Top 20 Oldest civilization in the world

The beginning of civilization is considered a turning point in the history of mankind. This is a time when scattered groups of hunter-gatherers evolved into more complex societies with permanent settlements, advanced social hierarchies, and groundbreaking technological advancements. 

But how did all this happen and where? Get ready for an exciting journey around the 20 most ancient civilizations in the world.

CivilizationRegionApproximate Time Period
SumeriansMesopotamia (Iraq)4000 BCE – 2000 BCE
Ancient EgyptiansEgypt3100 BCE – 332 BCE
Indus Valley CivilizationSouth Asia (Pakistan, India)3300 BCE – 1300 BCE
Norte Chico CivilizationPeru3500 BCE – 1800 BCE
Ancient Chinese CivilizationChina2100 BCE – 221 BCE
Olmec CivilizationMesoamerica (Mexico)1500 BCE – 400 BCE
Ancient Greek CivilizationGreece2700 BCE – 146 BCE
Harappan CivilizationIndian Subcontinent2600 BCE – 1900 BCE
AkkadiansMesopotamia (Iraq)2334 BCE – 2154 BCE
Minoan CivilizationCrete (Greece)2600 BCE – 1100 BCE
Ancient Persian CivilizationPersia (Iran)550 BCE – 330 BCE
Caral-Supe CivilizationNorte Chico (Peru)2600 BCE – 2000 BCE
Akkadian EmpireMesopotamia (Iraq)2334 BCE – 2154 BCE
Ancient Roman CivilizationRome (Italy)753 BCE – 476 CE
Maya CivilizationMesoamerica (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador)2000 BCE – 1697 CE
Hittite CivilizationAnatolia (Turkey)1600 BCE – 1178 BCE
Ancient AssyriansMesopotamia (Iraq)2500 BCE – 609 BCE
Shang DynastyChina1600 BCE – 1046 BCE
Ancient IsraelitesLevant (Israel, Palestine)1200 BCE – 586 BCE
Ancient Carthaginians (Carthage, modern-day Tunisia)Northern Africa9th century BCE to 146 BC

Mesopotamia: The Fertile Crescent

Commonly recognized as the birthplace of civilization, Mesopotamia (situated between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in modern-day Iraq) saw such empires as Sumerians (4000 BCE – 2000 BCE), Akkadian Empire (2334 BCE – 2154 BCE), and Assyrians (2500 BCE – 609 BCE). These great nations invented cuneiform writing – the earliest system known to us so far; they also laid foundations for math, astronomy, complex irrigation systems.

Did you know? Under Sargon the Great, Akkadians established world’s first empire by uniting most parts of Mesopotamia under one ruler.

Beyond Mesopotamia: Early Civilizations Around The World

While many people focus on Mesopotamia as being among early civilizations, it was not alone:

  • Egypt (3100 BCE – 332 BCE): Egyptians built pyramids along Nile river which provided fertile soil for farming; they also mummified their dead bodies using unique techniques that have never been matched since then; what’s more interesting is that Egyptians developed hieroglyphic writing system.
  • Indus Valley Civilization (3300 BCE – 1300 BCE): Located in present-day Pakistan and India with cities planned well ahead of time like Harappa or Mohenjo-daro where advanced plumbing existed; another amazing thing about them is sophisticated craftworkmanship displayed through artifacts found there.
  • Norte Chico Civilization (3500 BCE – 1800 BCE) & Caral-Supe Civilization (2600 BCE – 2000 BCE): These Peruvian societies had massive public buildings constructed thousands of years earlier than Inca Empire appeared which surprised archaeologists a lot.
  • China (2100 BCE – 221 BCE): From Shang Dynasty (1600 BCE – 1046 BCE) onwards, Chinese civilization experienced rapid growth thanks to inventions such as bronze casting, paper making or compass among others.
  • Mesoamerica (Mexico & Central America): The Olmec civilization (1500 BCE – 400 BCE) is called the ‘mother culture’ in this region because it laid foundation for later societies like Maya or Aztecs who built upon its achievements.
  • Other Notable Civilizations: Ancient Greeks (2700 BCE – 146 CE) left us great philosophical works and beautiful artistic masterpieces scattered all over Mediterranean area; Minoans (2600 BCE – 1100 BCE) dominated Aegean Sea trade routes before being annihilated by natural disaster; Romans (753 BC – 476 AD) created vast empire from Britain to Syria with its capital city Rome becoming a global metropolis where various cultures mixed together; Mayans used advanced calendar system based on astronomical observations and developed hieroglyphic writing system.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What defines a civilization?

