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12 Ancient Scientific Instruments You Can Still See Today

Incredible tools used to understand the world thousands of years ago.

Many hundreds of years before the development of modern science as we know it, people made incredible strides in understanding the world around them by developing groundbreaking scientific instruments. Sometimes made with primitive materials and limited resources, these technological tools helped people make remarkably accurate and advanced calculations and observations—paving the way for today’s observatories, clocks, and computers.

These mechanisms, some of which date back as far as 5,000 years ago, were developed on different continents by a wide range of cultures—from advanced metallurgy in India to the influential astronomical calendars of the ancient Maya. Amazingly, some of these ancient scientific instruments have been preserved through the millennia, and can be visited today. Each provides a window into how our ancestors made sense of the world around them. 


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