Do you know that Ancient Egyptians were young inventors during their time? Yes, they were, and their inventions have quite an impact on the world’s development, many of which we still use today. Their inventions were extraordinary given the limited resources available to them, yet they made discoveries that have stood the test of time. Let’s take an exciting journey through time into ancient Egypt and learn about the innovations and technologies developed by this incredible civilization.
Inventions and Technologies in Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt is renowned for its pyramids, pharaohs, and mummies, but the civilization is more popular and advanced in many scientific and technological areas, such as astronomy, engineering, medicine, and mathematics. Here is a list of some of the impressive ancient Egyptian inventions and technologies:
Ancient Egyptian Inventions That Changed the World
Ancient Egyptian Medicine
Ancient Egyptians were among the first people to use medical herbs and natural materials to treat various illnesses. Egypt had a vast knowledge of medicine, and in 1550 BC, Edwin Smith authored the Edwin Smith Papyrus, a medical paper of 48 pages that listed diseases, causes, and treatments. This medical paper is among the oldest and most comprehensive documents on medicine today, showing ancient Egyptian medical operations that include vaccination and dentistry, practiced millennia before it was discovered in the Western world.
Ancient Egyptian Mathematics
Ancient Egyptians contributed vastly to mathematics, developing a decimal-based system, which helped simplify calculations of common arithmetic problems. Math’s main purpose was taxation, astronomy, and land measurement. However, they also used it in everyday life activities, including in their construction work, such as building pyramids, where precision was essential. The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, another ancient Egyptian text from the Middle Kingdom, had geometrical problems and contains a variety of scientific methods that include algebraic techniques.
Ancient Egyptian Engineering
Ancient Egyptians were exceptional engineers, and their works were used to build infrastructure; early signs of civilization include things such as boats, and canals used to build cities in desert areas. The most famous ancient Egyptian engineering works are the pyramids, which millions of people visit every year. The pyramids show the level of structural engineering and architectural skills of the ancient Egyptians. Other structures that display the engineering skills are Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, and Ramesseum built by the Ramses Pharaohs.
Ancient Egyptian Agriculture
Agriculture formed the backbone of the ancient Egyptians economy, and they were responsible for inventing ways of irrigation and fertilization. With the Nile River on its doorstep, ancient Egypt was fortunate to have access to one of the world’s largest river systems, which played a crucial role in agriculture. Ancient Egyptians invented the shaduf, a hand-operated device used to transfer water from one site to another. They figured out how to use the Nile’s water for irrigation, allowing them to grow crops year-round. They utilized the annual rise of the flood and used it to control and allocate water to their farmlands.
Ancient Egyptian Astronomy
Astronomy played a significant role in ancient Egypt, and they based their calendar on astronomical observations. Ancient Egyptians believed that the stars and planets influenced their daily lives and had a direct connection with the gods. The Pyramid Texts and Coffin texts, which are some of the oldest religious texts in the world, describe an elaborate system of afterlife beliefs and rituals that were astronomically-based.
Ancient Egyptian Writing
The ancient Egyptians were among the first to develop a written language, which they used to record their historic achievements and religious beliefs. Hieroglyphics, the writing system used in ancient Egypt, was comprised of symbols and pictures, and was used for communication, trade, religious rituals, and historical recordings. Coined by the Greeks in the second century, the word hieroglyphics means “sacred writing”. The Rosetta Stone, discovered in Egypt in 1799, was one of the most important ancient discoveries and enabled scholars to unlock the mystery of hieroglyphics.
Ancient Egyptian Textiles
Ancient Egyptians are known for being skilled weavers, and they developed a process for creating delicate and intricate textiles. The use of fine materials such as linen made Egyptian textiles highly desirable and the most expensive fabric. The traditional white linen garments were worn to keep cool in the hot and dry weather. Mummification and funerary customs required the use of fine linens to wrap bodies and ensure the dead were treated with care and respect.
Ancient Egyptian Metalworking
Ancient Egyptians were among the first to work with metals, and they developed techniques such as molding and soldering. They discovered the extraction and smelting of metals such as copper and iron, which were used in weapons, jewelry, and everyday objects such as mirrors, pins and tools. Ancient Egyptians collected meteoric iron and used it to make some tools since they did not know how to smelt it from ores readily available in their area.
Ancient Egyptian Glassmaking
Ancient Egyptians were among the first to develop techniques in glassworking. They made glass beads for jewelry and small pots for cosmetics starting from the second millennium BC. The glassmaking facility at Amarna, about 60 km south of present-day Cairo, is the oldest kiln with evidence on how glass was produced in antiquity. Some of the objects made include vessels, inlaid objects such as boxes or furniture, and fine glass objects that reflect the level of skill and time that went into producing them.
Ancient Egyptian Music
Ancient Egyptians had a deep appreciation for music and used instruments made from reeds, bone, and copper to create melodies used in ceremonial and funerary rites. Popular instruments included harps, flutes, lyres, and percussion instruments like the sistrum, a type of rattle. The most famous ancient Egyptian song and dance are the “Banquet of the Ten Viziers,” which dates back to the Twelfth Dynasty 1991-1786 BCE.
Ancient Egyptian Inventions Timeline
The following timeline lists some of the significant ancient Egyptian inventions and technology:
3000 BC –
The invention of papyrus, one of the oldest writing materials used in ancient Egypt.
2686–2181 BC –
The construction of the pyramids of Giza.
2500 BC –
The invention of sails for boats and ships.
2000 BC –
The illustration of a wooden bird that artificial intelligence researchers believe would have likely flown if wrapped in fabric and powered by a wind.
1550 BC –
The production of Edwin Smith Medical Papyrus.
1533-1292 BC –
The discovery of Tutankhamun tomb.
1500 BC –
The writing of mathematical formulas.
520 BC – 30 BC
The production of glass vessels and statues.
For more information, check out this informative video on ancient Egypt by the National Geographic:
1. How did ancient Egyptians build the pyramids?
In ancient Egypt, Pyramid construction was a huge feat of engineering, and it took around 20 years to complete one pyramid. Initially, the architects sketched a design outline of the pyramid. The laborers then used primitive tools to quarry the limestone blocks from the quarry source. Next, the workers transported these huge stones to the pyramid location, where the masons cut, shaped, and then polished the stones. Finally, the laborers moved the blocks to their positions in the pyramid and assembled them into a series of platforms, using ramps, levers, and pulleys to lift the stones into place piece by piece.
2. What was ancient Egypt’s impact on the world?
Ancient Egypt contributed to world civilization in areas such as medicine, geometry, astronomy, religion, writing, and engineering. Their inventions included everything from pyramids to the use of the Nile for irrigation, representation of numbers, and the production of glass. Their contribution continues to influence human civilization today.
So, in conclusion, ancient Egypt played an influential role in the world’s history of science and technology. Many of their inventions continue to impact our daily lives. From medicine to engineering, writing to music, and metalwork to agriculture, ancient Egypt has contributed massively to human knowledge.
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Ancient Egyptian Inventions And Technology – Egyptian Inventions Timeline
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