(Those books take the history of memory techniques back much further than the Ancient Greeks.)
I guess we would also have to define, “what is a memory technique?” The books describe things like physical devices that you can touch to recall information, myths that encode knowledge, songs that encode maps, stories that link with stars to encode information, message sticks, and much more.
It appears that humans have been thinking symbolically for a long time:
- Neanderthals from 66,700 years ago made art.
- Humans from 100,000 years ago had symbolic thought.
- Homo erectus from 500,000 years ago created symbols, thought the marks appear very simple, and the meaning is unknown.
When did cultural elements like dance, mythology, and song first occur, and when did they start encoding knowledge?
I don’t think that this question can be definitively answered, but it’s interesting to think about.