The past is a mystery. While there are millions of history books recounting the discoveries that we have made and the stories that have been passed down from generation to generation, the truth is that we don’t know a lot of what happened thousands of years ago. Today thanks to the internet everything is documented and it is likely that those in the future will know about the current age in incredible detail (possibly a little too much as the crazy frog and baby shark are not things we will be proud of in a few years’s time). Unless of course something wipes out the internet and we are sent back into the dark ages only to slowly progress and evolve again. It is unlikely but it could happen. Who is to say it hasn’t happened already thousands of years ago? There is some evidence that there were technologies used many years ago that we were unaware of and have long since been forgotten.
One of the most amazing of these inventions has been described as an analog computer and it dates back over 2,000 years. Now please understand, I am not trying to argue that there was once computers and internet like we have in modern-day, but this analog computing device shows that technology was being used. The device works like an old clock with gears turning. The clock instead of telling the time was able to map the celestial skies. It was found at the bottom of a shipwreck and it has been dated back so far that it is now clear there are gaps in our understanding of history. When we talk about the voyages of Columbus in 1492 we still don’t credit them with having anything resembling the advancement of a device like this.
Sticking with 2,000 years ago there is now evidence that someone had made a battery. In 1983
a discovery was made just outside Baghdad. There was a clay jar, a copper cylinder and an iron rod. If you take these three things and add acid (like vinegar) inside you would create electricity. The jar basically functioned as a battery. However, we have no idea why anyone 2,000 years ago would need a battery, and what this invention was used for? Experts speculate that it may have been used as part of a religious function to give followers a slight shock but in reality, we are just guessing. In fact, we are probably giving these ancient people the least amount of credit possible. What if this battery was used to power something, 2,000 years ago?
We only need to look at the drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci to see that there were great ideas in the 1400s that we believe could not have been a reality. He had plans in place for armored tanks and helicopters and we assume that the technology was not in place to make any of these ideas a reality. From reading his transcripts it appears that is the case but who really knows.
We have lost so much from that time and earlier that there were likely many inventions that we had no idea were real. The ancient Greeks had automatic doors and the ancient Chinese had earthquake detection devices. They had these inventions at a time when we assume they had no idea what an earthquake was. We like to make ourselves feel smart by imagining those in the past assumed it was the anger of the gods and that was that, but the Chinese were actively analyzing these geographical events.
While the internet clearly didn’t exist 2,000 years ago, there are many inventions or ideas that were in place that we are unaware of. Whether these ideas didn’t take off because of a lack of interest, a lack of materials, or if perhaps they took off and we are simply unaware of their success, is and will always be unknown.