You might associate ancient Egypt with mysterious pharaohs and majestic pyramids, but the ancient African civilization also invented many things still used today. From taking notes in class to marking an important date on your calendar, you might be surprised how much of your daily life depends on inventions from thousands of years ago.
Writing and Paper
Ancient Egyptians invented hieroglyphics, a form of writing using pictures. The pictures could stand for a sound, word or idea; scribes had to train for years to be able to write in hieroglyphics. Egyptians carved hieroglyphics on the walls of their pyramids -- one way archaeologists learned about their civilization -- and also developed the first kind of paper, called papyrus.
Time and Math
Ancient Egyptians invented the 365-day calendar, and an early form of a water clock. In addition, they developed the decimal system and used complex mathematical calculations to build the pyramids, where they buried their pharaohs. Egyptian architecture also influenced Western architecture; for example, the Washington Monument was designed to resemble an Egyptian obelisk.
- Ancient Egypt; Kathleen W. Deady
- Introduction to the History of African Civilization: Precolonial Africa; C. Magbaily Fyle
Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.org. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.