Oliver's Site

3. Civilisation

Table of Contents | 1. Earth | 2. The Origin of Life and Evolution of Man | 3. Civilisation | 4. Fertile Crescent | 5. Egypt | 6. Indus Valley | 7. Yellow River (Haung He/Huang Ho) | 8. Hittites, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Assyrians | 9. New World (B. C./Pre-Columban) | 10. Greeks and Persians | 11. Rome ( - B. C. - A. D. 96) | 12. Saul of Tarsus | 13. Rome ( - A. D. 275) | 14. Rome and Byzantium (Nova Roma) | 15. Islam | 16. Charlemagne | 17. Vikings | 18. Turks, Crusaders, Mongols, Moors, Explorers and Conquistadors | 19. Reformation, Enlightenment (1300s -1700s) | 20. Mid-1700s - early 1900s | 21. The Great War | 22. Inter-War Years | 23. The War in Europe and Africa | 24. Second World War | 25. War in the Pacific | 26. Defeating the Axis in Europe and Africa | 27. End of Japanese Imperialism | 28. Ending the War | 29. Conquest of Space | 30. Averting Nuclear War | 31. End of Empire | 32. Man on the Moon | 33. Arms Race and Limitation | 34. Lifting the Iron Curtain | 35. Outer Space | 37. | 42.

Continued from page 2. The Origin of Life and Evolution of Man

            Beginning of Civilisation



From hunters and foragers


               to farmers and herders 




The Agricultural Revolution


Crash Course World History # 1


with John Green





Evolution of Human Genes and the Origin of Agriculture


John Hawks (2014)







Map showing the extent of the Natufian

culture ca. 9,500 B. C. to 12,500 B. C.



The Natufian Culture and the Origins of Agriculture

9,500-year-old settlement in southeast Anatolia
Image result for Catal Huyuk

Image result for catal huyuk

Image result for Catal Huyuk - location
An Archeology of Relationships between Humans and Things
Göbekli and Çatalhöyük
Lecture by Ian Hodder
Talks at Google (52:12)
May 4, 2015
A Backward-Looking Curiosity
25 Years of Work at Catal Hoyuk
Lecture by Ian Hodder
British Institute at Ankara
15 December 2017
Catal Hoyuk
Excerpt from episode # 1 of 4 of the 2000 documentary series Secrets of the Stone Age
with Richard Rudgley
Gathered in Death
Archeological and Ethnological Perspectives on Collective Burial and Social Organisation
Louvain-le-Neuve, Belgium
8 - 9 December 2016


Gobekli Tepi 

12,000-year-old site

Image result for gobekli tepe


Image result for gobekli tepe


Map of Syria, Turkey and Iraq with Gobekli Tepe indicated         Source: CureZone




Gobekli Tepi


12,000-year-old religious hill site built by hunter-gatherers



Brief description







The Worlds First Temple


2010 Turkish documentary in English and Turkish (English sub-titles missing)





Gobekli Tepe


Episode from the National Geographic documentary series Lost Civilisations (2012)


Hunter-gatherers built religious sites of stone 12,000 years ago  













Klaus Schmidt on Gobekli Tepi


Lecture by archeologist Klaus Schmidt, excavator of Gobekli Tepi, in Istabul, Turkey


Uploaded in February 2012





Gobekli Tepe


Lecture by Klaus Schmidt at the Freer and Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C. on 15 June 2014





The World's Oldest Temple?


Radio interview in 2010 with archeologist Klaus Schmidt, excavator of Göbekli Tepe





Constructing a model of Göbekli Tepe


National Geographic






The First River Valley Civilisations



Image result for the six river civilisations of the world

The first civilisation formed in six river valleys.

Four in Eurasia and Africa   -   (1) Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, in the Near East; (2) the Nile River Valley in northeast Africa; (3) the Indus River Valley on the Indian sub-continent; and (4) the Yellow River Valley in the Far East; 

Two in the Americas   -   in (1) Central America and (2) in the Andes.

Image result for the six river civilisations of the world

Old World

The first four river civilisations in Eurasia and Africa are often described as civilisations of the Old World

New World

The two civilisations in the Americas are often described as civilisations of the New World.

Many scholars believe that the above six civilisations were contemporaneous and developed more or less independently. 



Some charts show civilisations in Central and South America beginning at the same time as Old World civilisations.


The graph below offers current time-lines of the development of civilisations.


 Image result for ancient civilisations timeline - sumer,


Chart displaying the various civilisations from Sumer to the Aztec.

50 Centuries in 10 Minutes


Animation over a map  (00:13:42)










https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86mDfZR6jsU   (13:41)















Ancient Cities, Civilizations, and Sources


History of the Ancient World 


48 lectures by Gregory Aldrete from the course offered by The Great Courses (The Teaching Company) 













River Valley Civilisations in the Old World

Image result for ancient civilisations timeline - tigris-euphrates, nile, indus, yangtze

When and where did civilisation first appear in the Old World? Scholars disagree.

Scholars dispute which civilisation appeared first and whether or not these four civilisations were in contact with one another - or the extent and nature of contact.

