16 Oldest Surviving Examples of Things We Use Today
Ancient humans may not have the technology we enjoy today, but they have things like flushable toilets, chewing gum and nice purses just like we do. In fact, much more of the everyday stuff we use today have been around for ages and we have listed some of them below.
Bear in mind that these are only the oldest known surviving examples of these things – many of these are known to have existed or may have existed even earlier.
Oldest Socks (1,500 years old)
Found in the 19th century, these Egyptian wool socks, designed to go with sandals, were knitted between 300 and 499 AD.
Oldest Written Recipe (5,000 years old)
“A Sumerian Beer recipe dating back to 3000 BC. The result beer is very strong with chunks of bread floating around in it.”
Oldest Sunglasses (800 years old)
This pair of sunglasses were discovered on Baffin Island in Canada. They were snow goggles, specifically designed to reduce the sun’s glare reflecting from the snow.
Oldest Sculpture Of A Human Form (35,000 – 40,000 years old)
At 35,000-40,000 years old, Venus of Hohle is the oldest sculpture which depicts a human figure. This mammoth-ivory figurine was found in Germany.
Oldest Shoe (5,500 years old)
This 5,500-year-old cowhide moccasin was found preserved by grass and dry sheep dung in a cave in Armenia. The left shoe was not found.
Oldest Instrument (40,000 years old)
This 40,000-year-old flute made from vulture bones was found in southern Germany. Some scientists believe that music may have given our ancestors a strategic advantage over Neanderthals.
Oldest Pants (3,300 years old)
This pair of pants is 3,300 years old and was found in Western China.
Photo: M Wagner/German Archaeological Institute
Oldest “Flush” Toilets (2,000 years old)
Ephesus, an ancient city in Turkey, had “flushing” toilets. Running water below the seats flushes the waste away into a nearby river.
Oldest Brassiere (500 years old)
This bra was used between 1390 and 1485 in Austria.
Oldest Prosthetic (3,000 years old)
This prosthetic was used to help someone in Egypt walk again. Tests carried out with a replica proved that it was a working prosthetic, not just a cosmetic one.
Oldest Purse (4,500 years old)
Found in Germany, these dog teeth are all that remain of a disintegrated 4,500-year-old purse. They were likely part of the outer flap.
Oldest Condom (370 years old)
This reusable sheepskin condom was used in 1640 in Sweden. It came with instructions (in Latin) to clean it with warm milk to prevent users from catching STDs.
Oldest Chewing Gum (5,000 years old)
This chewing gum found in Finland was chewed at least 5,000 years ago. It was most likely used to heal mouth infections or used as a glue.
The Oldest Recorded Melody (3,400 years old)
The oldest surviving written melody was found in Ugarit, which is now part of Northern Syria. The music was written for the lyre.
Oldest Coin (2,700 years old)
The oldest known coin was found in the ancient Hellenic city of Efesos, Turkey. It only has one decorated side that features a lion’s head.
Oldest Globe (510 years old)
This ancient globe was painstakingly etched into the shell of an ostrich egg in Italy. Before its age and origin were verified, it had been sold to its current owner at a map fair in London in 2012.