8 Oldest Ancient Civilizations in World History
1. The Sumerian Civilization of ancient Mesopotamia
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.