- Time of Invention: 6,000 to 4,500 B.C.
While it does appear that Egyptians and others used reed boats for many centuries, it was actually the Greeks who invented the sailing part. Evidence that dates back thousands of years ago shows ceramics from the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture with the use of sailboats. These are roughly from the 6th Millennium B.C.
That pre-dates major Egyptian boats or sails. The earliest direct evidence of ships that we can find goes back to Mesopotamia during the Ubaid Period. This actually evens up well with the ceramic material. Since early Greece revolved around Mesopotamia, this means sails first started here, making them ancient Greek technology.