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We imagine that ancient technologies are totally alien from our modern technology.  However, it turns out that a lot of our relatively modern technology is actually quite ancient. Here are eight examples of ancient inventions.

Steam Engine 

The steam engine was first invented by Heron Alexandrinus in 1st Century Greece.  Until 1577 it was forgotten until Taqu al-Din reinvented the device.


Concrete was first used by the Romans.  They mixed limestone and volcanic ash to make a mortar.  They then packed bricks together with the mixture to form the basic materials for roads and other infrastructure.

Central Heating

Ancient Roman had central heating systems from 1000 BC using a system called a hypocaust. In ancient Korea they used a similar system. They called it a ondol. The technology was lost until the late 1850s when the radiator was invented by Franz San Galli.


Modern history says that the seismograph or seismometer was invented in 1880.  However, the first seismometer was invented in 132 AD by Zhang Heng in ancient China.  Its purpose was to detect earthquakes in many remote regions of China.


Ancient Rome is famous for introducing domes into architecture.  However before the Romans the Mesopotamians used domes in their buildings.


The modern toothbrush was first designed by William Addis in 1780 in England.  However, the first toothbrushes date back to 3500 to 3000 BC in Babylonia and Egypt.


Toothpaste in its modern form was first developed in the 1800s.  However, in China and India around 500 BC people used toothpaste.


We think of pancakes as a modern American breakfast.  However ancient Greece had pancakes for breakfast and called them teganetes.