Ancient Architecture of Puma Punku Site is Fully Recreated With 3D Printing

Part of the ancient archaeological site of Tiwanaku, Bolivia, believed by Incans to be where the world was created has been reconstructed using 3D printed models of fragments of an ancient building...
Japanese samurai warrior (brunogm / Fotolia)

Medieval Japanese Weapons Influenced Culture Long After the Middle Ages

Weapons are important instruments and are essential during wars. This was especially true regarding Japanese weapons used during the Medieval period. The wars that were fought, won, and lost impacted...
Spikes embedded in the main door of Shaniwarwada was meant to deter the use of elephants by the enemy to ram the gates.

Ancient Trap Ideas to Protect Your Tomb or Catch Your Lunch

Take any good work of fiction with ancient ruins and the odds are it is booby trapped; whether its Dr. Jones running from a large boulder, Lara Croft leaping over a collapsing bridge floor or Fred in...
Antique Japanese daishō, the traditional pairing of two Japanese weapons which were the symbol of the samurai, showing the traditional Japanese sword cases (koshirae) and the difference in size between the katana (bottom) and the smaller wakizashi (top).

Unknown Weapons of the Samurai: The Forgotten Warrior Arsenal from Feudal Japan

The Katana sword was considered as the Samurai soul. That is why some people treat Samurai and katana as synonymous words. It is true that a Samurai and his sword is inseparable, but believe it or...
Detail of ‘The warriors Kumagai Naozane and Taira no Atsumori.’ One of the warriors is brandishing a Japanese war fan called a Tessen.

Sensu and Tessen in Combat: A Japanese Fan Became a Deadly Weapon In the Right Hands

In Ancient Japan, the Samurai utilized a wide range of weaponry other than swords, bows, and spears. These weapons were used in places where swords were not allowed to be carried, for self-defense...
Roman marbled glass piriform unguentarium.

The Beautiful and Complex Artisanship of Glass-making in the Ancient World

In today’s society, glass is a material that is easily available. Due to mass production, glass objects are considered common and can be found everywhere. In the ancient world, however, glass-making...

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