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Science, Technology, and Society in Ancient Times Science and Technology in Pre-Colonial Asian Societies

STONE AGE The Stone Age was the time, early in the development of human cultures when tools and weapons were made of stone. Primitive man fought, killed and prepared food using simple tools made by hitting two stones against each other. The most significant discovery during this was fire because it led to more development. Fire provided warmth and was used in preparing food. It was through this that cooking was born. Other practices that are essential up to the present are pottery, the use of wood as burning fuel and the beginnings of mining could be traced from the Stone Age. Trading, domestication of animals and agriculture were signs of development during the Stone Age. Trading of flint, hard stone for tools, salt and semi-precious stones during that time was a common practice. Despite this, transport was still very primitive. As early man became more settled in one place, domestication of animals such as dogs, pigs, cattle, horse and wild ass was needed to support mans changing lifestyle. This also led to the beginnings of agriculture through cultivation of cereals and the cross-breeding of wild grasses. The more settled lifestyle of man led to early forms of building such as the earliest European houses. The final milestone of the Stone Age was the beginning of the written record where man was said to have passed from prehistory to history. BRONZE AGE The Bronze Age went on from 3000B.C. to 600 BC and was divided in three stages, the Early Bronze, Middle Bronze and Late Bronze age. The early bronze stage was signified by the rise of the beaker culture, introduction of cremation, pottery and metalworking, Middle bronze stage was characterized by the decline in burial rituals, exploitation of architectural landscape, and the building of the Stonehenge which is known to be the most famous monument in Britain. Finally, the late Bronze Age was distinguished with the fabrication of quality shaped tools such as swords, axes, daggers, spearheads and the like. The Bronze Age is known to be the First Golden Age in Europe because it was a time of great change and innovation. Forming of Societies and living religious beliefs were factors that played a big part in this era. It was a time of progress, marked in particular by the widespread of copper, bronze and gold metallurgy. Men and women wore jewelry and were well clothed to show pride in how they looked. Religion and rituals also flourished. Cultivation of crops and raising of animals were great economic activities during the Bronze Age. Little information about homes and settlements were discovered, aside from discovering that people lived in huts, archeologists found most of the homes surrounded by palisades (fences with pointed tops). Use of metal really helped during the Bronze Age in improving lifestyle, they were able to build bridges, carriages and wheeled transports which played a big role for mobility. Trade also played its part during this time. Metallurgy is a big factor in this era, along with the use of fire and the invention of the wheel, the discovery of metals and how to use them was one of the most important accomplishments in human history. This great technological step eventually changed the course of everyday life as stone tools were progressively replaced by metal ones. IRON AGE

The Iron Age brought about advancements in agriculture, manufacture, trade, construction, sea transport, and weaponry primarily because of the abundance and cheapness of iron. The development of their tools and materials (because of iron) improved their daily living. Although the technical advances in this period were not as huge compared to what were contributed by the Bronze Age, its advances were more widespread among people and nations. It also influenced the sciences, arts, literature and human thought. Among its important contributions to human existence are the money economy, a standard system of writing through the Phoenician alphabet, practical applications of the sciences (such as hydraulic devices, pumps, rotary motion), chemical inventions especially blown glass, weaponries, the Greek science, public works (such as roads aqueducts, theaters), the Roman architectural development of the arch and the arched vault, creation of a system of lay (Romans),and the study of natural sciences. PRE-COLONIAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE 3RD WORLD Formalized search for physical knowledge has taken place in the West, South, and East Asia since the dawn of civilization. The development of formalized systems of knowledge from the city culture period began with the Indus riverine civilization. The Indus economy was based on irrigated agriculture, allowing it to produce numerous crops and possess a modern drainage system. It relied heavily on bronze and stone tools and is characterized in architecture by uniformity and standardization, organization, modernization, and simplicity. Its architecture and crafts reflected existing belief systems. In the field of mathematics, it already possessed an awareness of weights and measures. Its production system used flood irrigation and bronze technology. The next phase of the South Asian cultural and intellectual search was marked by the Vedic Period beginning in the15th Century BC at the arrival of the Aryan tribes. The Vedas are literature that provides detailed insights into the scientific knowledge, covering, among other areas, astronomy, mathematics and botany. At around 6th Century BC, other thoughts included psychology, systems of atomism, rules of language, technology, civil engineering, and medicine which later developed in to the system of Ayurveda. These systems of formalized thought evolved into various subject areas such as mathematics, astronomy, atomic theories, acoustics or physics, biological sciences, and in logic and epistemology. Knowledge systems in the pre-colonial 3rd world are of 2 kinds. The first are physical elements manipulated by means and instruments of the time and explained by metaphors formed by man. The second are conceptual frameworks made about uncontrollable phenomena. The problem of One in Many, attempting the plausible explanation of the maximum phenomena by the minimum postulates, is often used. Several unifying concepts can be seen in early South Asian science. These are the philosophical belief of a natural order and cosmic law rta; the concept of water being the first monistic principle; the doctrine of the 5 elements; and atomism. POVERTY AND TRIUMPHS OF THE CHINESE SCIENTIFIC TRADITION

