If you are living in an imaginary world of being all smug about the internet advancements and robotic developments the humans have made in the present era, you have no idea about what our ancestors have done in the past. We may have read about them in books or gotten an idea through the movies and TV shows or web series we watch, but what we don’t know is that they were much more advanced than we thought they were. The ancient times may not have had a lot of population, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have genuine brains.
Several discoveries were made in the past about several things the ancients invented, designed and created, but they don’t stop surprising us. The more we discover about the things they invented, the more shocked we are at present because they did not even have all the advancements we have in today’s world. From special refrigerators that kept the ice cool in the hottest summers in deserts to gorgeous cups that had properties to change colors, there is nothing that is not going to surprise you here.
Check the list below to learn about the top ten ancient technologies that are going to make you scratch your head:
1) Have you ever heard of storing ice in the desert? The Persian engineers had not only developed, but also mastered the ice storing technique during summers by 400 BC:
Are you all smug about the refrigerators in your kitchens? Do you even know how the Persian people stored ice and ensured that it doesn’t melt all throughout their harsh summers? During winters, the Persian people carried ice from the nearby mountains. They then stored them in pits they had created in the desert. These pits were called “Yakhchal” and were the first inventions in the field of refrigerators. They not only kept ice in these pits, but also food, which remained cool and healthy all throughout the summers. The structure may look like a large dome constructed with mud bricks, but it was not as easy as it seems, especially during those times.
The underground space of this 500 cubic meter pit had windcatchers that kept the temperature low during summers.(1, 2)
2) This hand operated machine, popularly known as the ‘Archimedes Screw’ has been designed in such a way that it can move up the water with the help of gravity. If it is reversed, it generates energy by pushing the water down:
Earlier, this screw was used for the purpose of irrigation. This machine was nothing more or less than a screw with a hollow pipe inside. Earlier, during the ancient times when it was used, it was operated by hand. After a few years, the wind energy was used to operate the same. Even today the same technology exists. However, it is now operated with a motor. Just when the shaft turns due to the motor, the end of the device gets up, scooping the motor. Then, the same water is pushed to the screw top through the rotating helcoid (a spiral arrangement). This process continues until the water comes out from the end of the top.(source)
3) This ancient masonry technology developed in Mexico lets you build vaults as well as root-type domes by using their trowel; you need no formworks or ceiling mounts for this:
Ever heard of the Tequisquiapan town? It is situated in the Queretaro Arteaga state, which is one of the 32 federal entities of Mexico. There is a group of masons called Bovederos who are blessed with a superpower. They can build vaults as well as roofs of domes with the help of trowels, which are nothing but small tools that are used for digging or applying concrete material to bricks. You may think that it is quite an easy thing to do when you watch the video; however, it is untrue. There is a special technique that they use and only they know how to make use of this tool in a proper way. Others who have tried getting into this have not been able to achieve what these masons have. Their work is highly impressive as you keep looking at the finishing of their remarkable movements and technique.(source)
4) The old Egyptians had created the ramp to simplify and support their construction process:
There are a lot of people who are obsessed with Egypt and its culture, along with its history. However, there are still several facts that are unknown about this place, out of which we are just about to share with you right now. Egyptians have always been appreciated for their amazing architectural structures like pyramids. Even though they didn’t have proper tools to check the measurements of their architecture, they did their part really well. It has been seen that the ancient Egyptians invented ramps to carry all the heavy materials they needed to complete the structure in their mind. Since ramps are easy for people to carry heavy materials, it could not have been possible to create structures like they have done without proper ramps to lift and carry the materials. They didn’t have to raise the materials vertically; this seemed impossible during those times, especially when you look at their constructions.(source)
5) Did you know about a 2000 year old computer? Yes – ‘Antikythera Mechanism’ is the oldest form of computer created by Greeks; it was mainly used to know the planetary position, along with the position of stars in the sky based on the monthly calendar:
A hundred and sixteen years ago, divers found something across a shipwreck that took place off the coast of a Greek island. When they inspected the site, they discovered something odd. It was a bronze item. They had no idea that this tiny discovery was going to be a big achievement to understand the history of our race. The structure had several series of gears that were made of brass. There were dials mounted on something that resembled a mantel clock. Two dozen gears were laid on top of each other. The calibration was perfect! Later, the archaeologists discovered that it was some sort of an analog clock of the earlier times, or maybe a calculating device. In the year 1959, Derek J. Solla Price revealed that the device was surely used to learn about the exact location of stars and planets in the Universe. He said that the mechanism is an awesome astronomical clock or, in today’s words, an analog computer.(source)
