Archeology Culture X-Files

7 Intriguing Ancient Cultures History Almost Forgot

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“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”

Ariel Durant

You must have heard of the ancient Egypt, the Greeks, and the Maya culture. The artifacts, the sculptures, the shrines, the monuments, the paintings continue to remind the history lovers and archaeology enthusiast about them. However, there are other ancient cultures as well, which have been obliterated from the ancient world map.

A short summary of such 7 ancient cultures:

1. The Silla

sillaeft: The last king of Silla, King Gyeongsun (r. 927–935)/ Right:The Silla bell was cast in 771 CE.

– The longest standing royal dynasties is what the Silla Kingdom was all about. It triumphed to most part of the Korean Peninsula amidst 57 B.C. and A.D. 935. There is not much archaeological evidence. This kingdom was thought to be found by the monarch Bak Hyeokgeose. Human reminiscent of the Silla people is really extinct, however, archaeologist could get hands on luxurious goods. Though human remains from the Silla people are rare, archaeologists have unearthed a variety of luxurious goods made by this culture, from a gold-and-garnet dagger to a cast-iron Buddha to jade jewelry, among other examples held at the Gyeongju National Museum in South Korea.

2. The Indus

indusLeft: Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-daro, Sindh province, Pakistan, showing the Great Bath in the foreground. Mohenjo-daro, on the right bank of the Indus River, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first site in South Asia to be so declared/ Right:Indus valley seals with Bull, Elephant, and Rhinoceros, 2500–1900 BCE

– It is the largest known primitive-urban culture. The inhabitants of the land resided from the Indus River (Pakistan) to the Arabian Sea, even the Ganges (India). The civilization initiated from 3300 BC and declined by 1600 BC. They were also known as Harappans. Along with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia  it was one of three early civilisations of the Old World, and of the three, the most widespread.The Indus, also known as the Harappans, developed sewage and drainage systems for their cities, built impressive walls and granaries, and produced artifacts like pottery and glazed beads. They even had dental care: Scientists found 11 drilled morals from adults who lived between 7,500 to 9,000 years ago in the Indus Valley, according to a study published in 2006 in the journal Nature.

3. The Sanxingdui

7 Intriguing Ancient Cultures History Almost ForgotLeft: Sanxingdui bronze heads with gold foil/ Right: A large bronze head with protruding eyes believed to be a depiction of Cancong, the semi-legendary first king of Shu

– they belonged to the Sichuan province of China. Excavation in this region has revealed complex jade carvings and bronze sculpts. The site portrays signals of abandonment almost 2,800 years ago. There is another city in the vicinity of the site, Jinsha, which has evidence of the people of the province moving in here.

Many Chinese archaeologists have identified the Sanxingdui culture to be part of the ancient kingdom of Shu, linking the artifacts found at the site to its early legendary kings.

4. The Nok

7 Intriguing Ancient Cultures History Almost ForgotLeft:Nok sculpture, terracotta, Louvre/ Right: Nok rider and horse 53 cm tall Age: 1,400 to 2,000 years

– It was a mystical culture. 1000 B.C. to A.D. 300 marks its presence, in the northern Nigeria. It was an accidental discovery which hinted at rich sculptural traditions as miners unearthed a terra-cotta head. There have also been uncovered sculpts wearing huge jewelry or those which show people with diseases like elephantiasis.

Iron use, in smelting and forging  for tools, appears in Nok culture by at least 550 BCE and possibly earlier. Data from historical linguistics suggest that iron smelting was independently discovered in the region prior to 1000 BCE. Scientific field work began in 2005 to systematically investigate Nok archaeological sites, and to better understand Nok terracotta sculptures within their Iron Age archaeological cont

5. The Etruscans

7 Intriguing Ancient Cultures History Almost ForgotLeft: Etruscan riders, Silver panel 540-520BC, from Castel San Marino, near Perugia/ Right: Etruscan warrior, found near Viterbo, Italy, dated c. 500 BC.

– These resided in Northern Italy from 700 B.C. to almost 500 B.C. here they were absorbed by the Roman Republic. They have been known for developing unique written language which remains only partly understood, and only a handful of texts of any length survive, making modern understanding of their society and culture heavily dependent on much later and generally disapproving Roman sources. Politics were based on the small city, and probably the family unit. In their heyday, the Etruscan elite grew very rich through trade with the Celtic world to the north and the Greeks to the south, and filled their large family tombs with imported luxuries. Ancient Greece had a huge influence on their art and architecture, and Greek mythology was evidently very familiar to them.

7 Intriguing Ancient Cultures History Almost ForgotA former Etruscan walled town, Civita di Bagnoregio.

The artifacts found indicate that religious traditions were a day to day part of life of the people. Till date more than 25,000 artifacts have been unearthed from the Etruscan site, Poggio Civitate.

6. The Land of Punt

7 Intriguing Ancient Cultures History Almost ForgotSupposed location around the Red Sea and major travel routes by land and sea

– The knowledge pertaining to this culture is attributed to the records of other cultures. The mystical land of Punt was a kingdom somewhere in the Africa, which was involved in trading with the primitive Egyptians. There are references that the 2 kingdoms use to exchange goods from the 26th century B.C.

7 Intriguing Ancient Cultures History Almost ForgotEgyptian soldiers from Hatshepsut's expedition to the Land of Punt as depicted from her temple at Deir el-Bahri.

Even when, the Egyptian texts indicate to bountiful description with regards to the goods they got from Punt, the location is still unknown.

7. The Bell Beaker Culture

7 Intriguing Ancient Cultures History Almost ForgotThe distinctive Bell Beaker pottery drinking vessels shaped like an inverted bell
7 Intriguing Ancient Cultures History Almost ForgotReconstruction of a Beaker burial, (National Archaeological Museum of Spain, Madrid)

– The fact that this culture is named by the archaeologist after the recovered artifacts, indicate its obscurity. So, the pottery vessels unearthed were shaped like upside-down bells. Those that crafted these cups resided across Europe between 2800 B.C. and 1800 B.C.

The Bell Beaker culture is understood as not only a particular pottery type, but also a complete and complex cultural phenomenon involving metalwork in copper, gold and later bronze, archery, specific types of ornamentation and shared ideological, cultural and religious ideas. The Bell Beaker period marks a period of cultural contact in Atlantic and Western Europe on a scale not seen previously, nor seen again in succeeding periods.

These were the cultures which have been lost in historical books and references.

7 Intriguing Ancient Cultures History Almost Forgot
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Leena Giri Kapoor

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