For millennia, humans have been making things, breaking things, and burying them in the ground. And over the past few centuries, archaeologists have been digging them up. Thanks to their work, we can travel the world's museums and marvel at some of the oldest objects ever found.
The Origins of Social Media in the Arabian Peninsula by Liane Al Ghusain, Image 4 (2014) by Liane Al Ghusain, provided by Robert KluijverOriginal Source: http://www.f-in-d.com/stories/museum-of-contemporary-ancient-arabia
It reads: "Tell Ea-Nasir: Nanni sends the following message: When you came, you said to me: "I will give fine quality copper ingots." You left, but you did not do what you promised me. You put ingots which were not good before my messenger…"
The first writing: counting beer for the workers (-3100/-3000)British Museum
Ljubljana Marshes Wheel - Oldest Wooden Wheel with an Axle in the World (2020) by Petar MiloševićSlovenian Tourist Board
Oldest Settlement - 7100–5700BCE
Çatalhöyük is believed to be one of the oldest settlements in human history. It dates to a time before civilisation as we know it: before writing, cities, or even agriculture. There were no temples or palaces. It seems the people here lived in unparalleled social equality.
This modern recreation of one of the Çatalhöyük homes shows how sparse and simple these little dwellings were. Each house had a simple oven, storage space, and bed platform made from clay, and was accessed from the roof by a ladder.
Oldest Stone Structure - 10,000–9,000BCE
Hohle Venus-Fels (Germany) (2015-04-25/2015-04-25) by Musée de Blaubeuren/smergcGrotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Oldest Human Figurine - 33,000–28,000BCE
The small German town of Blaubeuren is home to the oldest known human figurine. The enigmatic 'Venus of Hohle Fels' was discovered in 2008 in a cave in nearby Schelklingen, and is dated to between 28,000 and 33,000 years old.
The statue is small, only a few centimetres, and made of mammoth ivory. It depicts an exaggerated female body, with large buttocks, breasts, and prominent genitals. Similar figures are found across central Europe, and are believed to represent a shared matriarchal culture.
Man-Lion (Hohlenstein-Stadel, Germany) by Université d'Ulm/smergcGrotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site
Oldest Sculpture - 38,000–33,000BCE
Even older than the Venus of Hohle Fels is this, the so-called Lion-Man of Hohlenstein-Stadel. Interestingly, this was found not far from the Venus, but dates to nearly 5000 years previously, showing that complex cultures have inhabited the area for an unimaginably long time.
Stone hammerNational Museums of Kenya
Oldest Stone Tools - 3,300,000BCE
At 3.3 million years old, tools unearthed at Lomekwi are the oldest stone tools ever discovered - older than humanity itself. The tools were used by an unknown and extinct, but advanced, species of hominin. They're now held at the National Museum of Nairobi.
Oldest Water on Earth - +1,000,000,000BCE
The oldest water on earth was extracted from a borehole 2.4km deep. A billion-year-old sample is now held at Ingenium, part of the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Explore the Museum here.