The science of archaeology has helped humanity understand its ancient roots and origins of its civilizations.
Mankind started transitioning from a primitive, nomadic life in the jungles, to a more settled, organized and civilized life nearly five thousand years ago. Human civilizations began to develop in different parts of the world during similar time periods, though the earliest traces of civilization can be found in Asia and Africa.
Let us review some of the major and significant ancient civilizations as follows:
INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION (INDIA)
In the ancient Indus river basin, the Indus Valley civilization began to develop nearly 4,500 years ago. The estimated period of its existence is between 2,500 B.C. to 1,900 B.C. Archaeologists found the ancient ruins of two large cities – Harappa and Mohenjodaro, which are located in modern-day India and Pakistan.
In total, the archaeologists have found over one thousand urban centers that mushroomed in this civilization, mainly along the region of river Indus. The ancient ruins of these settlements are the earliest evidence of urbanization and town planning which took place in the world. Trade and commerce originated in this civilization, and became the primary occupation of people.
The civilization in China began to develop nearly 3 or 4 centuries later than the Indus Valley civilization, as per the available archaeological evidence.
The earliest settlements in China happened along the banks of Yellow River. Some archaeologists believe that the first dynastic establishment in China took place in 2100 B.C. by the name of Xia Dynasty, though with few available records, the existence of this era remains only little understood.
Shang dynasty which came about in nearly 1300 B.C. provides the first material evidence in terms of written records on the bones of animals.
Many archaeologists believe that Egyptian civilization is the oldest in the world, and it developed nearly 5,000 years ago in 3150 B.C. This civilization thrived on the banks of river Nile, which is till today the longest river in the world. The king was known as a Pharaoh, and his status was next only to God. Irrigation systems, writing systems, religious belief systems, mathematics, literature, medicine, architecture etc. flourished in this civilization.
The ruins of this ancient civilization have been found in the modern-day Middle East (primarily, Iraq, Syria and Turkey). This civilization was nestled between two ancient Middle Eastern rivers – Tigris and Euphrates. The origins of modern western philosophy can be traced back to the Mespotamian civilization. The earliest forms of logic, ethics, reasoning and rationality were developed in Babylon, and their traces can be found in their poetry, literature, folklore and hymns etc.
This civilization existed in the modern-day Iran, Afghanistan and other Central Asian regions like Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan etc. There was a time when the glory of the Persian civilization was at its peak, with the empires enjoying almost a superpower status. Islamic and Arabic invasions in the later eras of this civilizations led to the decline of the original Persian empires and establishment of the Islamic rule.
There are several other ancient civilizations that existed at different time periods and in different regions of the world, such as, the Hellenistic civilization, the Roman civilization, the Aztec civilization, the Mayan civilization, the Incas, the Hebrews, the Toltecs, etc.
SUMMARY: Many different ancient civilizations began to develop in the world around different time periods. Each developed its own set of cultures and knowledge, that eventually became the foundation for the modern world in which we live today.