Are you passionate about History? Read about some of the most advanced ancient civilizations of all time and take a trip to see the remnants of these forgotten worlds.
1) Ancient China 2100 – 221 BC
Along with the Four Great Inventions of Ancient China – printing, paper-making, the compass and gunpowder – the Ancient Chinese have also been credited with inventions ranging from kites to toilet paper. The first recorded observations of solar eclipses and comets were also made in China.
The Chinese brought time-keeping into our lives through Shadow Clocks – forerunners of the sundial which first appeared in China around 2,500 years ago. The crossbow was also developed by the Qin Dynasty which later became the main weapon of European warfare.
The Ancient Egyptians are renowned for being advanced in areas such as Math and Architecture, but did you know that they were forward-thinking in the field of medicine too? Parasitic diseases and malaria were prevalent with the harsh living and working conditions near to the River Nile, with the added danger of crocodiles and hippos.
There is evidence that the Ancient Egyptians had knowledge of anatomy, injuries and practical treatments – with wounds being treated by bandaging with raw meat, opium being used for pain relief and linen soaked in honey to stop infections. Ancient Egyptian surgeons were able to set broken bones and stitch wounds, and garlic and onions were used for good health – a tradition that has continued to this day.
Ancient Egypt was also ahead of their time with regards to gender equality – they viewed all men and women (apart from slaves) as equal before the law. Egyptian women had significantly more choices and opportunities than many of the more modern societies of the period, two prominent examples being the female pharaohs: Hatshepsut and Cleopatra.
3) Inca Civilization 1200 – 1542 AD (Modern day Peru)
From their capital of Cusco, Peru, the Incas conquered an Empire reaching from Southern Colombia to central Chile, and the roads they built created the most sophisticated and extensive transportation system in pre-Columbian South America. One part of this ancient road is the Inca Trail, leading to Machu Picchu. Whether reached by train (the easy way), or via the Inca Trail on a 2-4 day trek (the tiring way), seeing Machu Picchu up close is an essential experience for any modern-day South American adventure.
If you want to complete the trek you’d better be quick though – with trekking numbers strictly limited by the government and rumors that it may be closed to the public in future, time may be running out to complete a pilgrimage to this great archaeological site.
Although well known for their sophistication in Architecture, Math and Astrology, the Ancient Greeks took great strides in the literary world too – playwright Aeschylus invented ‘drama’ through the idea of dialogue, Sophocles is credited with developing irony as a literary technique, and Euipedes used plays to challenge social norms – something that has continued to the present day.
5) Maya Civilization 2000 BC – early 16th Century (Modern day Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras)
Referenced in Blockbuster disaster film 2012, the Maya are well known for being brilliant astrologists and outstanding mathematicians, credited with the invention of zero and measuring the length of a solar year with great accuracy.
What is less well known is the sophistication of the methods they used to produce food – with permanent raised fields, wild harvesting, forest gardens and terracing supporting the population – practices that modern-day Maya people continue today. If you’d like to check out some Maya archaeological sites, Palenque in Mexico, Tikal in Guatemala and Copan in western Honduras are well worth a visit.
6) Osirian Civilization (Modern day Mediterranean)
With around 200 known sunken cities in the Mediterranean, we know that the Osirian Civilization, from the time of Atlantis and Rama, was extremely technologically advanced, with megalithic structures (comprised of very large stones) that were earthquake-proof, and evidence of electricity.
An awesome example of this advanced technology is the Osirian platform found at Baalbek, Lebanon. Made of individual stones, some of which are nearly 100ft long and are estimated to weigh up to 1500 tons each, there are multiple theories about how these stones might have been moved – from using wooden rollers, to flipping them over with levers.
7) Rama Empire 10,000 – 2,500 BC (Modern day India and Pakistan)
Over the last hundred years, the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro (Mound of the Dead) have been discovered in modern-day Pakistan, in the Indus Valley, but what made this ancient civilization so advanced?
Archaeologists believe that these cities were conceived in their entirety before being built, demonstrating an incredibly advanced example of early city planning. Even more incredible is that the sewage system found in these ancient cities was actually superior to that found Pakistan, India and many Asian countries today.
Have you visited any of these sites? What other civilizations would you add to the list? Post your comments below!