Although, I mostly write about techy stuff but I decided why not to fold a few pages of past and write about Most Ancient Civilizations? and here we are, I’ve compiled a list of Top 10 Most Ancient Civilizations ever existed on earth. There are some very old Civilizations though, which I haven’t covered in this list, because I have listed only those Civilizations whose history is well documented not a mere myth, like Atlantis. Now, here it we go:
10. Nok Culture:
Nok Civilization existed in Northern Nigeria. It began around 1000 BC and declined in 300 AD, circumstances are unknown. This civilization pioneered the sub-Saharan production of Terracotta. Some suppose that over-exploitation of natural reserves played a big role in its decline. The Carthaginians introduced iron to them, this Civilization is perhaps the oldest known civilization in Africa.
9. Ancient Greece:
Here is our first and only European entry. Ancient Greece Civilization lasted from 8th century BC (Archaic period) to 6th century CE (end of antiquity). It was the predecessor of Byzantine era. The focal point of this Civilization was, Classical Greece, a time from 5th to 4th century BC. Some popular cities were Sparta, Athens, Ionia and Macedonia, etc. They fought many great fights with the Persians (not to forget the Marathon War). Greeks flourished in many field of Science and Arts.
There were philosophers like Plato, Aristotle and Socrates and mathematicians like Pythagoras (and his famous Pythagoras’ law). Spartans Excelled in Knife-fighting and Body-building. Olympics started in 776 BC. One can argue that it laid the foundation of modern Western Culture. Greek people were Polytheists, Gods they worshiped were Athena, Olympia and Zeus, etc. Their greatest achievement was perhaps, the introduction of the Democracy.
8. Dilmun Civilization:
As I mentioned above for Europe, this is the only Arabian Civilization. Dilmun was an ancient Civilization in eastern Arabia, encompassing modern-day Kuwait, Bahrain and partly Saudi-Arabia. It was an important trading center until 8th century BC. Dilmun was a very prosperous place in 2nd millennium BC. At its peak, it controlled important trading routes. Fellow Sumerians considered Dilmun a very sacred place. In 6th century BC, it was occupied by Babylonians. Dilmun acted as a medium between Mesopotamian Civilization and Indus Valley Civilization for trade.
7. Maya Civilization:
Ever thought that pyramids are only based in Egypt? If yes, then you’re completely wrong. Pyramids are found all over Central and South American Continent. They were built by The Mayans. The Maya was a Pre-Columbian Civilization, stretching from 2000 BC to 16th century. Their origin was Central America and South-American countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Northern Costa Rica, while their main area was Mexico. This civilization was the only one, to have fully developed written language and have advanced knowledge of Mathematical and Astronomical systems, in Americans.
The Mayans were brilliant mathematicians. They had many deities, and human-sacrifice was a common practice between them, like Aztecs. The prediction that 23-12-2012 will be a doomsday, was also told by Mayans, because on this date their calendar ended (literally). Their demise was accredited to the arrival of Spain in 16th century.
6. Ancient China:
So here come the Chinese! In Chinese history timeline, Ancient China is a period that begins with arrival of Xia dynasty (2100 BC), until the 2nd century CE, the fall of Qin Dynasty. Ancient China was also known as Han China, because it was founded by a mythical king, named Han. The Origin of this civilization was Yellow River, which is, considered by many, the first ever civilization in mainland China. Its region included almost all of north-east China. Ancient Chinese were great practitioner of geometry. For many centuries, only Chinese were the sole manufacturers of Silk and Paper. This Civilization was ended with the fall of Qin Dynasty, and there begin a new era called “Imperial China”. Its most important monument is The Great Wall of China.
5. Elamite Civilization:
As the first entry of this second-half, it was an old pre-historic civilization in, what is now south-western Iran. Their main skill was pottery. History of Elam is usually divided into three parts. In First, Elamite history is began around 2700 BCE. Second Period started with 1500 BCE. In third, it is occupied by neighbors Assyrians in 8th century BC. Very little is known about their literature, art, kingdom, etc.
4. Norte Chico Civilization:
It is another old South-American Civilization. Norte Chico was a complex pre-Columbian society, situated in what is now modern-day Northern Peru, with its almost 30 populated cities. Its Peak time was 30th century BC and its the oldest Civilization of American Continent. Its other name was Caral-Supe. It was contemporary to Indus Valley Civilization and Ancient Egypt. The greatest achievement of this civilization were its monuments, which include circular plazas and Platform mounds. They had a very powerful agricultural and irrigational system. There most important product was cotton.
3. Indus Valley Civilization:
Indus Valley Civilization belonged to sub-Continent region. It began probably around (3500 – 4000 BC) and had its peak around 2200 BC. Along with its contemporary Ancient Egypt Civilization, it was one of the oldest known Civilizations. At its Zenith, this Civilization had a population over five million people. This Civilization was based on the Indus River, with Harappa (Punjab) and Mohenjo Daro (Sindh) as two main cities. These cities were known for their urban planning, effective sanitary system, water supply systems, large temples and public baths. Inhabitants of this Civilization were polytheist, and worshipped different animals and other things. There are many theories behind their destruction. Recently a research showed that this was due to a two-century long drought.
2. Ancient Egypt:
For the second place, we came here in land of Mummies and Pyramids. Ancient Egypt was a civilization which began around 3500 BC and ended at 20 BC, when it was finally invaded by the Roman Empire, at its peak, in the second Millennium BC. At first, Egypt had two parts/kingdoms: Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Under Pharaohs, Egypt united to become one single state, stretching towards South modern Sudan. Egypt was a prosperous country, due to Nile River. Cattle were the most important livestock.
Egyptians created their own way of writing using hieroglyphs (some sort of symbols), built huge Pyramids, temples and Sphinx, and had a powerful army. Mathematics played an important role in the life of Egyptians and they used Golden Ratio in the building of Pyramids. They worshiped many Gods, most powerful of them was known as Ra (Sun). Pharaoh was thought to be “Son of Ra”.
Topping our list of 10 Most Ancient Civilizations, Sumer was an ancient civilization which existed somewhere in Southern Mesopotamia. Modern historians suggest that Sumer was first permanently-settled in between 5500th-4000th BC by non-Semitic people. Sumerian Civilization began with Uruk period (4th millennium BC) until 5th century BC. Sumer was site where earliest writing happened, and paper-writing also began there in 3rd millennium BC. Sumerians flourished between the land of Tigris River and the Euphrates. They developed a very effective irrigation system, roughly one millennium before the advent of Indus Valley and Ancient Egypt.
They produced different crops ranging from Barley, Beans, Olives, to grapes and flax. They also learned the art of brick-making. Horses and Camels were still unknown to them but Goats, Donkeys and Dogs were domesticated. They also made use of plow, wood-made wheels for carts and pottery. They were also very good fighters, and used weapons made up of copper.
So, that was it. There were some pretty old civilizations like The Aroi Sun Kingdom of the Pacific, Aksum or Axum Civilization, Yam Civilization, Osirian Empire, Punt Kingdom and many others, mainly because existence of these Civilizations is thought to be, quiet legendary. Thus, I haven’t included these in my list of Top 10 Most Ancient Civilizations Ever Existed. Hope it was a good read for you.