How Were Goods for Trade Transported in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, trade was a vital part of human civilization. People traded goods and resources with each other to fulfill their needs and desires.

However, the transportation of these goods was not as easy as it is today. Let’s take a look at how goods for trade were transported in ancient times.

Overland Transportation

Before the invention of the wheel, people used to carry goods on their shoulders or backs. As time passed, animals like horses, donkeys, and camels were used to transport goods. Trading caravans were formed, and merchants would travel long distances with their pack animals loaded with goods.

Camels were ideal for transportation in deserts due to their ability to go without water for days. They could carry heavy loads on their backs and move quickly across the vast expanses of sand.

Horses were commonly used in Europe and Asia for transportation as they could cover long distances quickly.

Donkeys were widely used in Africa and South America due to their ability to navigate through rocky terrains easily.

Water Transportation

Water transportation played a crucial role in ancient times. Rivers and oceans were used extensively for transporting goods.

Riverboats were commonly used in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China for transporting heavy goods like grains, textiles, and building materials.

Sailing ships were also widely used throughout history for transporting goods over long distances across oceans. The Phoenicians are credited with inventing the first sailing ships around 2000 BCE.

Aerial Transportation

Although aerial transportation was not available in ancient times, some civilizations had ideas about how it could be done.

The Aztecs had a messenger system that involved trained men who would run carrying messages on foot at high speeds. This system was similar to the relay race.


The transportation of goods in ancient times was a challenging task. People had to rely on their physical strength and animals to transport goods across long distances. However, with the invention of new technologies, transportation became much easier, and trade flourished.

Today, we have many modes of transportation like automobiles, airplanes, and ships that can transport goods quickly and efficiently. The evolution of transportation has played a significant role in shaping our world today.