Top 7 Ancient Civilizations That Possessed Advanced Technologies


Polynesians, via :

Prosperity of a civilization is usually estimated according to its possession and wide application of advanced technologies. Human history is seen as a linear progression where the future always brings something new and better. But modernities are actually multiple and many ancient civilizations used technologies as sophisticated as that of today.

View Article On One Page



Long before the invention of impeccable satellite GPS navigation, the ancient Polynesian tribes had developed an advanced system of positioning. Taking into account that the Pacific is rather ‘a sea of islands’ than a conglomerate of individual islands in the sea, it was not such an easy task to position each and every piece of landmass. First official evidence about the advanced knowledge of maritime navigation comes from the famous explorer, James Cook, and his diary while aboard the ship Endeavour.  Exploring the Pacific, and on his quest for Terra Australis, Cook stopped at Tahiti in 1769. There he met a high priest under the name of Tupaia who was asked to join the crew and help them with the navigation. What Cook and his ship crew did not know was that Tupaia would be a lot more useful than a simple native speaker translator. Tupaia would name, position and draw on a map almost 130 islands in the Pacific, and even leave side commentaries on some of the islands.

James Cook’s European way of nautical positioning was laborious work. Latitude was calculated with the use of backstaff and sextant. Backstaff relied on the position of the sun and moon, while sextant was used to measure specific angles. It was an even more demanding task to specify longitude. This was done with complicated instruments of log-line and traverse board. Needless to say, it was painstakingly difficult to reach exact calculations. On the other hand, Tupaia and his ancestors relied on memory, the night sky, the direction of bird migration and the patterns of wind and sea-swells. Moreover, the larger islands were used as ‘island compasses’ around which the smaller ones were positioned. Ancient Polynesians drew highly intricate polycentric maps with nothing but the use of stick charts.

Related Posts

7 Incredible Wonders of the Ancient World Lost Forever Even though many have been built, there is a certain number of ancient wonders that have been lost to us forever. The reasons for their disappearance may lie in wars, vandalism or simply, na...
10 Ancient Empires That Had Tremendous Military Power Learn more about the 10 ancient empires who commanded the fiercest and largest armies around the world. Ancient Egypt During the reign of Ramesses II in 1250 BCE, Egypt had what wa...
10 Ancient Cities Lost in Time Nothing lasts forever – not even centers of ancient civilizations (except maybe Rome). So many beautiful cities have been lost or destroyed over time and eventually recovered, but even more ...

What do you think?

  • I don’t mean to be rude but this article is just not up to par with the others I’ve see on the site. It kinda betrays a lack of historical knowledge and context. Its a good effort but it seems like someone wrote it who is maybe from a STEM field and not history proper.

    For one, I may be totally confused but I could have sworn the Inca period was far far later than Ancient Rome. In fact, the empire of Inca only became established about a 2 centuries before the Spanish conquest of mesoamerica. Please let me know if I’m incorrect and I apologize if so. The same goes for the Mayans of course.

    Regarding the Greeks, you can thank Plato and Aristotle for basically everything we call knowledge, education, and rational thought! The philosophy of the Greeks and the Engineering of the Romans are what birthed the modern West even more than democracy.

    In fact, in the Republic, Plato set out to list different forms of governance from best to worst, with Democracy being dead last! Youre still correct, I just think it’s interesting the most famous thinker in western civilization found democracy to be the most destructive and impotent forms of social organization. Basically he assumed it always goes to the demogogue in the end, and the mob is easily swayed into the leaders will, ending up in a tyrannical, decadent, chaotic mess! I guess we have done well proving him wrong but a few centuries won’t mean much if we can’t stabilize for a good millennia!

    But yes, it was still his culture that gave us the any organized concept of egaliatarian idealism which has guided so much of our modern development.

Pin It on Pinterest