During my research on artifacts I discovered that they are extremely important to our past, present and future. These items that were made by human beings during various eras in time. By researching these artifacts, I discovered that they can be simple and complicated and useful. The five artifacts that I choose to research are as follows: paper, compass, gunpowder and the printing press which all originated from China. And lastly, the wheel which was from Mesopotamia.
I’ve also added a new artifact from my future that has proven to be valuable to millions. In addition, I’ve added to my conclusion how future generations utilized these artifacts.Artifact 1: PaperThe first artifact is paper (Appendix A, Artifact 1). Paper is made by a thin material produced by pressing together moist fibres of cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets.
It is often cited that paper was invented in 105 A.D by the Chinese. It was reported that it was invented by the Eastern Han Emperor Hodi by Ts’ai Lun, an official of the Imperial Court (Lee). Ts’ai Lun broke the bark of a mulberry tree into fibres and pounded them into a sheet. Later it was discovered that the quality of paper could be much improved with the addition of rags hemp and old fish nets to the pulp.
The paper was soon widely used in China and spread to the rest of world through the Silk Road. The Chinese began to use paper for writing. Around 600 A.D woodblock printing was invented and by 740 A.D, the first printed newspaper was seen in China (Lee). To the East, papermaking moved to Korea, where production of paper began as early as the 6th century AD.
Pulp was prepared from the fibers of hemp, rattan, mulberry, bamboo, rice straw, and seaweed. According to tradition, a Korean monk named Don-cho brought papermaking to Japan by sharing his knowledge at the Imperial Palace in approximately AD 610, sixty years after Buddhism was introduced in Japan. Also paper was introduced to Xinjiang area very early according to the archaeological records. The paper found at Khao Chang, Loulan, Kusha, Kotan, and Dunhuang sites dated as early as the 2nd.
century. The technique eventually reached Tibet around 650 A.D. and then to India after 645 A.D. By the time Hsuan Tsang from China arrived to India in 671 A.D.
, paper was already widely used there. Paper had a huge impact on the time period. It made China more economic powerful because at they kept it a secret and did not tell anybody or spread the word to other groups, this helped made China more economic powerful everybody wanted this new invention. As time goes on the spread of how to make paper increases and every society had an Idea of how to make paper. Also it helped its government, .It was a way to keep records for your government.
They wrote down their laws and policies on paper for their people to follow. Also it had a huge sufficient of how people can communicate with each other even if they do not have the same language. The invention of paper has had a huge impact on human development and human history. Paper has reinvented the way we communicate, record history, and write down literature. It is portable, small, and thin and has triggered the inventions of new cleaning products, printing, and even foods.
In everyday life, a person uses paper or reads something on a piece of paper that will tell them something new everyday. The piece of paper is one the greatest invention ever discovered. Artifact 2: The CompassThe second artifact is the compass (Appendix, Artifact Two). A compass is an instrument used for navigation and orientation it shows the direction relative to the geographic cardinal directions.
Over 2,000 years ago, the compass was invented in China during the period of the Han Dynasty. The first compass was made out of lodestone, a naturally magnetized ore of iron. The compass was later used by the Song Dynasty.
In order to use a compass you need to first figure out which direction is North, than you let the needle settle and rotate the compass card so the needle lines up with the north-south axis and the end of the needle colored red, marked with an arrow, or printed ‘N’ points north. You can then instantly see which direction is South, East, or West and (with the help of a map) set off in the direction you need to go.Before the discovery of the compass, humans used landmarks to determined the direction where they were traveling. Days that were overcasted at sea the Vikings probably would utilize a clear crystal to locate the direction of the sun and estimate the time of daylight. When the compass was invented it improved traveling through the sea and land allowing travelers to view landmarks that were not yet located and helped with bad weather conditions. This helped people to navigate safely far from their homeland. It also increased sea trade and contributed to the Age Of Discovery.
The magnetic compass was used for geomancy and fortune-telling by the Chinese, it was not used for navigation. Some of the Chinese compasses were designed to keep order and harmonize buildings according to the geomantic principles of Feng Shi. Overall, the compass has helped solve mysteries and uncover treasures; it was there for discovery after discovery. It has been a huge impact on human development and an enormous impact for our technology in the world. The United States Army, continues to utilize older lensatic card compass designed with magnetized compass dials instead of needles. Today the compass is replaced by a Global Positioning System (GPS). Artifact 3: The WheelThe third artifact is the wheel (Appendix, Artifact Three).
It was invented around 3500 B.C.E in Mesopotamia. The first wheels were not used for transportation, they were used as a pottery wheel before they were used on chariots (Dhwty). Some people believed that the invention of the wheel was one the earliest invention ever made because it appeared to be so simple.
