This is hands-down the most interesting article on history of technology I've read in a very long time. It seems the Middle East, the cradle of the wheeled cart, completely gave up on wheeled transport for 1500 years - it was displaced by, of all things, camels.

Among other things, this explains the mazelike layout of old Arab cities - they're like that because they're optimized for walking and animal-riding, not wheeled transport.

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