Ancient Mesopotamia Science and Technology

The Sumerians are perhaps remembered most for their many inventions. Many authorities credit them with the invention of the wheel and the potter’s wheel. Their cuneiform writing system was the first we have evidence of (with the possible exception of the highly controversial Old European Script), pre-dating Egyptian hieroglyphics by at least seventy five years.

They were among the first formal astronomers. They came up with the concept of dividing the hour into 60 minutes and the minute into 60 seconds. They may have invented military formations.

The oldest wheel known however, was discovered in Mesopotamia and probably dates back to 3,500 B.C. This wheel was believed to have been made by the Sumerians. It was made of planks of wood joined together. The first use of the wheel for transportation was probably on Mesopotamian chariots in 3200 BC. It is interesting to note that wheels may have had industrial or manufacturing applications before they were used on vehicles.

History shows that Mesopotamian culture gave birth to some of the greatest technology man have ever developed. In Mesopotamia, a scientific revolution took place. It was so incredible that the sheer amount of advances would not be seen for another 4000 years. Mesopotamian culture is noted as having the first mathematical breakthrough with the invention of exponents and their sister, roots.

This new system of mathematics allowed for the creation of basic architectural designs such as the arch, the dome, and vaulted ceilings. Concepts so simple that man cannot, to this day, improve upon them. This advancement in architecture allowed for more people to fit in less space. This allowed for a population growth as less people had to leave cities. Because of this, there is a need for communication other than speech.

Some Tools invented by the people of ancient Mesopotamia that date to this time are mortar and Pestle-for grinding food; sickle with flint blades for cutting seeds, the blades were glued into the wooden handle using bitumen.

The seed plow, invented by the Mesopotamians, was a major technological achievement. It revolutionized agriculture by carrying out the tasks of seeding and ploughing simultaneously. Seed was dropped down the middle funnel into the furrow that the plow created. The ancient Mesopotamians believed that the god Enlil created the seeder plow and that the image of the plow could also be seen in the stars. They discovered that by observing the movements of celestial bodies they could measure time, which was key for planting crops and for holding religious festivals.

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Ancient Mesopotamian Science and Technology