Egyptian Technology: Ancient Technological Achievements
Hierarchy of Workers and Education
Ancient Egypt was much like our modern civilized countries today in both values and structure. They set the foundation for technology, which now shapes who we are and why we do the things we do. Despite the great achievements and advancements, we have accomplished in the last 4500 years, we are still very much the same people as those who ran Ancient Egypt.
Like us today, the Ancient Egyptians focused a lot on the hierarchy of workers, the importance of education.
Queen Hatshepsut Statue
Life of a Pharaoh
The largest tomb ever built was created by Pharaoh Khufu, 4500 years ago. People used to believe that aliens built them, others believed that the Pharaoh hired thousands of slaves to build the tomb. Through studies of ancient Egypt, we have learned that there was a sophisticated hierarchy, much like the hierarchy found in a fortune five hundred company.
The workers on a pyramid were very well cared for and may even have had a medical program. When scientists examined x-rays of the worker's bones, they were surprised by the level of care even the lowest level person received. In many cases, the x-rays show that people had fractures prior to their death that were treated. These fractures healed as well as a broken bone set by our best physicians today. This shows not only that they had someone who could set them after they broke, but they were taken care of while their bones healed.
The Hierarchy of Workers
The hierarchy of workers was structured a lot like those of our companies today. Although our CEO's are not thought to be part gods like Pharaohs were, they are the head of our companies. Below the CEO's would be the managers, this is equal to a scribe or an official in Egyptian times. They do a lot of the paper pushing, but not necessarily the work.
The workers or craftsmen were like the... well workers and craftsmen today. The ones who did the hard labor of carrying stones, constructing monuments, were basically what we call our middle class. Now we don't have slaves or peasants, but I'm sure we can look around and see that we have a class that might share many of the same attributes as this part of the hierarchy.
Pyramids in Ancient Egypt
What Inventions Did Ancient Egypt Make?
The ancient Egyptians were ahead of their time when it came to inventions. Some of their most famous inventions include:
- Black ink - They made it with gum, soot, and beeswax. They also were able to make varying colors.
- Calendar - They devised a yearly calendar by calculating where Sirius the constellation was in the sky.
- Clocks - They used two types of clocks. The first being similar to a sundial, and the second a water clock that would keep track by dripping water into containers.
- Irrigation - They utilized the Nile River's yearly flood in order to bring water to their crops.
- Papyrus sheets - They were the first to use a paper-like substance to write on, most other cultures chose to write on stone or animal hides.
- Police - They utilized armed men to protect and defend the citizens.
- Pyramids - Pyramids are probably the most well-known inventions of the Egyptians, which were actually tombs.
- Sickle - The sickle was used to harvest wheat and barley.
- Surgical instruments - They were very advanced in their medical advancements including their surgical tools.
- Toothpaste - Scientists have found directions on how to make toothpaste as well as how to brush one's teeth written on papyrus, proving that this was a practice at the time of at least a few.
- Wigs - Although an Egyptian priest was to be bald, if they could afford it, they often wore a wig.
- Writing - Along with the Mesopotamians, Egyptians were the only ancient people who had a written coded language.
Prosthetic Toe of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egyptians were the first to begin studying medicine. Many of their discoveries 50 centuries ago, affect the medical world today. Partly due to the embalming process; the Egyptians were the first to truly understand the inside of the body. They had to take out the brain and other major organs during the mummification process, which allowed them to see these organs and know how they affected the body.
They also had to find a substance that would keep the mummy dry, otherwise, it may explode during decomposition. They used a substance called Natron, which is very similar to the gel we use today in electronics to keep them dry.
Ancient Egyptians were also some of the first to use math. Pythagoras, one of the earliest mathematicians, studied in ancient Egypt and paved the way to a lot of algebraic formula’s. One of his greatest accomplishments was developing the Pythagorean Theorem. The Pythagorean Theorem has had a profound effect on later mathematics.
Study of Hieroglyphics: Ostracas
We have learned a lot from the hieroglyphics on Egyptian walls, but we have learned even more from ostracas. The word ostraca comes from the Greek word 'ostrakon' which means shell. In ancient Egypt, ostracas were used like today's paper. They were made from flat limestone that they would write on. These would include tax receipts, legal documents, and personal notes, that were diary-like entries.
Through studying these small, but very useful archaeological pieces, we have learned a lot about how ancient Egyptians lived. Deciphered ostracas tell about how ancient Egyptians really enjoyed fornication and gossiping. These little notes told who was sleeping with whose wife, who was cheating on their taxes, or who was honest and who was not. This shows they were not too different from us today.
The ancient Egyptians were much like ourselves, by having a hierarchy in workers, as well as enjoying many of the same things today, such as gossip and other 'sinful' pleasures. They were our predecessors. They marked the ground for many of our own discoveries and the way we structure our country today. In many ways, they are more modern than a majority of the countries we exist today.
Lost Technologies of Ancient Egypt
© 2011 Angela Michelle Schultz