Believe it or not humanity could disappear in a couple of years. This will not be the first time that civilizations have disappeared from the face of the Earth. We know it has been caused by wars, climate change, disease, invasion, eruptions. Though most of the time the causes are large assumptions. Here are 10 mysterious lost civilizations that existed thousands of years ago.
10. The Clovis
Time: 11500 BC.
Location: North America
We do not know much about the Clovis culture, this prehistoric Native American culture is believed to have existed in North America. Its name comes from Clovis site, an archaeological site located near the town of Clovis, New Mexico. Artifacts found on this site in the 1920s consist of stone blades and bone.
It is believed that these people came from Siberia to Alaska across the Bering Strait by the end of the last ice age. Whether it was or not the first culture in North America no one knows. The Clovis culture has gone rather abruptly. Is it because they too hunted and destroyed their own food supply? Or is it because of climate change, disease or predators? Or did the members of this culture are simply dispersed to join other Native American tribes? Or was the fall of a meteorite was the cause of their disappearance?
9. The Culture of Cucuteni-Trypillia
Time: Between 5500 and 2750 BC.
Location: Ukraine and Romania
The largest communities of Neolithic Europe were built by the Cucuteni-Trypilliens where there now lay Ukraine, Romania and Moldova.The civilization of Cucuteni-Trypillia had nearly 15 000 people – an enormous figure for the time that mysteriously disappeared from the surface of the Earth.
The culture of Cucuteni-Trypillia stands out for its pottery. They had this odd habit of burning their own villages every 60-80 years before building new one on the ashes of the old. To date we have identified around 3,000 archaeological sites from this matriarchal society centered around a mother goddess. Their disappearance might have been cause due to drastic climate change leading to worst droughts in European history. Other theories suggest people dispersed into various tribes.
8. The Civilization of the Indus Valley
Time: 3300-1300 BC.
The civilization of the Indus Valley civilization is one of those huge lost civilizations that spread over an area that is now Pakistan and western India. It is one of the most important ancient civilizations. But little is known about them, mostly because nobody has ever deciphered their language. We know that the people built over a hundred towns and villages, including the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Each had its own sewage systems and indoor sanitation. It seems that this civilization without classes and without an army excelled in astronomy and agriculture. It was also the first civilization to manufacture cotton clothes.
This civilization disappeared 4,500 years ago and no one knew about it until the ruins were unearthed in the 1920s. Several theories attempt to explain this disappearance, such as changes in their environment like drying of the river Ghaggar Hakra, colder and drier temperatures. Another theory is that the Aryans invaded the region around 1500 BC.
7. Minoan Civilization
Time: 3000-630 BC.
The Minoan civilization was not discovered until the early 20th century, but has since unearthed many clues about this fascinating civilization appeared that existed for about 7000 years and reached its peak around 1600 BC. Over the course of time, the cities and palaces were built and rebuilt becoming increasingly complex. One of these was that palaces of Knossos, the labyrinth associated with the legend of King Minos (from which the civilization gets its name). It is now an important archaeological center.
The first Minoans spoke a language called Linear A, replaced later by the linénaire B, both based on pictograms and still not deciphered today. It is believed that the Minoans were wiped out by a volcanic eruption on the island of Thera (Santorini today). There is evidence that they would have survived, had not the eruption killed all plant life. It caused a famine, and damaged their ships, which started the economic decline. Another hypothesis about this is that they were invaded by the Mycenaeans. The Minoan Civilization is one of the greatest lost civilizations that once existed.
6. The Mayan Civilization
Time: 2600 BC. AD to 1520 AD
Location: Central America
The Mayan Civilization is a classic example of a mysteriously vanished civilization. Its greatest monuments, its towns and roads were swallowed by the jungle of Central America and its population dispersed in small villages. Languages and traditions of the Mayan people still survive today, but the climax of civilization occurred during the first millennium AD, when their greatest architectural monuments was built and rural Yucatan covered a wide area, which will aujourd ‘hui Mexico to Guatemala and Belize.
One of the greatest Mesoamerican lost civilizations, the Mayan used writing, mathematics, developed a calendar and sophisticated engineering to build its pyramids and terraced farms. The reason for the disappearance of this very advanced civilization is one of the great archaeological debates. It is assumed that infighting, combined with climate change in the Yucatan around the year 900, would have weakened crops and created a famine leading to the abandonment of cities.
