The oldest known representation of a wheel is on a tablet of clay from Ur in Mesopotamia. Circa 3500 BC, it is a spokeless wheel.

The spoked wheel appears about 2000 BC in Egypt, and then in Syria.

The use of the wheel fades in and out. Many civilizations discover the wheel, and then find out that beasts of burden can do the job better. This was true in the Sassanid dynasty in Persia and in Egypt, where wheels (even spoked ones) had almost disappeared by 30 BC.