The invention of mathematics is placed firmly in African prehistory. The oldest known possibly mathematical object is the Lebombo bone, which was discovered in the Lebombo Mountains of Swaziland and dated to approximately 35,000 B.C. Many of the math concepts that are learned in school today were also developed in Africa. Over 35,000 years ago, Ancient Egyptians scripted textbooks about math that included division and multiplication of fractions and geometric formulas to calculate the area and volume of shapes.
Using estimates supported by genetic, archaeological, palaeontological and other evidence suggests that language probably emerged somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa during the Middle Stone Age, hence the first words by humans were spoken by Africans.
Architecture and Engineering
Mining of Minerals
The oldest known mine on archaeological record is the “Lion Cave” in Swaziland, which radiocarbon dating shows to be about 43,000 years old. The ancient Egyptians mined a mineral called malachite. While the gold minds of Nubia were among the largest and most extensive in the world.
Metallurgy and Tools
Evidence suggests that ancient Africans sailed to South America and Asia hundreds of years before the Europeans, debunking the propaganda that Europeans were the first to sail to the Americas. Many ancient societies in Africa built different types of boats, from small vessels to large ships that could carry up to 80 tons.
Law and Religion
Several ancient African cultures birthed discoveries in astronomy. Many of these are foundations on which we still rely, and some were so advanced that their mode of discovery still cannot be understood. The Dogon people of Mali amassed a wealth of detailed astronomical observations. They knew of Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons, the spiral structure of the Milky Way and the orbit of the Sirius star system.
Evidence shows that international trade was first developed between Africa and Asia, and among these international trade contacts were the exchange of ideas and cultural practices that laid the foundations of the earliest civilizations of the ancient world.