Ancient knowledge was a lot more refined and developed than we have been taught hitherto. From batteries to planispheres, an assortment of gadgets have been excavated and found. Two notable finds were the Nimrud lens and the famous Antikythera Mechanism. The 3,000 year old Nimrud lens was discovered at the palace of Nimrud, in Iraq. Some experts believe the lens was part of an ancient telescope the Babylonians used, hence their advanced knowledge of astronomy. And the famous Antikythera Mechanism (200 BC.) was created to calculate the movements of the sun, moon and planets to predict celestial events. Unfortunately, we can only speculate on the ways many of these devices were created, used and why the ancient knowledge pertaining to them disappeared for millennia afterwards.
The Nimrud lens:
Italian scientist Giovanni Pettinato of the University of Rome has proposed that the lens was used by the ancient Assyrians as part of a telescope, and that this explains their knowledge of astronomy (see Babylonian astronomy). Experts on Assyrian archaeology are unconvinced, doubting that the optical quality of the lens is sufficient to be of much use. The ancient Assyrians saw the planet Saturn as a god surrounded by a ring of serpents, which Pettinato suggests was their interpretation of Saturn’s rings as seen through a telescope. Other experts say that serpents occur frequently in Assyrian mythology, and note that there is no mention of a telescope in any of the many surviving Assyrian astronomical writings.