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Examples of Ancient African Inventions

By Yona Williams    5/19/09

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From the way ancient Africans hunted for their food to evidence suggesting some of the early inventions that helped ancient cultures thrive, many advancements took place in many regions of Africa. In this article, you will learn about ancient practices that involved agriculture, art, basket making, weaving, and cloth making. Other inventions and techniques developed by the ancient Africans include:

·    Bows and arrows helped the Africans hunt animals for food, as well as became a useful method of keeping their enemies on their toes.

·    Advancements in agriculture also went hand in hand with the variety of livestock they were able to tend. Pigs, camels, horses, goats, cattle, and sheep were caught and later tamed. Meat became an increasing part of their diet. Changes in the structure and output of the animals that underwent domestication also benefited the Africans. Milk secretions increased, wool became plentiful, and the animal hair was used for weaving.

·    Wall paintings of the ancient Egyptians depict the early use of plows. This invention involved an animal guided by a harness that was connected to a heavy, short-handled, long-bladed hoe – a tool that is still in use to this day. The use of the plow did not catch on to other cultures located outside of Africa until after the Bronze Age (right between the Stone and Iron Age).

·    The first 'plastic' material created by humans was linked to the ancient Africans. It was believed comprised of water, sand, and clay. When molded or shaped, it could make items (like pottery) that was later dried in the sun or baked until it became hard.

·    The cloth making that early Africans participated in thrived due to a variety of inventions. Since the fibers came in a naturally short form, they required assistance in being spun into threads so that cloth could be made. The Africans came up with ways on how to spin threads, as well as weave the threads into fabrics.

·    Basket-making techniques utilized twigs and reeds. As the weaving of baskets advanced, the Africans created mats that would become a stylized form of art in Egypt.

·    By 4500 BC, weaving included the creation of rope.

·    Flax was turned into impressive textiles through weaving by 3000 BC.

·    By 1000 BC, woolen cloth was made by the ancient Africans.

Systems of Counting in Ancient Africa

By the time 35,000 BC rolled around, the ancient Africans started using tally sticks (also known as counting sticks) as a way to keep track of numbers. The ancient African cultures were known as the first people in all the world to use a system of counting to keep track of their affairs.

In the article titled, "Ancient African Science and Mathematics," you will learn more about the ancient African's way of counting and other aspects of mathematics.

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