The most exciting part of hunting antiques is the thrill of unearthing forgotten history. While a classic painting or an old set of silverware can be fun to look at, discovering the significance of these items puts our existence on this planet into context. Many of us live in towns and cities that have existed for over a century, and it’s fascinating to think of all the people who walked down our main streets in generations past.
That said, nothing can compare to learning about the primeval relics that have been discovered in recent history. Below are 10 of the oldest antiques that exist today.
10: The Oldest Known Bra
It may be no Victoria’s Secret, but this 600 year old bra was found in an Austrian castle in 2008. Since the concept of a bra was previously thought to be roughly 100 years old, this linen brassiere’s discovery was a major breakthrough in underwear history.
9: World’s Oldest Sunglasses
Guess who’s responsible for these ancient sunglasses dating between 1200 AD to 1600 AD? The Inuit of the Arctic. They were designed to shield the wearer’s eyes from the bright reflection of the snow’s surface, though we’re sure an ancestor of the Fonz was absolutely nailing it with these on.
8: Egyptian Wool Socks
We know these socks were made between 250 AD and 420 AD, and it’s believed they were designed to be worn with sandals. Beyond that, this ancient footwear raises more questions than answers. Namely, what’s up with the bold red color, and why do they make us hungry for lobster claws?
7: Vintage German Wine
Anyone thirsty for some 1650 year old wine? The bottle was unearthed in 1867 and has sat in the Pfalz historical museum for more than a century, so it’s probably for the best that it stays there. Fine wine gets better with age, but there are limits.
6: Egyptian Prosthetic Toes
At 3000 years old, the most amazing part of the Egyptian prosthetic toes is that they work. It’s speculated that these were designed to help those with missing toes to walk while wearing sandals, and these prosthetics would have made the wearers more comfortable. This is the oldest prosthetic known to exist.
5: Lipit-Ishtar Lyre Hymn
To some, old school music means 1990s hip-hop. To others, it’s 1960s era Beatles, or even 18th century Mozart. Yet if you really want to impress friends with your musical tastes, try breaking out this Lyre track from 1650 BC. It’s the oldest recorded melody known to exist, and it has even been deciphered and performed for modern audiences.
4: Sumerian Beer Recipe
It should come as no surprise that this 5000 year old beer recipe confirms just how long mankind has loved making a good brew. What is surprising, however, is how this ancient beer may have been alcohol free. Looks like this is less Dos Equis and more O’Douls.
3: Prehistoric Leather Shoe
Discovered back in 2010, this 5500 year old Armenian shoe was shocking for two reasons. 1: This relic’s preservation for thousands of years is a miracle, and 2: its design is remarkably modern. It may be no Nike sneaker, but it stands out in an age when sandals were the dominant form of footwear.
2: Venus of Hohle
We’ve discussed some pretty old things on this list, but you should brace yourself for this one: this miniature sculpture is estimated to be 35,000 – 40,000 years old. Academics and laypeople alike debate whether this is a figure of religious significance or a simple primal carving, but it’s fascinating to behold such a primitive artifact regardless of interpretation.
1: Vulture Bone Flute
Here it is, the king of all antiques. Discovered in German caves in 2012, scientists were able to date the animal bones used in this flute as 42,000 years old. To put this in perspective, it’s speculated that flutes such as these were used “before an extremely cold phase of the ice age.” Human history may be a dot on the vast timeline of Earth’s life, but this piece of our primordial ancestors shows how our creations can span time itself.
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