But several inventions came before the wheel by thousands of years like the sewing needle, woven cloth, rope, basket weaving, boats and even the flute. Although it revolutionised the way people travelled and transported goods, the camel was a much more efficient form of transportation in the desert environment and the wheel had been used for domestic purposes, such as irrigation, and milling.It’s components is made in a circular design that has to rotate on an axle bearing, it definitely needs to be connected to a strong and stable platform. In addition, the ends of the axle and the holes in the center of the wheels need to be made perfectly round and smooth. If these items are not made accurately and precise, it could result in the friction between the components, which would not allow the wheel to turn. Another important asset is the axle, it needs to fit snug into the holes of the wheels, yet have enough room to allow the axle to move freely. It’s actually surprising that the wheel originally was not made for transportation. Instead, it was claimed was used for by potters and over 300 years later the first wheels for used for transportation.
(Dhwty). Over human history the wheel was used to help discover new inventions like the invention of the automobile, the wagon, and the airplane making transportation a faster and easier way to get around and transport goods. People are finding new ways to make use of the wheel.Artifact 4: Printing Press The fourth artifact is the printing press (Appendix, Artifact Four).
People say the that Johannes Gutenberg in 1440 was the founder of the printing press; however, over 600 prior before Gutenberg, the Chinese monks were setting ink to paper by using a method known as block printing. This method is when wooden blocks are coated with ink and pressed to sheets of paper (sorted like stamps). Early method of printing were also used in Japan and Korea as early as the eighth century (Palermo). Private printers used both wood and metal blocks to produce the Buddhist and Taoist treatises before the movable type was invented.
Speaking of the movable type, the Woodblock printing came in the 11th century, when a Chinese peasant named Bi Sheng (Pi Sheng) developed it. Although Sheng was a commoner and didn’t leave much of a historical trail. His ingenious method of printing with hundreds of individual characters, was well-documented by his contemporary, a scholar and scientist named Shen Kuo. .One of the earliest surviving books printed in Sheng method and fashion is an ancient Buddhist text known as “The Diamond Sutra”(Palermo). It was created during the Tang Dynasty in China.
The printing press or so called at this time the woodblock printing helped them by printing books and making copy of laws or records.Today the printing press is one of the greatest invention in human history. The printing press helped to create newspaper, magazines, and online newspaper as we see today. If not for the printing press, there wouldn’t be books, textbooks, money, etc. that are all valuable resources we use in our daily lives.Artifact 5: GunpowderThe Fifth artifact is gunpowder (Appendix, Artifact Five).
During the Tang Dynasty gunpowder was discovered by a Chinese Alchemist. Gunpowder was the first physical explosive and propellant. Gunpowder consists of a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate. Gunpowder was mostly used with the military, it was used in the cannons and used to fire arrows. In addition, individuals use gunpowder in fireworks.
Gunpowder is known as one of the greatest inventions in Chinese history. Gunpowder was quickly put to use by the reigning Sung dynasty against the Mongols, whose constant invasions into the country plagued the Chinese throughout the period (Whipps). The Mongols were the first to be subject to flying fire an arrow fixed with a tube of gunpowder that ignited and would propel itself across enemy lines. More gunpowder-based weapons were invented by the Chinese and perfected against the Mongols. The sale of saltpeter to foreigners was banned in 1076.
Gunpowder remained a monopoly of the Chinese until the 13th century. when the science was passed along the ancient silk trade route to Europe and the Islamic world (Whipps). Gunpowder impacted the future history in the biggest way.
Gunpowder made guns and more advanced weapons for war. Guns were first very slow to reload and very inaccurate. As history goes, more high tech and powerful guns were getting introduced into the world. In the 20th century, some of the deadliest guns made were used in wars and killed millions.
As paper made a positive impact and so did the wheel, gunpowder was one of the greatest inventions of all-time but also the worst because of its future technology of what people made out of it and how much it was used in wars. Artifact 6: InternetThe sixth artifact that is from the world today that I think will have a huge impact in the future is the invention of the Internet. The Internet was invented or began in the 1950s with electronic computers. Competing with the Soviet Union in the Cold War the United States was always trying to out compete the Soviets and the technology was their but wasn’t like it is today. As many great people helped improve and make the internet possible, the internet is the greatest invention of all time. Today’s world you have to use some kind of technology that uses the internet and you couldn’t live without using the internet.
Internet and online has become something we have to live off to survive and succeed in life. In conclusion, the six artifacts that I researched are valuable. Such as, without paper we would not be able to educate ourselves through books, newspapers, important documents and infact how would we print money for our economy? That’s brings up the fact of how important the printing press was without that, we wouldn’t be able to print on the paper.
Without a compass directions to get from point A to point B. What about gunpowder, without gunpower, how would we have fought for freedom, land, hunted? The wheel besides the compass, it also helps with navigation. It helps with driving a car, tires, the steering wheel, horse and buggy. Lastly, the newest and current invention, the internet. The internet is one of the latest keys to technology. It can help nativate (similar to a compass through Google maps), it can contact individuals (old phone books), research documents, purchase and sell items on the internet. All of these artifacts have been a part of the past and have enhanced the future.