Who invented the wheel?

Aug 2018
631
london
In many places I can see that it would be either-or, to the people at the time. If, for example, all your fertile land and all your towns adjoin a broad river, people might be quite content with using boats for any needed transport of people or goods, and regard travel over land as very much a second-best option, only done for very short distances, hence might not try to develop technologies to make it easier.
Ukraine was an interaction zone between sedentary river-based farmers and mobile pastoralists inhabiting steppe grasslands... so, following your reasoning, would make sense as the place where wheeled vehicles originated. It’s interesting though that wheel-type symbols were apparently venerated in that general area long before functional wheels were invented.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,574
Netherlands
It’s not really an either-or situation though is it. Wheeled transport is an addition to waterborne transport, an added benefit.
Not really, for a decent boat you only need wood and something to tie it all together. For wheeled transport, you need a cart, draft animals and a team to get the cart past any obstacle. If you want to transport more a cart gets way more cumbersome whereas a boat just needs to be bigger.
Not to mention that when you have draft animals, you can pack them.
 
Aug 2018
584
Southern Indiana
The wheelbarrow was first known to be used in China around 100 AD, oddly though it didn't appear in Europe until about 1200 AD.
 
Aug 2018
631
london
The wheelbarrow was first known to be used in China around 100 AD, oddly though it didn't appear in Europe until about 1200 AD.
Doubtful. There’s some evidence of wheelbarrows in Ancient Greece/Rome. Also in Gaul they had a kind of combine harvester which looks similar to a large wheelbarrow. Seems odd that they would invent something like that but not a much simpler wheelbarrow.

Generator - History of Gallic Reaper
 
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fascinating

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,415
Doubtful. There’s some evidence of wheelbarrows in Ancient Greece/Rome. Also in Gaul they had a kind of combine harvester which looks similar to a large wheelbarrow. Seems odd that they would invent something like that but not a much simpler wheelbarrow.

Generator - History of Gallic Reaper
I don't know what you mean by "some evidence of wheelbarrows in Ancient Greece/Rome", though it really does seem incredible, doesn't it, that the wheelbarrow took so long to be invented, when you consider things like Hadrian's wall and the Pont du Gard were built without the workers having it available.

The Gallic reaper was basically a 2-wheeled cart, pushed (in "cart before horse" fashion) by a horse, clearly not a wheelbarrow.
gall03.jpg

It seems a short-step to make a one-wheeled version, but I think the weak point is maintaining a single wheel, which has to bear the whole load, necessitating stronger construction, involving metal.
 
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