6) Check this 1600 year old Roman chalice called ‘The Lycurgus Cup’; this proves that the artisans in Rome had mastered nanotechnology way before us; they knew how to impregnate the glass with tiny silver and gold particles that were as little as only 50 nanometers in diameter:
The Romans may have been known for their Gods, Goddesses and deities, along with their mysteries, but there is something more they have always been popular for – the red-green cup! The most wonderful thing about this cup is that it appears red when lit from behind! And you thought we were the first ones to have created those cups that show your pictures when you pour warm water or beverage in it? Think again! Even though their materials to create this were different, you do get the same feeling. According to the scientists, the Romans may have been the very first ones to accidentally discover the colorful potential of nanoparticles.Later, they perfected it. The Lycurgus cup confused the scientists for a long period of time when the cup was brought to the British Museum during 1950s. Until 1990, the thing seemed mysterious. Then, when the broken fragments of the cup were studied under the microscope, it was noticed that the glass had silver and gold particles together that were grinded to be as tiny as 50 nanometers in diameter. This is lesser than 1/1000th size of a salt grain (1, 2)
7) Ever heard of Heron of Alexandria? He was the first to create a robot that entertained the theatre audience! This beauty could move all on its; not only that, it could also change directions! He was the one who invented the vending machine, windwheel and syringe, along with other geniuses like him:
If you have no idea about the “Tony Stark”, The Iron Man, of the ancient times, you have got to know about Hero of Alexandria. His creations were fascinating not only for the people during his time, but for people in our era as well. One of his creations is this organ that operated with the help of a windwheel. Due to its several mechanical devices, it has been titled to be the World’s First Robot! It could not only play by itself for around 10 minutes, but also change directions on its own. Watch the video to know more!(source)
8) Stand here in the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum constructed by workers of Malta and Gozo; it has acoustic properties that amplify voices with the help of specific frequencies that resonate so powerfully that you literally feel them passing through your body:
How much are you in love with acoustic voices? Here’s bringing something that is going to force you to visit the Malta Island. Amidst all the corridors as well as chambers, there is an extra-special chamber that has been created with solid limestone. The moment you stand in this chamber and talk, or even sing, there is something that makes your entire body vibrate! Such chambers were created for the oracles to have deep impacts and impressions on people when they spoke through the chamber, according to the author of Malta and its Recently Discovered Prehistoric Temples.(source)
9) If you think the concrete in the present times is better, you have got to check this 2000 year old Roman concrete, which is not only stronger and better, but also durable and environmental friendly:
Does architectures of today’s era fascinate you? If yes, then you have not heard or seen the concrete used by the ancient Romans. We are here to tell you about the same. If you want to know about the durability of the ancient Roman concrete structures, you must know that their cement is all that makes them so strong. Look at the cement structures we make today; few years later, they start giving out. On the other hand, even if the harbor structures are washed away by the sea waves, nothing happens to them.
Their cement shows some astonishing long-lasting properties. It is a mixture of silica sand, clay, chalk, limestone and other such ingredients that were melted together at crazy temperatures.(source)
10) This is Damascus Steel that was used to make blades (and is still used because of their toughness); they have the ability to pass through a rifle barrel and also the hair that falls across the blade; it is known for its ‘resistance to shattering’ property:
Check out this insane Damascus steel, which is said to be a legendary material! It has been used by warriors in the past. Let us not forget mentioning the Crusaders here. Despite being in various battles, the swords made from this material ensured to keep their edges sharp enough to cut through a falling hair. They could be recognized as their blades had watery patterns known as “Damask.” The good thing about us is that we have decoded this ancient technology and recreated it.
If you ever meet an alien from another planet and he happens to ask you about the ancient times of Earth, make sure you tell him about all the beautiful things mentioned above. Jokes apart – these things make us really proud because we have evolved so much, thanks to our ancients. If today we have a refrigerator at home, an air conditioner at our workplace, a computer to feel entertained and other such technological advancements, it is only because a part of them was somewhere discovered in the past. Our ancients made our work easier!(source)