Best Examples of Ancient Technology

2 min


Ancient man were highly advanced given the tools they had available for their development at the time in history. This is what makes some of the ancient inventions an incredible leap towards more sophisticated societies.

We are not talking about rocket ships exactly but some of these inventions are really awesome and you being to ask, just how did they do it?

The Nimrud Lens. This 3,000 year old crystal lens is actually one of the oldest known ancient telescopes. This incredible ancient piece of technology was unearthed by Austen Henry Layard at the Assyrian palace of Nimrud, in modern day Iraq.

Some researchers stress it was used as a magnifying glass or a “burning” glass, some scholars believe it may well have been utilized as a telescope where with the addition of another lens, it could have achieved pretty good results. the focal point of the lens is located eleven centimeters from the flat side and a focal length of approximately twelve centimeters would have given this lens an equivalent of 3x magnifying glass.

It’s function is highly debated even today where some authors have suggested it only had decorative purposes. Experts in ancient Assyrian believe that the quality of the lens would not have allowed ancient man to use this crystal lens as a telescope.

Liquid fire / Greek fire. Developed for military use, this ancient incendiary weapon was invented ca. 672 and used by the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. This proved to be a very sophisticated naval warfare technique as the components of liquid fire would allow it to burn even on water. It proved to be a very useful technique in naval warfare. It helped the ancient Byzantine military in numerous victories, and was perhaps most notably recorded for its usefulness in the battle for Constantinople where this ancient technology helped to repel two Arab sieges. This ancient technology was also mentioned by Thucydides; where tubed flamethrowers were used in the siege of Delium in 424 BC. Liquid fire was a very carefully guarded military secret, it’s composition until today remains a source of speculation.

Ancient Roman concrete. Roman architecture managed to stand the test of time thanks to a ‘secret ingredient’: the existence of volcanic ash in the mortar. Scientists believe that ‘recipe’ can be useful for the construction of modern day buildings. Geologists and engineers have been baffled by the incredible structures built in ancient Rome, which stand almost intact after 2,000 years or more even though they were exposed to extreme changes and flooding. A volcanic ash–lime mortar has been regarded for centuries as the principal material constituent that provides long-term durability to ancient Roman architectural concrete. Researchers state that roman concrete had far greater strength and durability than the modern-day equivalent.

Damascus Steel. It was the steel used in Middle Eastern sword-making, Swords made out of damascus steel were characterized as being strong, resistant and robust swords. Scholars believe that Damascus steel was originally made out of wootz steel, a type of steel that was originally developed in South India. The original method of producing Damascus steel is a mystery, as the knowledge of production was lost in the 18th century. Today there are several types of steel that outperform Damascus steel, but in ancient times, it was something that provided the upper hand in sword-making and eventually in the battlefield as the Damascus steel swords were able to bend and were extremely hard.

Archimedes Heat Ray. Another ancient technology used in military purposes, and a very effective one at that. This device that was used as a defensive weapon mostly used to repel enemy ships by focusing sunlight onto approaching vessels, causing them to catch fire. Modern research suggest the weapon as being effective but only under certain conditions; clear skies being one of them. The archimedes heat ray has been regarded as useless by skeptics who claim that it was nearly impossible for the copper and bronze shields used in ancient times to inflict enough damage to enemy ships. Some suggest that it was used to blind, dazzle, or distract the crew of the ship.

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The Explorer