5. The Mycenaean Civilization
Time: 1600-1100 BC.
Unlike the Minoan, Mycenaean flourished not only through trade but also through conquest, to the point where their empire spanned nearly all of Greece. The Mycenaean civilization has experienced five centuries of dominating power before disappearing around 1100 BC. Several Greek myths are centered around this civilization, like that of the legendary King Agamemnon who led the Greek army during the Trojan War. The Mycenaean civilization was rich culturally and economically, and has left behind many artifacts. It is not clear why they disappeared: earthquake, invasions, or may be peasant revolts!
4. Olmec Civilization
Time: 1400 BC.
There once flourished the great pre-Columbian civilization of the Olmecs. The first traces of civilization dates back to 1400 BC. In the city of San Lorenzo, there is one of the three main centers of the Olmecs with Tenochtitlan and Potrero Nuevo.
The Olmecs were master builders. One found on these sites large monuments of giant stone heads. This civilization laid the foundation of all Mesoamerican cultures that followed. It is believed that the Olmecs were the first to develop a writing system, they would probably have invented the compass and the Mesoamerican calendar. They knew the use of bloodletting, did human sacrifices and invented the concept of the number zero. This civilization was not discovered by historians until the mid-19th century. Its decline occurred due to climate changes caused by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes or perhaps harmful agricultural practices.
3. The Nabataeans
Time: 600 BC.
The Nabataean civilization flourished in southern Jordan, Canaan region and northern Arabia from the 6th century BC. The Semitic people built the breathtaking city of Petra, carved into the sandstone cliffs of Jordan Mountains. We also know about their talents in hydraulics and their complex system of dams, canals and reservoirs that enabled them to grow in a desert region.
No written record has reached us and we know close to nothing of their culture. This however was a thriving civilization thanks to its geographical position which allowed them to create a network for the exchange of ivory, silk, spices, precious metals, precious stones, incense, sugar, perfume and medicines. Unlike other civilizations of the time, the Nabataeans were not aware of slavery and each contributed to the tasks of the city.
During the 4th century BC, the Nabataeans left Petra and no one knows why. Archaeological evidence shows that their departure was not rushed, which suggests that they have not fled before the invaders. It is believed that the northward migration occurred to find better work.
2. The Empire Of Aksum
Time: 100 AD. AD
The Axum Empire began establishing itself in the first century AD in the area where Ethiopia is now located. Legend has it that this is the birthplace of the Queen of Sheba. Aksum was an important trading center where we ivory exported, resources, agriculture and gold to the Roman Empire and to India. It was a rich society and the first African culture to issue its own currency, which at the time was a sign of great power.
The most distinctive monuments are his steles of Axum, gigantic carved obelisks playing the role of funeral terminals for kings and nobles. The first Aksumite worshiped many gods, the main one being Astar. Then, in 324, King Ezana II was converted to Christianity and became Axum therefore a fiercely Christian culture. According to local legend, a Jewish queen named Yodit defeated Aksumite Empire and burned churches and books. Others believe that it is a pagan queen Bani al-Hamwijah would have caused the decline of the empire. Other theories attribute the decline to climate change and overuse of soils leading to famine. Aksum came second in the list of greatest lost civilizations that vanished into thin air.
1. The Khmer Empire
Time: 1000-1400 AD.
The Khmer empire, one of the most powerful empires and greatest lost civilizations, in Southeast Asia occupied what is now Cambodia to Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Malaysia. Angkor, the capital, became one of the most famous archaeological sites in Cambodia. This empire, which included up to a million people, was thriving during the first millennium. The Khmer practiced Hinduism and Buddhism and had built temples, towers and other sophisticated structures like the Angkor Wat, a temple dedicated to the god Vishnu. The decline of the Khmer Empire was due to the combination of several factors. Though most believe they were invade by the roads built by the Khmers to facilitate transport goods and troops across the empire.
10 Mysterious Lost Civilizations That Once Existed
- The Khmer Empire
- The Empire Of Aksum
- The Nabataeans
- Olmec Civilization
- The Mycenaean Civilization
- The Mayan Civilisation
- Minoan Civilisation
- The Civilisation of the Indus Valley
- The Culture of Cucuteni-Trypillia
- The Clovis
Did we miss any intriguing stuff or do you want to add anything in this list of lost civilizations. Tell us in the comment section below.
Written by: BEAOUI Yusuf