Overview of Ancient African Inventions

Throughout history, Africa has been home to billions of people so it is not surprising that some of the world’s earliest inventions were developed in this continent. In fact, it was our genetic ancestors like Homo erectus who were responsible for creating stone equipment and discovering how to start a fire.

Interestingly enough, other tools such as bow and arrow and the fishing hook were initially developed by Africans even before the start of written history. As humans started to migrate out of Africa, those remaining on the continent kept on developing things and equipment that are now being cherished by everyone in the world. Here are some of the greatest inventions of the ancient African civilization.


It is believed that Ancient Africans developed different systems and concepts mathematics which are now being taught in schools. As a matter of fact, the Lebombo bone which was found in the Lebombo Mountains of Swaziland is considered to be the oldest mathematical object in history.

In addition to the Lebombo bone, the Africans also used tally sticks that were made of lengthened segments of bone or wood which is comprised of markings to indicate quantities. According to scholars, these markings are often related to the number of days in a lunar calendar.


In connection with calendars, it is also widely accepted that the Africans had advanced knowledge of astronomy and were able to determine the unique movements of the Sun, Moon, Earth and stars into a methodic system.

The Adam’s calendar which is an iconic structure that is comprised of stone circles is the earliest evidence of an astronomical calendar. Some scholars have proposed that Adam’s calendar is already 75,000 years old which makes it the oldest man-made structure in history.


A significant amount of treatments that are now utilized in modern medicine were initially employed in Africa, thousands of years ago. In addition, ancient Africans also established schools that were primarily focused to teach medicine in order to pass traditions into the next generations.

Interesting Facts about Ancient African Inventions

  • Ancient Africans also built a wide variety of boats that range from small ships to large vessels which can carry belongings that are up to 100 tons.
  • Advances in tool-making and metallurgy also started in Africa. It is believed that ancient Africans built carbon steel and bronze weapons as well as iron tools, metal chisels and nails.
  • Mali’s Dogon people collected a significant amount of comprehensive astronomical observations. They knew everything from the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn to the orbit of the Sirius star system and spiral configuration of the Milky Way.
  • International trade was initially started by Asia and Africa. Things that were traded included cultural practices and ideas that paved the foundations of the first civilizations of the ancient world.
  • The African Empire of Egypt brought a wide array of distinctive structure and iconic architectural sculptures along the river of Nile. Among the most famous and largest of them all included the Great Sphinx of Giza and the Great Pyramids of Giza.
  • The first weapons of Ancient Africans were made of tree limbs and stone.
  • Ancient Africans also invented baskets that were made of reeds and twigs.
  • The African empire of Egypt developed math textbooks about geometric formulas to help everyone estimate the volume and area of shapes precisely.

How old is the Lebombo bone?

The Lebombo bone is approximately 43,000 years old. It is the earliest indication that ancient humans were making use of organized mathematical systems to account a variety of quantities.

What is the oldest piece of steeled iron?

The Egyptian knife is considered to be the oldest piece of steeled iron.

What are the medical procedures performed by Ancient Africans?

Medical procedures that were performed in ancient Africa include but were not only limited to brain surgery, bullet removal, broken bone setting, limb traction, vaccination, skin grafting, filling of dental cavities and autopsy.

What are snail shells?

Drilled snail shells are considered to be the oldest art object in the world with an approximate age of 75,000 years old.