If you think you have an old grandparent, or that the heirlooms in your house are ancient, just take a look at these artifacts. From clothing to instruments, to an extremely old document, these are 10 of the oldest things of their kind. They were discovered by scientists, researchers, and archaeologists all over the world, and hold the keys to uncovering more about our ancestors’ past. These items give us glimpses of the very first civilizations, as well as the daily lifestyles of people across the globe.
From a pair of socks, to a shoe without its mate, these are objects that may intrigue and fascinate you. We can thank whoever it was that stored an age-old recipe in Sumer for the delightful beverage of beer. We can also see that the female body has been cherished and adored for its curves and softness since ancient times. There is also a piece of eyewear that is still stylish, even after all these years.
Enjoy looking through this list of old objects. You may decide to take a journey around the world to see some of the treasures yourself. Who knows? Maybe you will find your own ancient relic! Perhaps the left shoe to go with the discovered right one…
10. Oldest Pair of Socks
If you have ever grimaced from finding some old gym socks under your bed, prepare yourself for the oldest socks on earth. They date back to the 4th century, and were discovered in the 1800s, in Egypt. After spending 1500 years buried beneath ground, the socks were analyzed and determined to have been made out of wool. They were stitched together using a single-needle stitch and feature a split-toe, which means they were probably worn with sandals or a special shoe. This is just proof that shoobies existed even way back when! We are just glad that we do not have to smell those socks.
9. Oldest Written Recipe
It was so worth it to dig up the oldest written recipe. It is for beer! This tablet is 4,000 years old and is stated to have been given to men in Sumer by the Sumerian god Enki. The written recipe was discovered inside a hymn that was dedicated to the god of beer, Ninkasi. Sumer, which was in Babylon, held beer as its national beverage, and it was of great importance. In what was most likely an accident while making bread, beer became one of the most cherished drinks on the planet. Beer was a major part of Sumerian civilization, and was even included in the pay for citizens of Mesopotamia and Egypt.
8. Oldest Pair of Sunglasses
On North Baffin Island in Canada, the oldest pair of sunglasses were discovered. They resemble snow goggles, and were probably worn by the Inuits in the Arctic, who came to Canada 800 years ago. Many snow goggles from the past were crafted from bone, leather, or wood. They feature tiny slits for the eyes so that the wearer would not suffer from sun glare from the snow. The oldest sunglasses date back to somewhere between 1200 A.D. and 1600 A.D. and were made from walrus ivory. You can see (but not wear) these ancient sunglasses by visiting the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
7. Oldest Sculpture of a Human
The oldest known human sculpture was discovered in Germany and dates back 35,000 years (some say 40,000 years!) Nestled in the caves of southern Germany, archaeologists found the very small figurine carved out of ivory. It resembles accurate human proportions, and represents a female figure. The carving takes the name ‘Venus of the Fels Cave’ and was accompanied by other sculpted artifacts, such as depictions of horses, bison, and birds. The ‘Venus’ has large breasts, as well as swollen lady parts and a big, round belly. No mistaking that for a man, eh? The entire figure measures just six centimeters.
6. Oldest Shoe
This 5,500-year-old shoe is made of leather and was discovered in a cave in Armenia back in 2010. The shoe is quite modern, despite its extra-old age; one designer even gushed over the modernity of it! The leather shoe had grass stuffed inside of it to keep the wearer’s feet comfortable, and the shoe resembles a moccasin of sorts. The shoe was kept preserved thanks to its surroundings of sheep poo, and researchers think this is the shoe for the right foot. That only leaves us exasperated at the absence of the left shoe! The size of the found shoe is equivalent to a United States women’s size 7, and dates back to 3,500 B.C.
5. Oldest Musical Instrument
The oldest instrument was found in the same area as the oldest sculpture depicting a human – at Hohle Fels Cave in southern Germany. The oldest instrument is a flute made of bone, and dates back 42,000 years, according to researchers. The flute is believed to be a relic from the humans who immigrated to Europe from Africa, and is made of the bones from a bird, as well as ivory from a mammoth. 42,000 years ago, the first anatomically modern humans were moving across the globe, and dispersing throughout Europe. The artifact is a piece left behind by these humans before the first Ice Age hit.
4. Oldest Pair of Pants
In China, the oldest pants known to man have been discovered. The pants are said to be 3,300 years old and are believed to have been worn by a man – a shaman, in fact. They are made of animal fur, and were found on a male mummy in China’s Xinjiang province. The trousers resemble modern pants, and scientists are working on preserving the extremely worn-out menswear. Archaeologists state that the pants were most likely used by the men as riding trousers, for transporting themselves by horse. These pants are much more ancient than the second-oldest pair of trousers, which are 2,800 years old.
3. Oldest Flushing Toilet
In the ancient Turkish city of Ephesus, you can find the oldest toilets in the world. Dating back 2,000 years, these are the oldest known “flushing” toilets. They were built to sit on top of a source of running water, which carried the waste away into a river located close by. It is almost interesting enough for us to brave the supposed potty smell and journey to Ephesus to see these toilets ourselves. They were part of the Scholastica Baths and were built in the 1st century A.D. These are believed to have been public toilets for the citizens of Ephesus, although they were charged a fee to use them.
2. Oldest Brassiere
The oldest bra on earth is believed to be the brassiere found in Austria. It dates back 500 years and is said to have been worn between 1390 and 1485. Scientists and researchers have come across descriptions of “breast bags,” but have yet to find an actual physical example of one. The Austrian brassiere is the oldest known female undergarment to be found so far. The medieval bra does not look too torturous, although it is in pretty bad shape. The item is referred to as a brassiere, since the term “bra” was not used until about the early 1900s. The brassiere was found under the floorboards of Austria’s Lengberg Castle.
1. Oldest Prosthetic
Believe it or not, people were using prosthetics 3,000 years ago. If you do not trust us, take a look at the ancient prosthetic toe that was used in Egypt. It is thought to have helped the patient walk normally, and scientists even tested it out to see if it was functional. It was! The prosthetic looks like a false toe, and was worn by a toeless volunteer with the University of Massachusetts. The prosthetic was an alternative to sandals, which were traditionally worn by the ancient Egyptians. The prosthetic was made of wood, so it was probably not the most comfortable, but it beats trying to walk around hot, sandy Egypt barefoot.