The ancient Egyptians were some of the most creative and inventive people in history. They were masters of technology and some of the first people to use a sophisticated calendar, build pyramids, and develop medicine.
Many of their discoveries and inventions have survived for thousands of years and are still being unearthed as Egyptologists continue their work. The ancient Egyptians certainly added their fair share of different ideas.
Many fascinating inventions and discoveries from the ancient Egyptians still affect modern life. Ancient Egyptians even developed an advanced form of writing that is still widely referenced and studied!
The following list has some of the most amazing inventions and discoveries from ancient Egypt.
One of the most unique discoveries from the ancient Egyptians was their ability to mummify bodies. By preserving a body in a dry environment and wrapping it in linen and bandages, the Egyptians could keep their dead bodies intact for thousands of years.
The Pharaohs first used this technique during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods. The Pharaohs believed that the power of Osiris, the god of the afterlife (and many other things), would protect them after they died.
Mummification became more popular during the New Kingdom period when it began to be used as a form of burial. At this time, mortality rates were high, and people wanted to ensure that their bodies would remain intact after death. Mummification allowed families to bury their loved ones without worrying about decay.
Today, interestingly, mummification is still practiced in some places around the world.
2. Paper in Ancient Egypt
One of the earliest forms of what we would consider a paper by today’s standards was used in Egypt.
Paper was first utilized in ancient Egypt around 3300 BC. At this time, Egyptians used simple materials to write on papyrus leaves. They would then fold these leaves into small books and attach them with strings to a wooden frame.
Paper became very popular in ancient Egypt as it was used for various purposes. Egyptians would use papyrus leaves to create extremely detailed hieroglyphs. Business people would use it to keep records and letters. Even Pharaohs would use papyrus to write long treaties with foreign countries.
The use of papyrus as a form of paper is an example of how everyday objects can be turned into important innovations that can profoundly affect future societies.
3. Makeup and Cosmetics
Makeup and cosmetics were essential items in many areas of ancient Egyptian society. Makeup was used, among other things, to enhance people’s appearance and make them look more attractive to others.
Egyptian Cosmetics were made from a variety of materials, including plant extracts and minerals. Some of the most common ingredients used in ancient Egyptian makeup were ochre, bergamot oil, azurite, galbanum, henna, and kohl.
Makeup was also used to protect people from the sun and wind. It is believed that ancient Egyptians preferred light makeup that allowed them to enjoy the outdoors without wearing sunscreen or covering their faces with a veil. Sometimes, though, they favored dark makeup that made them look mysterious and powerful.
The use of makeup and cosmetics in ancient Egypt is evidence of beliefs in the power of appearance. Ancient Egyptians believed that how people looked affected their lives and their chances for success.
4. Ancient Egyptian Medicine
Ancient Egyptians were creative with their use of medicine. Their medicines were some of the most effective of the time as they were able to treat or manage many common illnesses.
Using papyrus, ancient Egyptians documented a wide range of surgical procedures. In ancient Egypt, scribes and priests were generally the doctors, and they were well-known for being able to diagnose and help treat or cure a wide range of ailments.
In fact, ancient Egypt is credited with one of the first known schools of medicine, called the House of Life.
Interestingly, ancient Egyptians also practiced dentistry. Dentists performed various procedures, including teeth cleanings and working on rotten or diseased gums and teeth. Did you know that they also used a form of mouthwash to prevent tooth decay?
Another famous ancient Egyptian medicine is eyewash. Eyewash was used to clean out dirt and debris from the eyes. This unique concoction was also used to treat eye infections and other medical problems. Today, eyewash is still used as a cleaning agent for the eyes.
5. The Pyramids
Likely the most famous of the ancient Egyptian inventions are the Pyramids. Pyramids play an important role in ancient Egyptian history.
The construction of the pyramids signaled to other civilizations that Egypt was a powerful country. It is estimated that there are over 100 pyramids still standing in Egypt today.
Pyramids were truly a work of creative engineering. A single pyramid stone could weigh more than an entire elephant. Pyramids were often elaborate construction projects with internal tunnels, chambers, and secret entrances.
Many pyramids and surrounding compounds served as burial chambers for high-ranking government officials, especially Pharaohs.
Pyramid architects were so well-respected that at least one, in particular, would later come to be worshipped as a god. Imhotep, who built Djoser’s step pyramid, was one such ancient Egyptian.
The Pyramids are still a source of wonder for tourists and generate significant revenue for the country.
6. Egyptian Burial Chambers
Ancient Egyptians are well-known for their elaborate and ornate burial chambers. These chambers were used as a testament to the wealth and power of social elites and Pharaohs.
The popularity of burial chambers increased during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods. During this time, funerary texts were written, and tombs were decorated with paintings and sculptures.
The artwork inside these chambers was meant to offer respect to the gods and often served as a testament to the great achievements of Pharaohs and other high-ranking Egyptians.
7. Egyptian Toothpaste
A less well-known invention of the ancient Egyptians was toothpaste. Ancient Egyptians invented a method of making a paste out of rock salt, dried herbs, and pepper.
Some other paste recipes included ingredients like eggshells or ashes from ox hooves. Ancient Egyptians also made concoctions of honey, herbs, and barley to fill cavities.
