What do cooking, jewelry and boats have in common?

The invention of the wheel is often considered to be the greatest invention of all time. Many people might argue the internet was a better invention, but we’ll save that for another time. Invented around 3,500 BCE, the wheel was an incredible invention, but many inventions came before it that changed humanity forever.


It’s hard to even think that clothes are an invention. They are such a staple of everyday life that trying to imagine a time before humans wore clothes is almost impossible. But, there really was a time before we used to dress ourselves. It is hard to pinpoint when exactly clothes were invented because they degrade so quickly. Scientists estimate that some time around 150,000 BCE clothes were used by humans. They have come to this conclusion as this is roughly the same time clothing lice have been traced back to. Lice aside, we can’t help but wonder what a Neanderthal fashion show would have looked like. Lots of furs we reckon.


So we know the wheel was used to help us transport things, but boats were used to do precisely that way before those fancy wheels were around. Historians and archaeologists have come to the conclusion boats were invented sometime between 43,000 and 8,000 BCE. A canoe in the Netherlands is believed to be the oldest surviving boat, estimated to be approximately 10,000 years old. While the physical evidence trail ends there, people inhabited Australia and other islands in the Pacific at least 45,000 years ago.


Humans soon started adding heat to food after they discovered how to create and control fire. Clearly, this was an important invention as food tastes so much better if it’s cooked, not to mention it aids in the digestion process. It is estimated cooking was invented half a million years ago although others argue it was even earlier than that, some 1.2 million years ago. Whenever it was invented is not too important, the important thing is it was and now we can enjoy so many tasty meals. Think of a juicy burger or a barbeque, they wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for those clever cavemen and women.


While it might not be a requirement in everyday life, it was around way before the wheel was. It has been the object of desire for many kings and queens and is part of the reason the Vikings were so determined to travel across the seas to pillage villages. Without jewelry, the world would have been deprived of pirates. If you’re asking us to live in a world where Johnny Depp didn’t play Captain Jack Sparrow, we have to say we’ll take a cold hard pass on that. It is estimated jewelry was invented around 110,000 BCE.


Pottery came into the world out of necessity. If you wanted to have a drink, you had to use your hands or plunge your face into a pool of water. Besides drinking, pots came in handy when you wanted to store things or eat food like rice. They were made by molding clay into shape and baking until it became hard and solid. It is believed pottery dates back to at least 18,000 BCE. Several pots were recovered in China from that period and are considered to be the oldest surviving examples of early pottery.

Those were some of the inventions that mankind created long before they found a way to master the wheel. We are wondering if any modern inventions can stand the test of time these inventions did.