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The Oldest Artifacts in History...

For every item we take for granted, there was an ancestor, long, long ago. These unique pieces of our history as a species show us the remarkable journey we've made, over thousands, and tens of thousands of years, to reach this point in our technology and our abilities. We may think a lot of the stuff we know was recently invented, but some go back so far, their origins are lost in the fogs of ancient history...

The Oldest Socks - 1,500 years ago
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These snazzy wool socks were designed to be worn with sandals for an ultra fashionable look in Ancient Egypt, and were found during the 19th century. Image Source

The Oldest Recipe - 5,000 years ago
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Surprisingly, or maybe not so much, the oldest recipe known to be written down is this slab that contains a recipe for very strong beer that contains chunks of bread floating in it. Image Source

The Oldest Sunglasses - 800 years ago
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The oldest sunglasses in history were found in Canada, and were actually designed to protect the wearer from the glare of the snow, which can blind travelers at times.
Image source

Oldest Human Sculpture - 35-40k years ago
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This incredibly ancient piece of art is called the 'Venus of Hohle' by archaeologists, and is the oldest statue of a human figure, depicting a woman of generous proportions, what at that time was probably considered a symbol of fertility and eroticism. It was found in Germany. Image Source

The Oldest Shoe - 5,500 years ago
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This ancient moccasin was found in a cave in Armenia, and is probably over 5,000 years old. The left shoe was never found, and has probably crumbled a long time ago, while the right shoe was protected by grass and dry sheep dung. Image Source

The Oldest Musical Instrument - 40,000 years ago
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This flute is made of vulture bone, and is over 40,000 years old. Just goes to show music has been a part of human culture for a very long time! It was found in Germany.
Image Source

The Oldest Pants - 3,300 years ago
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I love my old pairs of pants, but a 3,300 year old pair of pants is a bit much, even for me. It was found in Western China.
Image source: M Wagner/German Archaeological Institute

The Oldest Toilets You Could Flush - 2,000 years ago
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These 'flushing' toilets, found in Turkey, had running water below the seats that continuously carried the waste away into a nearby river. A terrific design and a prelude to what we have today, 2,000 years later. Image Source

The Oldest Bra - 500 years ago
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Going on to more recent times, this bra is 'only' 500 years old, created between 1390 and 1485 in Austria. Although there are records of earlier 'breast bags' (their name, not ours), this is the oldest one that has survived. Image Source

The Oldest Prosthetic - 3,000 years ago
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Even 3,000 years ago, some people cared enough to create prosthetics. Isn't that nice? This one was to help someone in Egypt walk again. Tests run by experts with a precise replica found that it is a working, practical prosthetic, not just for show. Image Source

The Oldest Purse - 4,500 years ago
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Dog teeth are most of what remains of this ancient purse, found in Germany. They were probably part of the outer flap. Image Source

The Oldest Condom - 370 years ago
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This sheepskin condom dates back to 17th century Sweden. This reusable condom came with Latin instructions to clean it with warm milk. Image Source

The Oldest Chewing Gum - 5,000 years ago
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This gum may be a bit hard now, since it was chewed about 5,000 years ago! It is made of birch bark, and was probably not used for the taste, but for medicinal purposes or as some sort of dental glue. Image Source

The Oldest Recorded Melody - 3,400 years ago
oldest musical tablet

The oldest surviving melody that was written down (and not passed orally) was found in what is now Southern Syria. It was written for the lyre. Image source.


The Oldest Known Coin - 2,700 years ago.
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The oldest known coin was found in Turkey. It has only one decorated side which features a lion's head. Image source.

The Oldest Globe - 510 years ago.
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This old globe was made out of a surprising material - an ostrich egg! Details were painstakingly etched into it. It was made in Italy. Funny fact: The person who owned did not know how rare and unique it was, and sold it to its current owner at a map fair in London, 2012. I bet he's regretting that transaction now!  Image source.
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