Ancient Egyptians Outstanding Inventions | Part One

April 1st, 2024
Dr. El-Shaimaa Abumandour

The ancient Egyptian civilization was one of the most marvelous and rich eras in the ancient world. The ancient Egyptians succeeded in raising their civilization around the Nile River. Since then, Egyptians have been related to their land and the Nile. They have managed to link their daily activities with science and astronomy. Egyptians were renowned as experts in many fields during this epoch, such as scientific fields, applied chemistry, astronomy, engineering, medicine, agriculture, accounting, writing, etc. 

They made a significant breakthrough by developing a writing surface from naturally grown plant papyrus and using natural inorganic salts as writing and painting pigments. They mixed different materials, such as honey wax, vegetable gum, and soot, to produce black ink. Not only that, but they started to use different materials. One of them is red ochre, a natural clay earth pigment that consists of ferric oxide and varying amounts of clay and sand to make different ink colors. As early as 3000 B.C.E., Egyptians invented the first synthetic pigment, Egyptian blue. The invention of ink and the papyrus writing surface allowed Egyptians to document their daily events. Hieroglyphic is the earliest Egyptian writing; it is a marvelous hand carving. It consisted of alphabetic, logographic, and syllabic elements with about a thousand distinguished symbols. Later on, different Egyptian, Greek, and Aramaic scripts evolved from the hieroglyphics. This indicates that hieroglyphics is the origin of most scripts people use nowadays.

The ancient Egyptians were highly organized and devoted to their Nile River and land. They pioneered agricultural and irrigation activities using innovative methods and tools, such as canals and irrigation channels, to deliver water from the Nile River to farm areas far from the river.

Egyptians sacred the Nile River and monitor its flooding cycle accurately. This is why they developed their highly precise solar calendar by tracking the yearly reappearance of a definite star called Sirius in the eastern sky. Sopdet is the ancient Egyptian name of the star, which was even personalized as an Egyptian goddess. The ancient Egyptians were passionate and meditators, so they carefully observed the sky and related the flooding phenomena and land enrichment to the star’s reappearance. The Egyptian calendar is also dependent on the lunar cycles, so their year has twelve months, each with thirty days. This makes the year consist of 360 days, but Egyptians added an extra five years to their calendar days at the start of every year on which they celebrated. 

The ancient Egyptians determined the daily hours and the longest and shortest days of the year using their famous obelisks. The Obelisk is a monument associated with the ancient sun god Ra and symbolizes creation and regeneration. The Egyptians used it as a sundial. They observed the sun’s shadow shape and direction during the day on the obelisk. A water clock is also an Egyptian invention. It was described in an inscription dating to the 16th century BC, found in the tomb of the famous court official Amenemhet. It is a stone vessel that has a tiny hole in its bottom. Hours were calculated from the water dripping from the tiny hole and the marks placed on a vessel collecting water.

Additionally, Egyptians were advanced in metallurgy, especially in the extraction of metals from their ores such as gold, copper, silver, etc. Hence, it could be assumed that the ancient Egyptians were very innovative and among the pioneers in linking science to their daily activities and building a spectacular civilization.

For more reads

Ancient Egyptian Technology and Inventions – Interesting Engineering

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