Check out our original list of the 10 Oldest Objects Ever Found.
1Zircon Crystal (4.4 Billion Years Old)
This ancient zircon crystal is the oldest known material formed on Earth.
Scientists have dated the crystal to about 4.4 billion years, making it the earliest confirmed piece of the planet's crust.
The crystal was found in an arid region north of Perth, Australia, in a low range of hills called the Jack Hills, in 2001. It is translucent red but glows blue when bombarded with electrons. At 400 micrometers long, its biggest dimension is just a bit larger than a house dust mite or about four human hairs.
To put the crystal's age in perspective, the Earth itself formed 4.5 billion years ago as a ball of molten rock, meaning that its crust formed relatively soon after that, 100 million years later. The age of the crystal also means that the crust appeared just 160 million years after the very formation of the solar system.
The finding supports the notion of a "cool early Earth" where temperatures were low enough to sustain oceans, and perhaps life, earlier than previously thought.
2A Prosthetic Toe (3000 Years Old)
A false toe buried with a mummy 3000 years ago is thought to be the oldest discovered prosthetic device and has passed a test to see whether it could have been used as an aid for walking.
University of Manchester researchers copied the wooden toe and a volunteer with missing toes, wearing the kind of sandals worn in ancient Egypt, tested the replica on a pressure measurement system.
The toe turned out to be a practical walking device, rather than cosmetic.
The wood and leather toe had been buried with a woman believed to have lived between 950BC and 710BC.
3Swiss Army Knife (1800 Years Old)
Is this the world's first Swiss Army Knife? It may very well be. It bears a striking resemblance to modern multi-tools and has at least six distinct functions. It is not Swiss – it originates from the Roman Empire, circa 200 A.D.
This Roman predecessor to the Swiss Army Knife is useful for enjoying food. The tool includes a spike that historians think was used to snag snails out of their shells. A hook-like spatula is thought to have helped coax sauce out of a bottle. The device also includes a fork, spoon, and knife for mealtime, as well as a toothpick to clean up with afterward. Amazingly, all of these tools appear to fold into the handle of the knife to keep everything compact, just like Swiss Army Knives and Leatherman multi-tools we use today.
The tool was found in the Mediterranean in the early 90s, and it predates the modern Swiss Army Knife, invented in 1897, by nearly 1,800 years.
4Cannabis Stash (2700 Years Old)
The world's oldest weed stash was found in a 2,700-year-old grave in the Gobi Desert in 2008.
Nearly two pounds of the still-green plant material was found. A barrage of tests proved the marijuana possessed potent psychoactive properties and casts doubt on the theory that the ancients only grew the plant for hemp in order to make clothing, rope and other objects.
Yes, they used it for getting high too.
The stash was found lightly pounded in a wooden bowl in a leather basket near the head of a blue-eyed Caucasian man who died when he was about 45. Researchers believe he was a shaman from the Gushi people, who spoke a now-extinct language called Tocharian that was similar to Celtic.
What is still in question is how the marijuana was administered, since no pipes or other objects associated with smoking were found in the grave. It is currently believed it was ingested orally or fumigated.
5Stone Tools (3.3 Million Years Old)
It looks just like a nondescript rock, doesn't it? It isn't. It is one of the oldest stone tools ever found, apparently made 500,000 years before the human lineage evolved.
Scientists found the tools in Kenya, near Lake Turkana. It's an area that has yielded numerous ancient artifacts from early humans.
The tools have been reliably dated to 3.3 million years ago – that's 700,000 years older than the previous record for the oldest stone tools ever found.
They were made well before the human genus, Homo, emerged 2.8 million years ago. Clearly early humans didn't make these tools. It is presumed they were made by an early ancestor of humans, probably a member of a genus called Australopithecus that first appeared in Africa about four million years ago.
The gap between these and the previous oldest tools known is long – very long. It suggests that whoever made these newly discovered tools could have died with the knowledge and stone tools were "reinvented" again hundreds of thousands of years later.
