TOP 7 ANCIENT INVENTIONS
1. THE WHEEL
When talking about ancient inventions, the wheel is one that always comes to mind, but it is actually relatively young compared to some of the other items on this list. It was most likely invented in Sumer (which is now Iraq) in 5000 BC. It eventually spread across the Indus Valley civilization by 3000 BC. Interestingly, wheels only occur in nature in microscopic form so its invention was not the result of imitating objects from the natural environment.
2. TWISTED ROPE
The rope has been used by humans since prehistoric times. It was used in hunting, lifting, and even climbing. The first ropes would have been vines, which were eventually twisted together for increased durability. Fragments of manmade twisted rope were discovered in caves in France dating to 15,000 BC. The ancient Egyptians developed tools for rope making around 4000 BC.
3. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
The first instruments were flutes made of bone, mammoth tusks to be exact. Fragments of these instruments have been found in caves dating back to 43,000 years BC. More recently, bone flutes dating from 9000 BC were in such good condition that they could be played.
Pigments have been used since 400,000 BC for body decoration and painting (such as cave painting). Naturally occurring pigments, such as iron oxide and ocher, were the first to be used and there have even been discoveries of equipment for grinding paints from the same period. Eventually, various pigments were traded over long distances making the range of colors available more diverse. The most difficult pigments to produce (blue and purple) were reserved almost exclusively for royalty because of their high cost.
The earliest clothing used by man was made of fur, leather, and plant life. It was initially used for protection from the elements but was eventually used for decorative purposes also. Interestingly, analyses of human body lice (which require clothing to survive) have been instrumental in dating our use of clothing as the fragile nature of ancient cloth means that no examples survive from our earliest days.
Primitive man used caves for shelter and even for religious uses, but from 500,000 BC we began to build huts. A fascinating archeological discovery in Tokyo uncovered a house built with ten posts, forming an irregular pentagon shape, as well as numerous stone tools.
The first knives were made from flaking rocks. It is possible that the same technique may have been used to produce knives from other materials, but none have survived. Archeologists discovered the oldest group of stone tools (called Oldowan) which date to 1.5 million BC. These were used by Australopithecines and other similar hominids who probably shared the knowledge of manufacture between species.