8 Oldest Ancient Civilizations in World History

1. The Sumerian Civilization of ancient Mesopotamia

Oldest ancient civilizations - the Sumerians

Oldest Ancient Civilizations |Image: The Great Ziggurat of Ur (location – present-day Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq) was built during the Third Dynasty of Ur (Neo-Sumerian Renaissance, c. 2100 BCE),

Period: 5000 BCE – 500 BCE

Ancient location: Zagros mountains and the Arabian plateau

Current location: Iraq, Syria, and Turkey

Cultural hub: Uruk and Ur

Major gods: The moon god Nanna, Anu (the sky father), Inanna (goddess of love and war), Utu (god of law and order)

Most famous rulers: King Gilgamesh

Most known for: cuneiform writing, inventing the wheel, astronomy, mathematics, chariot and the plow

Coming in at number one on the list of Oldest Ancient Civilizations is the Sumerian civilization. The Sumer people lived in southern Mesopotamia region – a vastly rich and fertile land between two rivers.

And as early as 10,000 to 8,000 BCE, the people in that region had agriculture and had even taken to domesticating animals for their daily sustenance. As one of the oldest cradles of civilization, this Mesopotamian region had refined arts and systems of government. They were skilled at building structures, including canals, irrigation systems, temples and markets. The excavations of those areas have revealed that the Sumer people used pottery and jewelry. They were also craftsmen skilled in the art of making weapons.

The Sumer people are also credited with inventing: the wheel, the base 60 for time measurement, mathematics, astronomy, chariot, and rudimentary agricultural equipment like the plow. Most importantly, they invented a writing system called the Cuneiform script. The writing system is considered the earliest of its kind in history. Their inventions in writing, arts, language, religious activities, and culture in general inspired subsequent Mesopotamian civilizations such as the Assyrians and the Babylonians.

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