6Sex Toy (28,000 Years Old)
In 2005, German scientists discovered one of the world's oldest sculpted phalluses - 20cm of polished siltstone lovingly created around 28,000 years ago.
The stone member was discovered in Hohle Fels Cave near Ulm, Swabia, by a Tübingen University team. It bears the scars of having been used to knap flints and was reassembled from 14 fragments. (Knapping flints involves banging two rocks together to shape stone in order to manufacture tools.)
Despite this abuse, and in a delicious leap of imagination, it's been speculated that the life-size phallus may have been used as a prehistoric sex toy. As Professor Nicholas Conard, from the university's department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, suggestively notes: "It's highly polished."
7DNA Sample (150,000 Years Old)
The Altamura Man became the oldest Neanderthal to have his DNA extracted by researchers.
About 150,000 years ago, a Neanderthal man fell into a well in what is now southern Italy. In 1993, spelunkers spied his skull staring blankly back at them from its nook in the Lamalunga cave, deep under the town of Altamura.
While the man's intact skull and jumbled pile of bones made for a great specimen, they were wedged into a panoply of stalactites and stony globules deposited by water dripping over them for tens of thousands of years.
Researchers decided not to rescue the bones, for fear that trying to ease them out of the cave's calcified grip would shatter them and ruin Altamura Man. So, they left him forever a caveman.
In 2015, researchers had a small change of heart. They took a chip from his right shoulder blade to the lab for research. Metrics taken of his skeleton confirm Altamura Man was a Homo neanderthalensis. The scientists hope they will be able to sequence his DNA, to find out more about the evolution of all hominids – including us.
8Song (3,400 Years Old)
Clay tablets relating to music, containing the cuneiform signs of the "Hurrian" language, were excavated in the early 1950s in the Syrian city of ancient Ugarit (in what is now modern Ras Shamra.) One text contained a complete hymn and is the oldest known preserved music notation in the world.
The tablets date back to approximately 1400 B.C. and contain a hymn to the moon god's wife, Nikal. Remarkably, they even contain detailed performance instructions for a singer accompanied by a harpist, as well as instructions on how to tune the harp.
In 1972, after 15 years of research, Anne Kilmer (professor of Assyriology, University of California, and a curator at the Lowie Museum of Anthropology at Berkeley) transcribed the oldest known piece of music notation in the world. Hear it in MIDI format below:
9Complaint Letter (3750 Years Old)
The oldest known complaint letter goes back 3750 years.
The letter, inscribed on an ancient clay tablet and dating from 1750 B.C., corresponds to the period of Old Babylon. The complaint was made by a certain Nanni to Ea-nasir regarding the delivery of the wrong grade of copper ore after a gulf voyage and about misdirection and delay of a further delivery.
The letter reads:
When you came, you said to me as follows: "I will give Gimil-Sin (when he comes) fine quality copper ingots." You left then, but you did not do what you promised me. You put ingots which were not good before my messenger (Sit-Sin) and said: "If you want to take them, take them; if you do not want to take them, go away!"
What do you take me for, that you treat somebody like me with such contempt? I have sent as messengers gentlemen like ourselves to collect the bag with my money (deposited with you) but you have treated me with contempt by sending them back to me empty-handed several times, and that through enemy territory. Is there anyone among the merchants who trade with Telmun who has treated me in this way? You alone treat my messenger with contempt! On account of that one (trifling) mina of silver which I owe(?) you, you feel free to speak in such a way, while I have given to the palace on your behalf 1,080 pounds of copper, and umi-abum has likewise given 1,080 pounds of copper, apart from what we both have had written on a sealed tablet to be kept in the temple of Samas.
How have you treated me for that copper? You have withheld my money bag from me in enemy territory; it is now up to you to restore (my money) to me in full.
Take cognizance that (from now on) I will not accept here any copper from you that is not of fine quality. I shall (from now on) select and take the ingots individually in my own yard, and I shall exercise against you my right of rejection because you have treated me with contempt.
It just goes to show – good customer service has always been hard to find!