Engineering in Ancient Civilizations

Engineering is almost as old, as man has been around. This is a true statement, in that the science of engineering has been around almost as long as man has been. Such as the first crane, the shaduf, first built between 4-5 thousand years ago. The shaduf was used to collect water from deep wells, but used all the basic formats of the modern crane. So what is a history of the science of Engineering? It is a science of man and ancient Civilization, itself. But engineering goes much further back, and this is to look at the older use in early civilizations.

  1. Stoneage Civilizations
  2. Middle East and Africa
  3. Greece and Rome

Stoneage Civilization

Not many realize just how much engineering was involved with the stone age civilization. But even the use of knapping was major engineering feats then. Making a point, or a flint tool was not just the breaking off pieces of flint to be worked. It was a very calculated technique of breaking out a specific “heart” stone to work with. If the heart stone was not selected right, and then broke out right, the product would be defective. Such as a point, would not have the strength to withstand the use. Thus, learning to find the heart stone(s) within one piece of flint, was crucial. Then learning how to chip out the desired tool from that, was then next part that had to be done right. This as a major engineering practice taught from one generation, to the next.

Middle East and Africa

As man developed more skills, to build and design out of his environment, the more the science of Engineering advanced. In the middle east, and Africa were some of the earliest forms of what would become modern engineering development. Here we find some of the earliest uses of rollers, cranes (shaduf), pulleys, metallurgy and other engineering mechanics. The building of the monuments, pyramids, palaces and temples, were all aspects of engineering feats.Actual math forms to figure these structures had started to develop as well.

Greece and Rome

By the time Greece became a major power, much of the earliest engineering skills had already been started. Reece through trade and conflict, collected some of the formulas from other civilizations. Here they used their own people, and took these discoveries to new levels. Building and advancing the science. Rome who conquered Greece, again built off from the new discoveries. The crane being one of the machines copied from Greece, which likely got the idea from the shaduf, from somewhere in the Middle East.