Civil engineering is the application of physical and scientific principles for solving the problems of society, and its history is complicatedly linked to advances in the understanding of physics and mathematics
Throughout ancient and medieval history most architectural design and construction were carried out by skilled workers, such as stonemasons and carpenters, rising to the role of master builder. Knowledge was retained in guilds and seldom supplanted by advances. Structures, roads, and infrastructure that existed were repetitive, and increases in scale were incremental.
One of the earliest examples of a scientific approach to physical and mathematical problems applicable to civil engineering is the work of Archimedes in the 3rd century BC, including the Archimedes Principle, which underpins our understanding of buoyancy, and practical solutions such as Archimedes' screw.