Typically, civilizations have permanent settlements, complex social structures including classes or castes where people perform different tasks according to their status within the society, advanced agriculture methods like crop rotation which ensure sustainable food production throughout year round. 

Also they must possess writing systems for record keeping purposes and specialized crafts like pottery making among others.

Which is the oldest civilization in the world?

The Sumerians are widely believed to be the first civilization dating back around 4000 BC in Mesopotamia.

How many ancient civilizations existed?

There is no definite answer to this question because new discoveries are being made all the time by historians and archaeologists who keep revising their theories. 

However, what we have seen so far gives us an idea of just how diverse early human societies were in terms knowledge systems they had developed or technological innovations created.

What can we learn from these ancient civilizations?

These ancient worlds help us understand more about human development, social organization as well creative thinking capacities. 

They also demonstrate our ability to adapt different environments through resourcefulness even when faced with challenges that seem insurmountable at first glance.

Is India older than Egypt?

Tthe answer is highly complicated. Some new research shows that parts of Pakistan and India may have been home to the Indus Valley Civilization which is slightly older than Ancient Egypt, but this has yet to be proven beyond doubt with more evidence being required for verification. Both these civilizations were at their peak around 3300-3000 BCE.

Is India older than China?

The Chinese Shang Dynasty (1600 BCE – 1046 BCE) might not have been as old as the Indus Valley Civilization; a number of early societies sprang up in China during this time.

Were there any civilizations 10,000 years ago?

There isn’t any conclusive proof which points to a fully developed civilization existing 10,000 years ago (10,000 BCE); usually complex social structures along with permanent settlements arise between 5,000-3,000 BC.

Are there any civilizations older than Mesopotamia?

At present no other place on earth has revealed signs of earlier urbanization so it can be said that Sumerians around 4000 BCE gave birth to what we now view as civilized life.

What civilization existed 7,000 years ago?

By about 7,000 years ago (5000 BCE), various regions had seen the rise of pre-civilization settlements and agricultural societies which laid foundations for later civilizations.

Which civilization is 5,000 years old?

Sumerian (southern Mesopotamia), Early Harappan Culture Phase I (Greater Indus Valley), and possibly Pre-dynastic China are among several ancient civilizations dating back approximately five millennia.

What period was it 7000 years ago?

The Neolithic era took place roughly from ten thousand two hundred BC to four thousand five hundred BC. This period witnessed farming and permanent settlements becoming established – although most large-scale societies only developed much later.

What are the Top Ten Oldest Civilizations in Order of Debate:

  1. Sumerians (Mesopotamia)
  2. Indus Valley Civilization (South Asia)
  3. Ancient Egyptians (Egypt)
  4. Norte Chico Civilization (Peru)
  5. Ancient Chinese Civilization (China)
  6. Caral-Supe Civilization (Peru)
  7. Olmec Civilization (Mesoamerica)
  8. Minoan Civilization (Crete)
  9. Shang Dynasty China
  10. Ancient Iranian Civilizations

What are the World’s Most Ancient Surviving Civilization:

It depends. Some people posit that the continuous settlements around Mesopotamia since the rise of Sumerians make it the longest-living civilization. Others say that Egypt has had a culture along the Nile for thousands of years, while China claims to be one country with an unbroken history dating back over five thousand years – although specific dynasties and governing bodies have changed.

What is the Earth’s First Civilizations According to Archaeology:

Archaeologically speaking, Sumerians were first so far discovered.

Is India Considered the Oldest Civilization?

The Indus Valley Civilization makes India a strong contender for having one of the earliest civilizations. However, Mesopotamia holds the current lead based on established timelines.

Which is Oldest: India, Egypt, Greece, China?

Among these two, ancient Egypt and the Indus Valley civilization are considered as being equally old since both flourished around 3300-3000 BC while Greece and China came slightly later with complex societies.

What are the Four Oldest Civilizations in Human History Listed Chronologically:

  1. Sumerians
  2. Indus Valley Civilization
  3. Ancient Egyptians
  4. Ancient Chinese Civilisation

What are the oldest civilization in the world timeline?

  • Mesopotamia, 4000-3500 B.C.
  • Ancient Egypt, 3100 B.C.
  • Ancient India, 3300 B.C.
  • Ancient China, 2000 B.C.
  • Ancient Peru, 1200 B.C.
  • Ancient Mesoamerica, 1200 B.C.