Throughout the day, we use all sorts of incredible inventions that feel cutting edge, new, and vital. There are so many amazing inventions around us, in fact, that we often forget about the simplistic genius of the everyday items in our life.
But if we go far enough back, there was a time when even the humble sock may have been just as desirable as the latest Apple gadget. That’s exactly what makes these oldest surviving examples of everyday items so stunning.
They might not be fancy, but centuries ago, they most definitely were!
This coin, which is 2,700 years old, was discovered in the Hellenic city of Efesos, now apart of Turkey. The image on it is that of a lion.
This recipe, for Sumerian beer, dates all the way back to 3000 BC. The beer it produces is a strong drink that would have had pieces of bread floating in it.
These early sunglasses were found on Baffin Island, Canada. They were actually used to reduce the glare of the sun reflecting off of snow.
Titled Venus of Hohle, this figure is the first known sculpture of the human form and was made between 35,000 and 40,000 years ago, and found in Germany. Just for reference, the first pyramid in Egypt was built in 2630 BC.
This shoe was made of cowhide and is about 5,500 years old. It was discovered in a cave in Armenia.
Made from vulture bone, this early flute must have been all the rage 40,000 years ago. It was found in southern Germany. Some experts speculate that music may have played an important strategic role in our outlasting neanderthals.
Found in western China, these are the oldest existing pair of pants. They’re about 3,300 years old!
Before there were sewers or indoor plumbing — 2,000 years ago, to be exact! — the city of Ephesus, in ancient Turkey, had “flushable” toilets. The toilets were placed above running water, which carried waste into a nearby river.
This old school brassiere was used between 1390 and 1485 in Austria.
This ancient prosthetic was used in Egypt, over 3,000 years ago! It wasn’t just for appearances either. Tests with a replica showed that it was working and practical.
This flap, which was partially made from dog teeth, is all that remains of an 4,500-year-old hang bag. It was found in Germany.
Made from sheepskin, this condom was used in 1640 Sweden. It was (unfortunately) reusbale, and came with instructions that said it should be washed in warm milk, to prevent diseases.
Found in Finland, this chewing gum is at least 5,000 years old. It was made from birch bark and likely used to treat mouth infections.
This ancient melody was written down 3,400 years ago in Ugarit, now Northern Syria. It was intended to be played on the lyre. This is how it would have sounded.
These socks, which are made to fit into sandals, are wool and were made in Egypt somewhere between 300 and 499 AD. They were discovered in the 19th century.
Washington Map Society
Etched very delicately into the shell of an ostrich egg, this globe was created in Italy.
Before experts verified its authenticity, it had been sold to the current owner at a map fair in London in 2012.
Human history is no joke, huh? As incredible as the inventions are that we have today, they couldn’t have existed without the contributions of some of these seemingly everyday items. And is it not insane to think about someone carving that human-figure sculpture 40,000 years ago?!
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