Some ancient technologies by our ancestors still has the capability to put us in awe. How many times have we looked at ancient technologies and weapons in museums wondering how the people of those times came up with it? It’s not just common folk who wonder though. Experts have been left baffled by some of these ancient technologies. Some of them are such that scientists haven’t been able to understand or explain. Here is a look at 15 such ancient technologies.
Though there are many theories that tries to prove each of these technologies, most the researchers have failed to pin down something specific.
1. Greek Fire
A fire that could devastate entire troops during wars was something unheard of during medieval times (think Game of Thrones). The awe factor however in this one was that it continued to burn on water and could not be put out. It was a dangerous weapon and became an extremely useful one during naval wars. The components of the Greek Fire were a well-kept secret and many scientists have tried but failed to produce a successful replica.
2. Damascus Steel
Damascus steel was used to make swords and other weaponry materials in the ancient times. The last of the blacksmiths who forged these weapons is said to have died (along with the process of how to make such weapons) in the year 1700. Spain claims to have unveiled the secret to making such swords but there are many scientists and experts who claim that these are far from the razor sharp swords of the Damascus steel forged using ancient technologies.
3. Voynich Manuscript
Polish origin Lithuanian antiquarian Wilfrid Voynich landed upon a manuscript written by an anonymous author. The contents of this 246 page manuscript is written in a language which has not yet been deciphered by scientists and experts. Wilfrid spent his life trying to figure out the language and the contents of the manuscript but all in vain.
4. Antikythera Mechanism
In 1901, a strange kind of mechanical device was retrieved from the bottom of the sea near Antikythera island in Greece. Upon first look the mechanism looks quite useless but is in fact a complex device consisting of 82 pieces made up of many brass gears. Experts have found out that was in fact used to calculate the moon phases and lunisolar calendar. So much so that the device could even forecast eclipses and help in planning important events such as the Olympics. However, the intricacies of how the device came to be and how it functions, still remain a mystery.
5. Zhang Heng Seismograph
Modern science and technology has made recording and detecting of natural calamities quite simple. One such natural calamity, the earthquake can be measured and detected by seismographs. However, one of the ancient technologies developed in 132 A.D. by Zhang Heng, a Chinese scientist and astronomer, seems to be a seismograph. How someone created such an device so many years ago still baffles the modern day scientists.
6. Ulfberht Sword
Archealogists have found a total of 171 swords all over the Northern region of Europe. These swords seem to be far ahead of the times during which they were made. The only clue to how they might have been forged is the inscription on the swords which says ‘Ulfberht’. However, the meaning of this word is as yet to be deciphered by scientists and language experts.
7. The Iron Pillar
Monuments all across the world have been weathered due to climate and the passage of time. However, the Iron Pillar, which is located in Delhi, and weighs 6 tons with a 7.21 meters height, has been quite undamaged over the centuries. It’s sustainability remains a mystery for scientists, making us wonder about what kind of ancient technologies were used in its making.
8. The Phaistos Disc
This disc was discovered by an Italian architect by the name of Luigi Pernier. Engraved with a total of 242 symbols on both the sides, this disc is believed to be one of the oldest printed documents .Some even believe it to be a musical score of some sort or may be even a calendar. However, the real meaning of these symbols remain an unsolved mystery.
9. Roman Dodecahedron
Roman architecture remains to be awe aspiring all over the world, despite the passage of centuries. One of the ancient technologies has its roots in Rome too. The Roman Dodecahedron is a hollow object with 12 sides and dates back approximately 200 years. Each side has a pentagonal shaped hole. The purpose or use of this device however remains a mystery and that is weird for experts and scientists to understand as the Romans are known to have kept a record of almost everything.
10. Giant Stone Spheres
500+ Pre-Columbian spheres were discovered in Sierpe district of Costa Rica. The construction of these spheres is not as mysterious but rather it is their purpose that scientists and engineers are finding hard to decipher. This is definitely one of the ancient technologies that baffles experts and common folk alike.
11. Sushruta Samhita
This is considered to be the oldest medical and surgical encyclopedia known to mankind. It was written during the 6th century BC and contains a whopping 184 chapters with descriptions of 1,120 illnesses. How such in-depth knowledge and the cure for such physical ailments came to be introduced in a time so long ago is a mystery for the entire world.
12. Cloning, Test Tube Babies and Surrogacy during Mahabharata
We have wondered over the years, how Gandhari single-handedly gave birth to a 100 sons. Well, there is a scientific explanation after all. Each ‘Kaurava’ was created by the splitting up of a single embryo into 100 parts. Each was then grown in a separate container. Does it sound like cloning?
‘Karan’ or ‘Karna‘ can be said to be the first test tube baby. This is because he was born from the ‘characteristics adopted from men of Kunti’s choice’. How these ancient technologies (which seem so similar to modern day science and technology) came to exist in that era is something which can neither be understood nor explained.
13. Hero’s Steam Engine
Hero of Alexandria wrote perfect instructions to creating a steam engine in the 10th AD. The invention was forgotten but came to revival again in 1577 through Taqi al-Din. Modern day scientists are still in awe of how such a device came to be developed during that long gone era.
14. Baghdad Battery
How only three things viz. a ceramic pot, a tube of copper, and a rod of iron were able to work as a source of power is quite unbelievable. However, these were the exact contents found in the Sasanian empire in a device believed to date back to 150 BC. Researchers believe the device to be used (back then) for electroplating.
15. The Lycurgus Cup
Made in the 4th Century, this Roman glass cage looks different from various angles and depending on whether light is passing through it or not. It appears red when light passes from the backside and green in colour when light passes from the front. How such a cup was designed back in those days is a marvel for everyone.
These were few among the ancient inventions that are still a mystery. We are quite sure that are some more ancient technologies that are lost in time. What do you think?