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"...the ancient Egyptians were the original-albeit unknowing-nanotechnologists."

Why do the results of Barsoum's research matter most today? Two words: earth cements.

"How energy intensive and/or complicated can a 4,500 year old technology really be? The answer to both questions is not very," Barsoum explains. "The basic raw materials used for this early form of concrete-limestone, lime, and diatomaceous earth-can be found virtually anywhere in the world," he adds. "Replicating this method of construction would be cost effective, long lasting, and much more environmentally friendly than the current building material of choice: Portland cement that alone pumps roughly 6 billion tons of CO2 annually into the atmosphere when it's manufactured."

"Ironically," says Barsoum, "this study of 4,500 year old rocks is not about the past, but about the future."

- LiveScience