Various sciences flourished during the time of pre-colonial China. In the field of mathematics, specifically arithmetic and algebra, Chinese mathematicians were able to discover concepts such as Pascals triangle and the Cardan suspension centuries before the Europeans did and the value of pi was derived up to ten decimal places 1,600 years before the westerners could even reach seven decimal places. In astronomy, the Chinese were able to record occurrences of novae, comets, meteors, sunspots and eclipses as early as the first century BC. The Chinese were also pioneers in the field of seismology when the first seismograph was invented by the astronomer Chang Heng in 132 AD. Other inventions and discoveries include gunpowder, silk, paper, block and movable type printing, porcelain and the first mechanical clock, which was created by the Buddhist monk and mathematician I-Hsing and could accurately determine the time of day, the positions of the sun and the moon, dawns and dusks, full moons and new moons. Pre-colonial China was governed by a feudal-bureaucratic system wherein the scientists and technicians were considered as civil servants, each belonging to their respective bureaus under the government. Prominent government officials provided support for these scientists and technicians and in return the latter would serve as personal followers of the former. The need for social order stimulated the growth of the applied sciences. Astronomy, Physics and Engineering were considered orthodox sciences of that time. Large civil engineering projects were done in the imperial workshops established by the Mandarinate or under close supervision of government officials. Chinese inventions were more geared at finding ways to avoid lugging and hauling in construction projects and a large number of scientific expeditions and field work were conducted by order of the Chinese government during the pre-colonial period the largest number in any medieval society. MECHANICAL ENGINEERING IN THE MEDIEVAL NEAR EAST With a large population to feed and clothe, the big urban centers of the Islamic world utilized technology to supply fields with water and to process foodstuffs out of crops. Utilitarian technology was important for Islam and water power was harnessed for the benefit of the people. Water-raising machines were invented which includes shaduf, screw or water snail, noria, saqiya and spiral scoop wheel. Waterpower was maximized by Islam planners. Waterwheels were adapted from gristmilling which is used for grinding corn and other seeds. Where water is scarce, the Muslim made use of wind power. Other than utilitarian technology, Islam invented a lot of other gadgets which can be considered fine technology. For example, water clocks and other astronomical instruments were used for astronomical observations and computation. Other devices include those that amused and gave aesthetic pleasure to rulers. These were also devices that were used to teach the principles of pneumatics. Information about these machines came from Arabic treatises or writings. The first is from Banu Musa (three brothers who patronized scholars and were themselves known scientist and engineers) The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Devices for example describe 100 devices. Of these 80 are trick vessels like fountains that can change shapes, self-trimming and self-feeding lamp, a gas mask for use in polluted wells or mines and a grab for recovering objects from streams which is like modern clamshell grab.

Al-Jazari is known for his numerous clocks. His water clocks had feedback control that maintains constant level of water. Another clock created was candle clock, using candles whose rates of burning are known in order to know time. The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices which was completed by Diyar Bakr and other Muslim engineers and their achievements had helped modern machinery.