Many of the inventions we see all around us today – and some of which we take for granted – have been around for a lot longer than most of us even care to imagine. Here we'll take a look at some of the most surprisingly old inventions and discoveries still in existence.
What better way is there to start talking about ancient discoveries than to mention alcoholic beverages? Some of the oldest accounts of beer production date back to ancient Sumeria 4000 years ago, while the Chinese have also perfected their version of beer somewhere around 1600 BC. Even the Ancient Greek were early drinkers, perfecting their wine production in 400-350 BC.
One highly useful invention that's much older than it looks is the odometer. Today, digital odometers are used to measure and calculate the distance traveled by vehicles at an extremely precise rate. However, the first account of using odometers dates back to 27 AD, when Vitruvius describes the mechanical version of the device, attributing its invention to Archimedes.
It's no surprise that map making is a very old process, and there are still some maps preserved from hundreds of years ago. However, you won't imagine just how old maps actually are. The first pioneer cartographer to ever create a map of the world was Anaximander, his work dating back to more than 2500 years in our past!
Another surprising ancient invention that is much older than it seems is the compass. As usual, the Chinese were ahead of the game and managed to design beautiful, intricate compasses as early as 240 BC, at first using them for harmonizing their homes according to the principles of Feng Shui. They first began using compasses for navigation in the 11th century.
You wouldn't really expect to see plumbing in ancient times, especially since this type of infrastructure hasn't even been perfected until a few centuries ago. Still, Ancient Rome had complex baths and potable water systems very early on, and the Indus Valley Civilization was the first to use standardized plumbing pipes as early as 2700 BC.
If you think your office printer or the old printing press was a modern invention, you might want to know the Chinese initiated the idea a very long time ago. Woodblock printing first appeared in China about 2000 years ago. The ancient Chinese living during the Tang Dynasty began using carved blocks around 700 AD; then, 300 years later, movable type clay printing was invented.
Finally, one of the most surprising old inventions still very much in use today is plastic surgery. Shockingly, it's one of the oldest forms of surgery ever practiced, dating back to 2000 BC, when nose reconstruction operations started being perfected in Ancient India. As a common form of punishment at the time was the amputation of the nose, the caste of potters managed to devise a way to rebuild the nose using skin grafts taken from the forehead of the patient. The practice was later mentioned in Ancient Greek and Roman texts as well.
It's hard to believe sometimes that all these inventions were around for thousands of years before humankind even thought about building computers and TV sets. Which invention on this list surprised you the most? Are there any that I may have missed?
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