25 Pieces Of Modern Technology That Are Actually Ancient

Posted by , Updated on September 7, 2017

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Do you ever think about how the technologies that you use every day were invented? Okay, of course you do. But there are probably a few that you consistently overlook, or at least take for granted. How about screws? You never thought about them did you? Well, today we’re going to take a look at 25 Pieces Of Modern Technology That Are Actually Ancient!

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25

Archimedes' Screw

Archimedes' screw

Used to pump water from low-lying bodies of water since antiquity, the “screw” is still in use today!

24

Plumbing

Plumbing

This technology pretty much made civilization possible. And it still does today! It’s something to be thankful for next time you take a potty break.

23

Writing

Writing

It seems so trivial, but cavemen scratching things into walls led to hieroglyphs, which led to papyrus, which led to manuscripts, which led to the printing press, which led to you reading this.

22

Reminder Alarms

Reminder alarms

Ever since ancient Greece, people have been setting alarms to wake themselves up or remind themselves of something. It is said that Plato even had a large water alarm clock.

21

Shoelaces

Shoelaces

We can fly into space, but after 3,000 years, we still attach pieces of leather to our feet using string. At least there is no shortage of style.


20

Odometer

Odometer

This may surprise you, but odometers trace their history all the way back to the Greeks and Romans. Hey, nobody wants to buy a used up chariot!

19

The Wheel

The wheel

You probably saw this one coming, but in the past 3,000 years, it still hasn’t gone out of style.

18

Maps and Cartography

Maps and cartography

Although today we use satellites, ever since humans wandered far enough to lose sight of home, we’ve been making maps.

17

Makeup

Makeup

No, the Kardashians didn’t invent vanity; it’s been around for quite some time. But seriously, ancient celebrities were into make up thousands of years before Hollywood stars were a thing.

 

Want to know more about makeup’s history? Check out 25 Cool Makeup History Facts You’ll Want To Know!

16

Sharp Edges

Sharp edges

Whether it’s a scythe or a reciprocating saw, for hunting and gathering or cutting your favorite pizza, sharp edges have yet to go out of style.

15

Clocks

Clocks

You take the concept of keeping time for granted, but your ancestors have been doing it since time immemorial. The main difference is they had to use the sun; we just have to look at our phone.

14

Olympics

Olympics

While the Olympics itself isn’t really a technology, many of the events people compete in are as old as the empire. In fact, modern sports like long jumping and sprinting trace their roots back to the ancient Greeks.

13

Water Mill

Water mill

This ancient invention generated the power people needed to sustain their civilizations. As our planet runs out of fossil fuels, those mills are starting to look really attractive again…

12

Pulleys

Pulleys

Apart from brute strength, the pulley is still one of the best and cheapest techniques we have for lifting heavy things.

11

Geometry

Geometry

You can thank the ancient Babylonian, Egyptian, and Indus civilizations for this one. In fact, most of math and modern science owes its roots to the study of geometry. And yes, that includes the screen you are reading this on.

10

Linking Screws

Linking screws

Although screws are ancient (we just talked about Archimedes’ screw), they weren’t used for linking things all that much because it took a while to shape them. That’s not to say that people back then didn’t use them to connect things. Screws have been found in several ancient machines.

9

Philosophy

Philosophy

The foundation stones for philosophy were laid thousands of years ago…and although you probably don’t normally think of it as technology, philosophy was almost single-handedly responsible for the scientific revolution.

8

Concrete

Concrete

Back in the day, it was known as opus caementicium, and it made one of the world’s largest empires possible. (That’s the Roman Empire, in case you’re not fully up on your history.)

 

Speaking of “large empires,” want to know which other empires were the largest? Check out 25 Largest Empires In History.

7

Levers

Levers

Without mechanical leverage, the world as we know it today would be arguably impossible. Interesting fact about this technology: it was the monkeys that discovered this fact when they started using tools to pry things open.

6

Medicine

Medicine

Although medicine has come a long way what with germ theory and antibiotics, the early Greeks laid foundations that allowed modern medicine to develop. Ever hear of the Hippocratic Oath?

 

Note: In case you haven’t, the Hippocratic Oath is the oath people take when they become doctors. They promise to uphold certain ethical standards, among other things. Ancient manuscripts date back to the 3rd century BC.

5

Newspapers

Newspapers

In Ancient Rome, they were called the Acta Diurna (or “daily acts”). This publication was the forerunner of today’s newspapers.

4

Wedges

Wedges

Remember those lever monkeys? Well they used wedges too. And thanks to them, we still use wedges today.

3

Democracy

Democracy

Possibly the most successful political technology known to man, democracy is as old as Athens.

2

Sailing

Sailing

If you’re not sure why this is on the list, consider that for centuries people have known how to sail against the wind. If that blows your mind, you’ve probably never sailed before. (It’s done using something called the Bernoulli Effect, which also happens to assist airplanes in flight.)

1

Ramps

ramp

You probably take them for granted today, but like the wheel, inclined planes were a big deal when they first came out. They made things like Stonehenge and the Pyramids possible.

Photos: All images public domain via pixabay except number 25. SilberwolfArchimedes-screw one-screw-threads with-ball 3D-view animatedCC BY-SA 2.5

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