What is Considered a Civilization
Defining civilization by Miriam Webster is: a relatively high level of cultural and technological development specifically : the stage of cultural development at which writing and the keeping of written records is attained, the culture characteristic of a particular time or place the impact of European civilization on the lands they colonized, and urban development.
Traits of a civilization is defined by religion, cities, art, government, writings and social structure. Civilizations have had as many as 1 million people at one time but died from famine, war, disease and natural disasters. Archeologist can only assume what has happened to these incredible people by structures and writings they have left along the way.
I had the pleasure of visiting the Mayan ruins in Cancun Mexico. The story it tells of a group of people who fought to keep their own land failed miserably in the end. The Mayans like many other cultures defined their existence with a calendar. Many thought that when the calendar ended so would our earth. I have to believe they just never had time to finish it. The architecture I got to see while visiting the Mayan ruins was beautiful. It certainly told a story of their existence.
Myan Pyrimids Still Exist Today
From 2,000 BC to 250 AD, the Mayan civilization blossomed. During this time they built popular cities and their population exploded. The Mayan people came from Guatemala, Mesoamerica and Southern Mexico.
Scientist speculation is that the Mayans collapsed due to warfare, sickness and a very large drought.
With the Spanish arriving around 1500 the Mayans lost the battle to them around 1650. I have to believe those that survived that war moved to another part of the world to escape and help their families live.
With the United States in constant crisis over immigrants, I can see why people want to live in America. They have suffered in the poorest countries and have come to our border in hopes to have asylum.
Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley is located in Pakistan. By the 1900's the Indus people just disappeared from this civilization. The end of the Indus people began in the 1700's.
There are many speculations from scientist, geographers and historians. Some believe the Indus people were taken out by war, some say the earth shifted causing problems with their ability to farm and with the river drying up and no way to get water they lost their crops, died from starvation and disease.
Some scientist say that there is no indication of a war. I would think one would have to be a very good farmer to grow anything in the Middle East and if the river truly dried up or was moved by Earth's movements I can see why they would have starved to death.
Easter Island Gone Forever
Easter Island belongs to Chile. It is located in the Pacific Ocean with it's vast stone heads that line the beach is like a welcome party.
The people who lived on Easter Island were Polynesian. It is believed the settlers arrived around 700 BC. With them they brought banana's, sugar cane, taro and chickens. They were also known as the civilization of the Polynesian rats.
In 1774 James Cook visited Easter Island and only came across many stone statutes with many that had crumbled.
There is many speculations of what was the demise of Easter Island but new studies state that the demise came from slavery. Peru took slaves from the island for labor.
Today 5,000 people live on Easter Island and they do not have a sewer system in this day and time so how do they survive? I would visit to get a great history lesson. With that many people on a tiny island you can imagine that some of those people would be trying to move to another island. Some day it may be uninhabited again.
Catalhoyuk sits in Turkey. It has been well preserved. Archeologist say that this city was the cleanest they have ever been to. The homes were built close together as each neighbor helped a neighbor.
It is said that the people of Catalhoyuk did not have any government. No houses that would point to someone being rich. They all lived the same. Although several skulls that were collected from the excavation sight had a healed fracture of the skull. It was not the kind of injury that would kill someone but was like someone struck them on the head to make them get back in line. It is believed that the people lived equal to each other.
The demise of Catalhoyuk is again believed that the river dried up leaving them only one option to leave the region and migrate to another part of Turkey.
The Cahokia Indians lived in what we know is Illinois today. It sits across the Mississippi river what we call St Louis.
The Cahokia Indians were well known for their farming skills. They could not be out done by any other state as far as corn, beans and squash. They farmed like no other.
Today you can still visit the vast site that is considered to be called Monks Mound. The 1800 square food mound was built by hand. Indians did not have pack animals, such as cows or horses, the dirt required to build this enormous structure was carried by laborers in baskets which held 50 to 60 pounds of earth. It is believed Monks mound took about 15 million baskets of dirt to build it.
The Indians who lived in Cahokia were also well known for their pottery. Some of the most beautiful pottery was found in Monks Mound.
So what happened to the people of Monks Mound? There are many theories but it boils down to science. Most people were either sacrificed or killed by their rulers. They were made to stand like the Jews did when Hitler killed them. There were over 250 people they found buried in one of the mounds. Most were decapitated so I would suggest they were one of the most gruesome people to live in the United States.
Angkor Wat is located in Cambodia. It was built by the Khmer King. It is one of the most visited tourist sites in Cambodia. Over two million people visit Angkor Wat every year. It's picturesque beauty and beautiful temples go on for miles. It doesn't surprise me that this beautiful place was a hide away for two groups of monks after the king died.
The people who lived there were fine up until 1970 when fighting began and people were killed or they left the area to avoid war. Today this beautiful part of Cambodia deserves to be seen by all. It was once thought to be voted one of the seven wonders of the world. It was surprised by all when it wasn't.
Once Angkor Wat was left empty the forest kind of swallowed it making it no where to be seen until some archeologist uncovered the lost city. Still to this day some of the temples are still amid the forest floor, leaving a place for someone else to discover.
Considered holy ground Angkor Wat is now a tourist area.
What Was Lost Is Still Found
I guess it doesn't really matter how lost a civilization became, the fact remains that the structures still exist and are maintained in their prime state. No one has tried to get rid of them but have made them considerable sacred ground. To think one day up to ten thousand people resided in one of these places for it to just be left with no forwarding address.
I suppose in time there will be more lost civilizations. As people die, the next generation takes over. Who knows where our land of the free will be in 50 years.
- "Collapse: Why do civilizations collapse?"Annenberg Media. 2010. (July 2, 2010) http://www.learner.org/interactives/collapse/
- Criscenzo, Jeeni. "The Maya Today." The Jaguar Sun. 2002. (May 19, 2010) http://www.criscenzo.com/jaguarsun/mayanow.html
- Damien, Mark. "The Fall of Rome." Utah State Department of History. 2010. (July 2, 2010) http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320hist&civ/chapters/08romfal.htm
- Everdell, William R. "Idea Man." New York Times. March 21, 2000. (May 19, 2010) http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/05/21/reviews/000521.21everdet.html
- Johnson, George. "Vanished: A Pueblo Mystery." New York Times. April 8, 2008. (July 2, 2010) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/08/science/08anasazi.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1