Ziggurats, which have existed in Sumerian architecture from the 4th millennium BC, were among the oldest towers. The Sumerian Ziggurat of Ur, erected in the third millennium BC, and the Etemenanki, one of the most prominent examples of Babylonian construction, are two of the most notable ziggurats. Who built them is not known with certainty, but many believe it was either a group or an individual architect or engineers who did so.
Towers have been used for religious purposes since ancient times. Priests would ascend these towers to pray for their communities on high days and holidays. In Judaism, Islam and Christianity, prayer is a vital part of faith and worship.
In addition to religion, towers were used for military purposes, as watchtowers, or simply as tall buildings for their aesthetic value. During the Zhou dynasty, China's first imperial dynasty, the term "tower" was used to describe a large fortified palace that served as a residence for the king or emperor.
The first tower type that we know about is the ziggurat, which is described in detail in the Sumerian creation story. It is said that Marduk, one of the main gods of Sumer, created man in his image and then climbed up eight steps to reach heaven. There, the god debated with its equivalent in heaven before deciding to create animals on earth.
The tower mill first appears in written history in Western Europe in the late 13th century; the first account of its existence is from 1295, from Stephen de Pencastor of Dover, while the earliest images come from 1390. Before this time, wind-powered mills were used for grinding corn and wheat. The first evidence of their use in relation to cotton comes from a document dated 1428 in which John II, Duke of Normandy ordered that two such mills be built in his capital city of Rouen.
In England, a law was passed in 1562 prohibiting the building of mills without a license from the lord of the manor. This law may have caused the early development of the windmill as an architectural feature rather than a functional tool. In fact, there are no known examples of true village mills from before this time. Mills using water power had been built earlier, but they were mainly small dams used for irrigation or home heating and were not capable of producing enough power for industrial use.
The first known patent for a true industrial mill was issued in 1775 to Benjamin Turner for a machine designed to make cotton thread. Previous attempts by other people had produced fabrics with mixed results, but nobody had been able to produce high-quality threads until Turner came up with the idea of using rubber bands to drive the machinery.
Concentric castle construction began in the mid-1200s, with the greatest examples constructed in the 1290s and early 1300s. Caerphilly Castle in Wales was the earliest example of this architecture, completed in 1270.
However, the oldest straight single flight of stairs occurred in Mesopotamia and Egypt, erected to enable access to upper floors (Templer, p. 19). Later, during the age of ancient antiquity, Greco-Roman complicated stairs began to be erected, including spiral, zigzag, and double-riser staircases. The Egyptians also invented one type of ladder, which was used for repairing buildings and vehicles (Oldham, pp. 118-119).
The first step staircase was probably invented by the Babylonians in about 1800 B.C. It consisted of two steps cut from a single block of stone and placed side by side. This was probably the easiest way to build a staircase at that time. The Egyptians improved on this design by making the steps out of several pieces of wood or stone put together with the help of nails or leather straps. This made the staircase more durable but also more difficult to build.
About A.D. 100, the Chinese developed another method for making steps. They cut each step of their staircase separately and then joined them together with mortar. This method is still used today in many parts of Asia where timber is scarce or expensive.
Stairways have been an important part of architecture for thousands of years. Even though they may not seem like much now, back in the day they were part of a bigger project - building houses and temples for our gods.
Egyptian As early as 2600 BC, the architect Imhotep used stone columns whose surface was engraved to reflect the organic form of bundled reeds such as papyrus, lotus, and palm. Faceted cylinders were very prevalent in later Egyptian architecture. In fact, they were used as tomb markers for nobles. Hittite Empire: Muwatalli II built a palace at Anitta (near present-day Istanbul, Turkey) that used more than 13,000 limestone blocks. Each block weighed about 20 tons and was cut from a single rock.
Egyptian/Greek Pharaonic Egypt: The first true architects/engineers is still debated between them. But since Egypt was known for its great engineers during the Greek period, we will go with Egypt. They built the pyramids, which require accurate planning and engineering knowledge. And the Pharos lighthouse on the island of Pharos in Greece is also said to have been designed by Egyptians.
Phoenicia: Built their cities out of mud bricks, which are easy to make and not expensive. They used timber for building materials instead of stone. So Phoenicia wasn't really a civilization, but rather an advanced tribe within a larger society.
Crete: Also not a civilization, but rather an island within Greece. Their main occupation was farming, which isn't exactly engineering.