Models of airplanes thousands of years old… vast works of art that can only be seen from the air… ancient texts that describe aerial battles. Are they proof that ancient civilizations mastered powered flight?
The Egyptian Airplane
In 1898, a peculiar six-inch wooden object was found in a tomb at Saqquara, Egypt that dated back to about 200 BCE. The object had a body or fuselage, seven-inch wings that curved downward slightly, a fixed rudder and a tail. It looked very much like a modern airplane or glider. But since airplanes had not yet been invented in 1898 (never mind ancient Egypt), it was labeled as a model of bird and stored away in the basement of the Cairo museum.
The Carvings at Abydos
Although no airplanes or airplane parts have ever been found from the ruins of ancient Egypt, is there corroborating evidence that they constructed aircraft?
Central and South American Shuttle
Egypt’s isn’t the only ancient civilization that has produced puzzling artifacts. A remarkable gold trinket estimated to be at least 1,000 years old – dating perhaps to between 500 and 800 AD – was found in Central America and along coastal areas of South America. If you weren’t aware of its age, you might guess that it was a child’s model of the Space Shuttle or a delta wing fighter aircraft.
Nazca – A Reason to Fly?