How Was Measurement Discovered in Ancient Times?

Measurement is an integral part of our lives. From measuring the ingredients while cooking to measuring the distance between two places, we use measurements in various ways every day.

But have you ever wondered how measurement was discovered in ancient times? Let’s delve into the history of how our ancestors discovered and developed different measuring techniques.

Ancient Measurement Techniques

The ancient civilizations had their unique ways of measuring things. The Egyptians, for example, used cubit rods made up of wood or stone. A cubit rod is a straight stick that measures around 18 inches or 45 centimeters, which is the length from a person’s elbow to the tip of their middle finger.

Similarly, the Romans used a unit called “pes” or foot, which was equivalent to 29.6 centimeters or 11.65 inches. They also used a “passus,” which was two steps taken by an average person and measured around five feet.

Measuring Lengths

In ancient times, people measured lengths using body parts such as hands, feet, and arms. One of the most commonly used units was “span,” which was equivalent to the distance between one’s thumb and little finger when fully extended.

The Greeks developed a more precise measuring system called “stadion” or stadium. It was defined as the distance covered by an athlete running at full speed before taking a breath and measured around 600 feet or 180 meters.

Measuring Weight

In addition to measuring lengths, people also needed to measure weight for trading purposes. The earliest known weighing scale dates back to around 2400 BC in Egypt. It was made up of a balanced beam with two pans hanging from each end.

The Greeks introduced a more standardized weight measurement system based on coins called “talent.” It weighed approximately 26 kilograms or 57 pounds and was used for trading precious metals such as gold and silver.

Measuring Time

The concept of measuring time dates back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Greeks. The Egyptians divided a day into two halves – twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness. Later, the Greeks developed a more precise system by dividing a day into 24 hours.

In conclusion, measurement techniques have evolved over time, starting from simple body parts to standardized units. The contribution of ancient civilizations in developing these techniques is significant. Their discoveries have paved the way for modern measuring systems that we use today.