While other ancient civilizations, such as the Romans and the Chinese also used a form of toothpaste, it is believed that the ancient Egyptians started using these mixtures on their teeth as early as 5,000 BCE, well before the first documented use of toothbrushes existed.
8. The Rosetta Stone
One of the most incredible inventions that originated from Ancient Egypt is the Rosetta Stone. This Stone was used to help scholars learn how to read Egyptian hieroglyphs. The Rosetta stone was initially built by Ptolemy V around 196 BCE.
The Rosetta Stone was rediscovered in 1799 by Pierre-François Bouchard, an officer in Napoleon’s French army. Jean-Francois Champollion, who was a French Egyptologist, was credited with deciphering the Rosetta Stone. Jean-Francois Champollion is considered by the West to be the founding father of Egyptology.
He was able to decipher the hieroglyphs on the Stone using comparative studies with other Egyptian scripts. This helped scholars learn about Egyptian culture and history for the first time. By understanding the hieroglyphics engraved into the Rosetta Stone, historians have also interpreted other ancient writings.
The Rosetta Stone is one of the most important artifacts in all of ancient Egyptian history. Named after the city of Rosetta (Rashid) at the mouth of the Nile, north of Alexandria, it has helped to uncover many secrets about this ancient civilization, and it will continue to help scholars learn about Egypt for years to come.
On the Rosetta Stone itself, there is an announcement inscribed discussing the anniversary of Ptolemy V Epiphanes’s reign of Egypt. The granite slab also contained a list of the Pharaoh’s accomplishments.
The royal decree on the Stone was composed of highly-educated priests, who were revered by their community and viewed as high-class members of society.
9. Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics
One of the most fascinating and recognizable aspects of ancient Egypt is its hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics, or “sacred carvings” in Greek, These symbols were used to write down important information about the Pharaohs and their reigns, which has served to give Egyptologists insight into ancient Egyptian history and culture.
In Ancient Egypt, the linguistics we refer to as hieroglyphics was considered to be the language of the gods. Hieroglyphics can still be found on pottery or plaques in tombs of the dead.
It’s believed that these first forms of writing were also used as identification for bodies. Throughout history, the mediums used to transcribe hieroglyphics changed drastically.
In the beginning, people used papyrus, painting on walls, or writing boards made of wood. Eventually, other materials like leather and bone were used to write as well.
Hieroglyphics are still used today, most notably by the Naxi people, to write sacred texts and other important information. They are an incredible example of how people have been able to communicate with one another for centuries through a system of symbols.
10. Agriculture and Husbandry
Agriculture was another accomplishment present in ancient Egypt. Egyptian crops and livestock were able to withstand harsh conditions and provide food for the population, especially around the fertile Nile Valley.
One of the main crops that the Egyptians grew was wheat. They also produced barley and flax. The Egyptian people discovered how to grow these crops in low-lying areas, notably where the Nile flooded on a yearly basis. These floods left behind extremely fertile soil.
The ancient Egyptians also developed methods of irrigating their crops with water from canals. This led to a significant increase in crop production.
In addition, the Egyptians developed methods of breeding animals. They developed breeds of cattle, sheep, and goats that were able to survive in different environments. This helped to improve animal husbandry and provide more food for the population.
Ancient Egyptian agriculture was a major contribution to the development of civilizations across the world. It allowed the Egyptians to produce more food and achieve a high level of economic stability.
As a result, ancient Egyptians were able to feed a large population, thus producing and sustaining a large standing army. Ancient Egypt’s use of agriculture and husbandry was one determining factor in their ability to expand their territory and influence across the region.
11. Locks and Metallurgy
One of the most remarkable discoveries made by the ancient Egyptians was their knowledge of locks. They were able to create locks that could be opened with a key, but they also developed other types of locks that required a combination.
The sarcophagus lock is one of the most famous examples of an ancient Egyptian lock. This lock was used to secure sealed tombs and sarcophagi. To open the lock, someone had to insert a key into one set of bars and use it to twist the second set of bars. These locks were meant to secure the resting place of important people.
The ancient Egyptians were also very skilled in metallurgy. They were able to produce not only sturdy locks but also manipulated other metals such as copper, iron, gold, and silver. This knowledge allowed them to create a wide variety of tools and jewelry.
The ancient Romans were able to adopt lock technologies that stemmed back to the ancient Egyptians. This led to the concept of locks on doors that we still use today.
12. Ancient Egyptian Time-Telling
One of ancient Egypt’s most advanced technologies was its method of time-telling. Whether through the stars or the solar calendar, Egyptians had complex methodologies to interpret time.
Their calendar was divided into three different seasons, which were four months each: Akhet, Proyet, and Shomu. Days in Ancient Egypt started at sunrise. Their calendar consisted of 365 days.
One week was ten days long and was referred to as a decan. Decans were based on star constellations. While the stars were the method used at night to tell time, devices like sundials and hourglasses were used to during the day.
The world’s earliest known sundial was discovered in the Valley of the Kings and is believed to have been used as early as 1500 BCE. Eventually, the ancient Egyptians transitioned from a lunar calendar to a solar calendar with 30 days per month.
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