It’s tempting to believe that our modern lives and those of our ancestors before us are so different as to be virtually unrecognizable. However, you’d be amazed to find out how many of our day-to-day household items have been used by mankind since time immemorial! Some of these are incredibly old – and we’ve got picture proof too!
Here are 16 of the oldest household objects in the world.
1. The World’s Oldest Pair of Socks – 1,500 Years Old
Made between 300 and 500 AD, these handmade woolen socks were discovered in Egypt in the 19th century. It’s surprising that they managed to find both at the same time. I have trouble with keeping mine together virtually the week I buy them.
Beer can be traced right back to the Sumerian civilization, with this 3,000 BC recipe. The beer would have been very strong and contained pieces of floating bread. Still, I’d give it a try. Wouldn’t you?
3. The World’s Oldest Pair of Sunglasses – 800 Years Old
No doubt sunglasses technology has progressed through the centuries, but this squinty mask was an ingenious effort to protect the native Canadians of Baffin Island from the sun’s rays reflected in the snow.
4. The World’s Oldest Human Sculpture – 35,000-40,000 Years Old
Allegedly dedicated to a female goddess roughly akin to Venus-Hera-Freya, this wonderfully ancient sculpture was discovered in the Hohle Fels Cave in Germany. It’s believed to have been carved – with tremendous skill – out of a mammoth tusk.
These Chinese pants have been incredibly well preserved for more than three millennia. They appear to have been woven together with wool and belonged (it’s suggested) to an Asian nomad. The intricate ornamental patterns are something a few of today’s fashion designers could do with cribbing from.
Discovered in Germany, this purse is not only a marvelous relic of prehistory, it’s also renowned for its unique ornamentation. What do you think those little white beads are? They are, in fact, dogs’ teeth! They certainly didn’t let much go to waste in those days, did they?!
9. The World’s Oldest Artificial Limb – 3,000 Years Old
Are you impressed by these realistic wooden toes? You might also be surprised to learn that they were not purely ornamental. In fact, these Egyptian artificial limbs were used to aid crippled people in walking. Furthermore, they were also made so sandals could still be worn.
Just like the first diapers were reusable, so were the first condoms. Originating in Sweden during the 17th century, this example was made from sheepskin. We even have access to the instructions as to its use. You might not want to hear about that so much, but it’s certainly fascinating to know that they used to clean it with warm milk, which they believed would better ward off venereal disease.
11. The World’s Oldest Flush Toilets – 2,000 Years Old
Ephesus was a famous Greek city in modern day Turkey. One of the more amazing survivals from its illustrious past is this public latrine, complete with a system of water flow, similar to the modern toilet flush. The flush carried the waste efficiently to a nearby river.
12. The World’s Oldest Chewing Gum – 5,000 Years Old
Old chewing gum is quite a blot on many a public street, and it can seem almost impossible to get rid of them. No small wonder perhaps then that there’s one 5,000 years old still lingering about! It is fossilized however. Made from birch tree resin, it may well have been chewed in order to provide relief for mouth infections
13. The World’s Oldest Musical Instrument – 40,000 Years Old
This German flute is one of my favorite objects on the entire list. Carved out from ancient bird bones – like this – and mammoth tusks, ancient man made good use of musical instruments. Some even theorize that this artistic propensity gave homo sapiens an edge over homo neanderthalensis.
14. The World’s Oldest Recorded Tune – 3,400 Years Old
It’s often lamented that we don’t have access to the music of the ancient world. The tunes of Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Israel are all irretrievably lost (alas!), yet we do have something even older. This is the Hurrian Hymn no. 6, dedicated to the Moon god’s wife. Found in Ugarit in ancient Syria, the tune is really quite hypnotizing. Have a listen to what it may have sounded like:
Mind blowing to hear the sounds of the ancients, isn't it?!
This is the one that every coin collector in the world dreams of. Found in Hellenic Ephesus(Turkey), it was made through a fusion of silver and gold. Can you make out the roaring lion on the head side?
Allegedly made in Florence (perhaps by Leonardo), these two ostrich eggs depict a different globular map. The maps are of both the old and new world that so fascinated cartographers and explorers during the Renaissance.