Found a link to the remarkable Virtual Museum of Ancient Inventions. Things invented by those distant civilizations without which modern life would pretty much not exist. Don't believe me? Let's peruse the exhibit and let me try to convince you of the veracity of the above statement:
1) What do we have first? Ah, yes ... the Woven Cloth from 7000 BC. Wouldn't be very social without this, would we?
2) Potter's Wheel, Egypt, 2400 BC : You know why civilization would have ended without this invention? Other than the fact that we would still be spilling more than drinking, the coasters would never have been invented. The Horror !!
3) Candles, Rome, 500 BC. "Quick ... honey ... this matchstick is about to go out. Light another one. Damn these power cuts !! If only someone could have invented ... something made out of wax that keeps burning for a long time".
4) Arches, Rome, 500 BC. Invented for a more practical purpose - supporting massive aqueducts that carried huge amounts of water from the mountains into the city - arches have found their way into almost every form of architecture known to man.
5) Stone-hurling Catapult, Greece, 400 BC. This one I can live without. A weapon is a weapon is a weapon.
6) Battery, Baghdad, 250 BC. Come on? It's not obvious?
7) Compass, China, 220 BC. "Always getting lost? Never getting where you want to be? Try this amazing new invention - the South Pointer, or as people will call it later, the Compass !"
8) Steam Engine, Alexandria, 100 AD. And here we were, giving James Watt all the credit ! I am sure he has no problems sharing !
9) Abacus, Russia & Japan, Date Unknown. If we didn't have this ... you wouldn't know whether this is item number 9 or 45.
Lots more where that came from. Do visit the museum itself.