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The Oldest Stuff... in the World!

The Oldest Stuff... in the World!

By Tim Butcher

Did you hear that the world’s oldest pair of pants were recently discovered in China? They were found in an ancient desert burial ground and are guessed to be around 3,000 years old. Surprising, then, that they actually look pretty on trend! It got us thinking about other super old awesome stuff. We made a list of some of our favorites!

The World’s Oldest Working Clock

Let’s start with something designed for telling time. Makes sense, right? Although there are a few contenders for the official title of "world’s oldest clock" (aren’t there always for this sort of thing?), we think the best is the one the lives in Salisbury cathedral in England. This big iron contraption dates back to 1386—it’s been tick tocking for the past seven hundred years! Well, okay, not literally—the clock had to be restored after it was discovered in 1928, so it was probably out of action for a while, but still! Old! Plus, it totally looks the part: it’s all big iron gears and wound ropes. This is a clock for the steampunk generation!

The World’s Oldest Book

What might be described as "the world’s oldest book" might also be described as "the world’s most awesome book." The volume in question is six pages long, printed on 24 carat gold plates and is thought to be around 2,500 years old. Discovered in an ancient tomb in Bulgaria, it’s believed to be Etrurian—that’s an ancient civilisation of people who lived in parts of what is now Italy. The book is so old that scholars are yet to be able to actually decipher what it says. Still, who needs to read it when it’s printed on gold? Just pop it on the bookcase and let the compliments roll in.

The World’s Oldest Map

This one’s a fairly recent discovery—an etching on a stone tablet in northern Spain thought to be the oldest surviving example of a map. The stone, which is about 13,000 years old, appears to depict mountains, rivers and areas marked out for foraging and hunting. It’s thought it may have been used as a reference guide for getting food or even as a way of telling stories, kind of like in Lord of the Rings! Impressively, it does actually correspond accurately with terrain surrounding the cave where it was found. That said, unless you’re planning on finding the best places to snare deer, probably best to just use GPS these days.

The World’s Oldest Tree

Most people know that trees live a pretty long time, but did you know that some have been about for thousands of years? That’s right, there are trees out there that pre-date most of human civilisation. The one that’s commonly agreed to be the oldest is a spindly little Norway Spruce on Fulufjallet Mountain in Sweden. It's called Old Tjikko and is estimated to be about 9,550 years old. That's not a typo. Almost ten thousand years. Alright, admittedly, the part of the tree that you can actually see above ground isn’t that old—it’s actually considerably younger—but the root system that it grows from most certainly is. And while that’s maybe slightly less cool, it’s still cool.

The World’s Oldest Cat

Let’s end on something cute, why don’t we? The Guinness Book of World Records recently recognized a twenty-four year-old cat from Bournemouth, England, as the oldest in the world! While that doesn’t sound like that much, that’s 114 in cat years! This cat is positively venerable. She’s a wise old sage. What do her owners put her long life down to? Lots of exercise, good eating, and, apparently, feeding her the occasional bit of KFC. Seriously! Finally, evidence that fried chicken is the life giving health food that we all always knew it was.

Clothes: vintage or new? Discuss!

Tags: history, science, old stuff, lists, oldest stuff in the world

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