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We’re familiar with the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. We know the contributions they made to the onset of civilization – the timeless stories, archeology and works of art will be learned about long after we’re gone. They’re not the only ancient civilizations, though — here are a few others that you may have forgotten about.
The Olmec lived in south-central Mexico and flourished from around 1500 BCE to approximately 400 BCE. They are considered to be the first major civilization in Mexico and helped lay the foundation for those who came afterwards. They are well known for their artwork, particularly the “colossal heads.”
Land of Punt
Believed to have been located in the modern-day African country of Somalia, the Land of Punt was called Pwenet, or Pwene by the Ancient Egyptians. What we know about the Land of Punt comes from Egyptian trading records, which note that the area was known for its production and trade of gold, aromatic resins, blackwood, ebony, ivory, and wild animals. This photo depicts Hatshepsut’s Egyptian trading expedition to the Land of Punt.
The ancient Dacian civilization was located in modern-day eastern Europe, around the Carpathian mountains and west of the Black Sea. Due to the lack of written records of these people, what we know today comes from what physical aspects of their culture they left behind.
In the area of northern Nigeria, the Nok culture flourished from around 1000 BCE and vanished for unknown reasons in around 300 CE. They are known for the terracotta statuary that has been unearthed by archeologists — it’s highly detailed and, in some cases, life-sized. The pieces that have been found intact are rare and valuable.
The Etruscan civilization lasted from around 700 BCE until it joined the Roman Republic in the late 4th century BCE. The term “Etruscan” is a modern name — they called themselves the Rasenna. Many Etruscan settlements were built on hills and surrounded by walls.
The modern day Mexican state of Oaxaca was the home of the Zapotec civilization, which flourished from approximately 500 BCE to around 900 CE. The center of the civilization was the city of Monte Albán and there are remains of this amazing civilization standing to this day.