The present is built on the past, and we, the people of the 21st century, owe much of our existence to the ancient civilizations that dotted the globe centuries ago. As interesting it is to document the artefacts and lifestyles of these societies, each layer spurts out interesting facts about the times the ancient people lived in. Here’s taking a look at some of the oldest civilizations that flourished thousands of years ago.

1. Mesopotamia Civilization

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The Mesopotamian civilization came up in what is Iraq today. The name “Mesopotamia” is an ancient Greek term which means a land “somewhere between the rivers”, referring to the valley between the Tigris and Euphrates. Mesopotamia is largely considered as the place where civilized society first began to take better shape. Agricultural activity started taking place around 8000BC. Civic laws, albeit rudimentary, were adopted. Artwork began to be produced, and the Mesopotamians structured and enhanced a society to forge a great civilization.

2. Indus Valley Civilization (Harrapan)

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One of the oldest civilizations of the world, the people of Indus Valley walked the earth from the 28th to 18th century BC. It flourished around the Indus and Ghaggar River in western India and Pakistan. It’s also known as Harappan civilization, courtesy the ancient city of Harappa. The ethnic roots of the Hindus and the Indian people can be traced back to this early civilization. Aryans, the nomadic cattle herders, moved into the region from Central Asia around 1500BC. Agriculture, pottery, and hunting were their main activities.

3. Egyptian Civilization

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It’s perhaps the only country among all ancient civilizations that created an entire branch of historical study: Egyptology. The Egyptian civilization lasted from its union in 3100BC until its takeover by Alexander in 332BC. Artifacts and items, inscribed with hieroglyphs and recovered from archaeological sites not too long ago, have proved how culturally rich the Egyptians were. Right from the pyramids to the statues and tombs, the Egyptian civilization thrived along the Nile. Centuries later, much of ancient Egypt’s life and culture still remains to be discovered.

4. Mayan Civilization

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There are a lot of mysteries associated with the Mayan civilization. It began in the Yucatán region in 2600BC and earned prestige around 250AD in present-day Guatemala, western Honduras, northern Belize, and southern Mexico. The Mayans were extremely intelligent and extensively practiced physics, mathematics, and astronomy. They dug canals and built hydroponic gardens in the Yucatán Peninsula. They were equally qualified farmers, clearing out large tracts of jungle for cultivation where groundwater was limited. It was one of the most technologically advanced ancient civilizations in its time.

Also Read: 13 Amazing Facts about Egyptian Pyramids

5. Osirian Civilization

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The Osirian civilization came up in the Mediterranean region and is widely believed to precede the ancient Egyptians. Nothing much is known of this civilization, only that they may have built the first earthquake-resistant megalithic buildings in the world. Historians assume that the hordes that reduced Atlantis to a rubble, drenched the Mediterranean basin, thereby demolishing the finest cities of the Osirian civilization. Besides the Egyptians, the Minoan and Mycenean cultures are considered as leftovers of this civilization.

6. Ancient Chinese Civilization

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Also known as Han China, the ancient Chinese civilization was known for geomancy, sky chariots, and emerald manufacturing that the people shared with the Mayans. There was much similarity between the Mayans and Chinese, though the two were separated by thousands of miles. One of the major ancient civilizations, the Chinese was the originator of paper currency, earthquake detectors, rocket technology and several other scientific applications. The civilization centered around the Yangtze River, and is likely to have existed before the 1700-1046BC Shang dynasty.

7. Incas Civilization

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The Inca Empire, also known as Tahuantinsuyu, lasted from 1438-1533AD. It covered a considerable part of western South America, including the Andes, and up to central Chile. The Incas built exciting and sophisticated transportation systems in pre-Columbus South America. The Inca Trail, a trekking route to the abandoned Machu Picchu town, is part of this system. While Quechua was the official language, more than 700 dialects were spoken in the region. The Tahuantinsuyu kings encouraged worship of gods and goddesses. Inti, the sun god, was the most important.