Lost Civilisations of the World

in #history8 years ago

Modern humans have been on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years but it was only around 50,000 years ago that the “behaviourally modern” civilisations began springing up throughout the world, as characterised by our ability to think abstractly and plan in depth.  From nomads to settled civilisations, the transition saw the creation of many different civilisations which date back to tens of thousands of years.

The invention of writing, farming, mastery over the use of fire, language, development of tools, all played a vital role in solidifying the early establishments into becoming something more, becoming functional civilisations. Many civilisations developed over hundreds of years in different parts of the world, completely oblivious of others like them.

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Over the thousands of years many of these civilisations came into and went out of existence. Traces of these are often found in ancient texts, monuments, legends and myths. Some of these perished due to natural disasters, some were self-destructive while others disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Let’s look at 5 such civilisations.

1. The Ancient Maya

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Perhaps, one of the most popularly known civilisations today, (mainly due to the Mayan calendar that predicted the end of the world in 2012), the Mayan civilisation’s development started somewhere around 2000 BC in what is today, southeastern Mexico. Among other things like art, architecture, maths, calendar, etc, they are noted for their astronomical systems.

The civilisation collapsed after reaching its peak in the first millennium AD, though scholars are not sure what caused it. Some say, it was drought, famine, warfare and even climate change. Maybe it was a combination of all these factors. Today, the Mayan monuments, cities and other structures can be found swallowed by the central American jungles.

Conspiracy theorists have often said that the Mayans were in contact with extra-terrestrial civilisations and had technologies far ahead of their time. Maybe their astronomical achievements and the existence of the Mayan calendar, predicting the future, gave birth to these kind of theories. 

2. The Easter Island Civilisation

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This civilisation is a classic example of how a once prosperous, developing and promising civilisation gets lost to time. Believed to have developed between 700-1200 AD, they are mostly known today for the huge stone statues of human heads called Moai, which are 887 in number and are lined up along the island’s coastline.

The people of this civilisation were extremely skilled builder as evidenced by numerous monuments and of course, the Moai. Also, scholars have claimed that over centuries, they have navigated hundreds of miles of ocean to travel to different islands around the area.

Like many other lost civilisations, researchers are not sure as to what led to their disappearance. It is theorised that since they were skilled builders, they probably used up all the resources of their island as their methods were not sustainable, and simply scattered to other places.

3. The Indus Valley Civilisation

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The Indus Valley Civilisation was also known as the Harappan Civilisation and is considered to be one of the greatest civilisations of the ancient world. The depiction of the Indus cities look nothing less than a modern eastern city even though these were built between 3300-1300 BC.

At its peak, this civilisation had 5 million people which accounted for 10 percent of the then world’s population encompassing parts of what today are India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

Their de-facto achievements were urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, and clusters of large non-residential buildings. Apart from this, the inhabitants had developed new techniques in handicraft and metallurgy achieving all of these about 4000 years ago. This really tells you how advanced of a civilisation this was.

But even the mightiest of powers fall and so did Indus. Researchers believe that drought and decline in trade with Egypt and Mesopotamia were the biggest reasons for the collapse of Indus along with an increase in inter-personal violence and increase in infectious diseases like leprosy and tuberculosis. 

4. The Olmec Civilisation

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The Olmec civilisation is around 3600 year old and is thought to be the first major civilisation in Guatemala and Mexico. The Olmecs are considered pretty advanced for their time as evidenced by the “colossal heads” which, researchers are still confused as to how they managed to create.

Other strange activities associated with them were the practise of blood-letting and even human sacrifices in rituals, although the later could be speculation on the researchers’ part. They are also credited to be the first civilisation in the Western Hemisphere to develop a writing system. Also, they are quite noted for their art work.

Their disappearance remains shrouded in mystery as between 400 and 350 BC, there was a sudden and mysterious decline in population. Some say, it was a result of very serious environmental changes and others suggest that it was due to a rise in volcanic activities.

5. The Minoan Civilisation

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This civilisation flourished approximately from 3650 to 1400 BC and is named after the great King Minos. They are also credited to be the first known civilisation in Europe.

As with many great civilisation, they were noted for their social organisation, art and commerce. All that is left of them today is their palaces and the artefacts. Also, interestingly there is no evidence of a military culture, which some researchers believe to be the proof of a purely economical civilisation.

As for their demise, nobody is sure as to what caused it and how. Scholars have suggested that it might be a result of a volcanic eruption on the island of Thera. This eruption is considered to be one of the largest volcanic explosions in the history of mankind. Other theories suggest that they could have been invaded by other civilisations.

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The Ancients are always Fascinating @sauravrungta
Nice Post.
full $teem ahead!

Great post @sauravrungta! As always, you put together a very well written and formatted piece on history. I had never heard of the Minoan civilization. The Indus Valley civilization would have been interesting to be a part of! And that Olmec civilization head looks almost like its been molded and not carved!

Thank you for the kind words :)
I agree. It's very interesting and shocking to realise that these ancient civilisations had some really advanced techniques!

Civilization began the first time an angry person cast a word instead of a rock.

Makes you realize just how young our own civilization is.

Exactly!! We are like a teenager in that regards!

Good post. It's an interesting topic to research. We can't know much more than the evidence that is left behind to show that they existed. Before the flood or ice age, who knows what the world was like... but we can think about it and imagine ... lol.

Take care. Peace.

thank you for the kind words :)
yeah. we are limited to what little evidence we've got! Not knowing the actual, accurate history is a bummer!

Indeed, we are small in light of history and the universe, and yet we think are the best!

A lot of mystery in the lost civilisations. Maybe one day they will discover Atlantis again - but then the magic of the mystery will be gone.
Thanks for the history update. I also love history. I have just wrote an ARTICLE about the siege of Jerusalem by Saladin.

yeah i was about to write about Atlantis but decided not too. maybe in a future post!
Thanks for reading :) i will check out your article too!

Nice work.
Let's hope we don't have to add 'Modern' civilization to this list in a few years time!

haha! it won't be "we" adding ourselves to the list.. it will be some future species! :P

Yes, if there's any fossil fuel left in the ground for them to kickstart their own industrial revolution!

hope they don't! they would be making the same mistakes we made!

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