20 Lost Civilizations That Disappeared 

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Ruins of Atlantis
Ruins of Atlantis

20 lost civilizations that disappeared 

1. Mississippians

The Mississippian culture was a native American civilization; it existed from around 800 CE to 1600 CE. This society was one of the earliest mound-building cultures and is considered an ancestor to subsequent mound-building Native American cultures in what is now the Southeastern United States. The people of this civilization developed advanced agriculture, large architectural monuments, trade networks, and government. They are known for their vast public works projects and their creation of complex societal hierarchies.

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2. Rapa Nui, Easter Island

Easter Island is an island in the Pacific Ocean that belongs to Chile. The first settlers arrived from South America around 1200 CE, and most researchers believe the island was largely uninhabited until the 17th century. However, recent research suggests that Polynesians settled the island by 700 CE, after which they developed a distinct culture and lived there until their mysterious extinction in 1722.

3. Khmer Empire

The Khmer Empire was an Indianized kingdom that flourished later in the ninth century and began to decline in the 15th century. The empire, which was based in what is now Cambodia, conquered neighboring lands and expanded to cover much of modern Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. Its greatest legacy is Angkor Wat, a temple complex built as a monument to deceased kings.

4. Sumerians

The Sumerians were a civilization that lived in southern Mesopotamia from approximately 4100 BCE to 1750 BCE. Despite a relatively short life span of several thousand years, the Sumerians developed an advanced and thriving culture. They are known for their many contributions to architecture and engineering and innovations in art, mythology writing, mathematics, and science.

5. Maya empire

The Maya civilization flourished for several thousand years, between roughly the 3rd century B.C.E. and 9th century C.E., in Mesoamerica. It is considered one of the most sophisticated and advanced pre-Columbian societies in the Americas. The earliest evidence of Maya culture shows that they were skilled astronomers and mathematicians who used a true writing system.


The Clovis culture is a native North American culture that thrived in the early fifteenth century C.E. This population was present in a vast area that included over 500,000 square miles of territory. The Clovis people are noted for their ability to hunt large games and develop advanced tools, including projectile points and bone harpoons.

7. Anasazi

The Anasazi, also known as the Anawe, were indigenous North American people. The Anasazi inhabited a vast area of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico from around 200 AD to 1300 AD, when they mysteriously disappeared. Some theories attribute their disappearance to epidemic disease, while others suggest that their cultural centers collapsed due to warfare or climate change.

8. Mycenaeans

The Mycenaeans were a people who spoke Greek and occupied the region of Argolis, Sparta, and Messenia (southern Peloponnese) in ancient Greece. They are known for building Mycenae and Tiryns, two of the most important ancient Greek cultural centers.

9. Aksumite empire

The Aksumite empire was a civilization that spread from what is now Ethiopia to the region of modern-day northern Egypt and modern-day southern Sudan. The Aksumites are best known for using obelisks in constructing several temples and palaces and for using an early form of writing, Ge’ez. The Aksumites were a theocratic empire ruled by a king on the side of the Trinity of Abrahamic religions.

10. Catalhöyük

It was a large pre-urbanized settlement in Anatolia. It was located in the mid-lower Tigris-Euphrates valley, near Malatya, Kayseri, and Nevşehir in Turkey. This civilization is notable for being one of the earliest known examples of urban planning. It had about 20,000 people living in a closely packed area inside a stone wall, with streets and plazas and an elaborate ramped entrance from which roads led to an upper town that was reached by another main road.

11. The Cucuteni-Trypillian People

The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture was a European Neolithic culture that flourished from approximately 5500 to 2750 BCE. Most Cucuteni-Trypillian sites were located in present-day Moldova and Ukraine. Archaeologists believe that the people of this city-state spoke Proto-Indo European and early forms of Native American languages.

12. Nabta Playa

Nabta is an ancient archaeological site in the Western Desert of Egypt, located in the Qattara Depression. It dated back at least 2,500 years and was occupied at least as early as 5500 BC and possibly as early as 6000 BC. It was a major center for commerce along the ancient trade route from Egypt to Canaan.

13. Minoans

The Minoan civilization was one of the Bronze Age civilizations that emerged on the Aegean island of Crete ca. 3500 B.C.E. and flourished from ca. 1450 B.C.E. to 1100 B.C.E. The Minoan civilization was the first to develop a writing system, recorded arts and sciences, and a system for recording business transactions, all of which left a legacy for later civilizations such as those in ancient Greece and Phoenicia

14 . Cahokia

The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is located just east of St. Louis, Missouri, along the Mississippi River. It contains the largest prehistoric earthworks in North America and north of Mexico. This site played a central role in regional politics, religion, and trade for about 1500 years as the home of a major political and religious center for the ancient Mississippian culture (800 to 1400). The 120 acres (49 ha) site comprises six major mounds and several smaller mounds.

15. The Harappan

The Harappan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization (3300-1300 BCE; mature period 2600 to 1900 B.C.E.) primarily in the northwestern regions of South Asia, extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. The civilization’s name comes from its first excavated city of Harappa in modern-day Pakistan. Excavation of Harappan sites has been ongoing since 1920, with important breakthroughs occurring as recently as 1999.

16. Silla

The Silla Kingdom (57 BC – 935 AD) was one of the kingdoms of ancient Korea, along with Balhae, Goguryeo, and Baekje. The kingdom Taeguk, known in the Korean language, was founded by King Taejo (and many modern historians believe his coronation date to be February 21). It was one of the great powers of East Asia until the 10th century, when it fell to the Jurchen people in 1234 and was absorbed into China.

17. The Nabateans 

The Nabateans were a people of Arab origin that created a flourishing trade empire in the Southern Levant by 900 BC. The Nabateans could dominate the region until the Romans conquered it.

18. The Sanxingdui

The Sanxingdui culture was a Neolithic (5500-3000 BCE) culture in today’s Sichuan province in China. The culture, a mystery to researchers, was discovered in 1923 by a man digging an underground water channel. Since discovering these artifacts, archaeologists have been interested and baffled by their unique artifacts.

19. Moche

The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru, with its capital near present-day Moche, Trujillo, Peru, from about 100 to 800 during the Regional Development Epoch. While this issue is the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as a monolithic empire or state. Rather, they were likely a group of autonomous polities that shared a common culture, as seen in the rich iconography and monumental architecture that survives today.

20. The sea people

The history of the Sea Peoples is a period of unclear origins and several centuries during which they affected the Ancient Near East, the Mediterranean Sea, and North Africa. As of yet, no one agrees precisely on the events following the arrival of the Sea Peoples in Egypt. The Egyptians would describe them as foreigners, possibly with ties to other groups in their region. This event is not sufficiently understood to conclude what caused this event.

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Categories: History