It is generally agreed that the first civilisation was called Sumer and appeared between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers [in the area that is today known as Iraq] and was followed shortly afterward by the appearance of civilisation along the Nile River in Egypt.

However, some scholars maintain that Egyptian civilisation is the oldest and that Sumer appeared shortly afterward. 

The Fertile Crescent 

Image result for ancient civilisations timeline - tigris euphrates and the nile

The area from the Nile to the Tigris and Euphrates is called the Fertile Crescent.

The Indus River Valley Civilisation

Image result for ancient civilisations timeline - indus - map

Civilisation along the Indus River in India formed shortly after Sumer and Egypt.

Many scholars believe civilisation appeared along the Ganges River at the same time as the Indus   -   or spread from the Indus to the Ganges soon afterward.  

The Four Old World River Valley Civilisations

Image result for river civilisations of the old world

Map shows the Indus and Ganges civilisations as one, the Indus-Ganges Civilisation.

Related image

Civilisation along the Yellow River in China is believed to be more recent.


River Valley Civilizations

Short description






Orientation and Introduction to the Ancient World


Lecture by Kenneth Harl


Ancient Cities, Modern Inquiries


2016 PIER Summer Institute for Educators


Yale U.


5 July 2016









Origins of Great Ancient Civilisations


12 lectures by Kenneth W. Harl from The Great Courses


All lectures in order: 







1. Cradles of Civilization

- Earliest civilizations appear in river valleys (c. 3500 - 3000 B. C.)


- Tigris-Euphrates rivers

- Nile River

- Indus River 





Three-lecture survey of Mesopotamia



2. First Cities of Sumer


- Trade and Writing


- The Uruk Period (3100 - 2500 B. C.), Ur  

- The Proto-Literate Period (3100 - 2800 B. C.)

- Early Dynastic Period (2800 - 2300 B. C.)




3. Mesopotamian Kings, Scribes and Soldiers

From city-states to regional kingdoms to territorial empires in the Early and Middle Bronze Age

- Sargon of Akkad and the first empire



4. Hammurabi’s Babylon

Middle Bronze Age



Three-lecture survey of Egypt in the Bronze Age (3500 - 1200 B. C.)


5. Egypt in the Pyramid Age

Early Dynastic (Archaic) Period (31200 - 2700 B. C.)

Old Kingdom  (2700 - 2181 B. C.)



6. The Middle Kingdom (2050 - 1674 B. C.)



7. Imperial Egypt (The New Kingdom or Empire) (1570 - 1175 B. C.)

Regional dominance in the Late Bronze Age

To Ramses II



 8. New Peoples of the Bronze Age

The spread of populations through trade and . . .

The Fertile Crescent  -  from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, to the Levant, and to the Nile Delta in Lower Egypt

- Anatolia (Asia Minor)  -  The Hittites  

- The Aegean  -  central and southern Greece, Crete and the Cycladic islands



 9. The End (Collapse) of the Bronze Age / "The Dark Ages" (1200 - 900 B. C.)

Collapse of ruling orders


Sea Peoples (1182 - 1150 B. C.) 

Iron Age



The Iron Age


10. From Hebrews to Jews (1000 B. C. - )



11. Imperial Assyria (911 - 612 B. C.)



12. The Persian Empire (   - 500 B. C.)











The First Cities


Episode from the 2001 British documentary series Secrets of the Ancient Empires












On the Age of Metals

The Three Main Ages  -  Stone, Bronze and Iron


1. Stone Age

        New Stone Age (Neolithic)

            Chalcolithic Age (Copper)


2. Bronze Age


3. Iron Age  




Below are maps and chronologies of the spread of the use of stone, bronze and iron for making tools, weapons, ornaments, etc.


Note that different sources offer different models of chronologies or timelines



Stone Age

Diffusion of the Neolithic

Diffusion of the Neolithic 

Credit: Joey Roe (modified by Essential Humanities)


Bronze Age

Spread of the Bronze Age

Spread of the Bronze Age
Credit: Essential Humanities

What is bronze

Oxford English Dictionary (OED): Bronze is a yellowish-brown alloy of copper with up to one-third tin.


OED: An alloy is a metal made by combining two or more metallic elements, especially to give greater strength or resistance to corrosion.

Iron Age

Spread of the Iron Age

Spread of the Iron Age
Credit: Essential Humanities


What is iron?


OED: Iron is a strong, hard magnetic silvery-grey metal much used as a material for construction and manufacturing, especially in the form of steel.


Some charts show civilisations in Central and South America beginning around the same time as Old World civilisations.


The graph below offers current time-lines of the development of civilizations.




The Bronze Age Collapse


Discussion on the weekly BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg

16 June 2016




The programme can be downloaded from the webpage.



The Iron Age


Discussion on the weekly BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg

24 March 2011







The Age of Metal and the Evolution of European Civilization


Lecture by William A. Parkinson at the New Mexico History Museum in 2011










The Origin of the Seven Days of the Week





It's About Time

A Brief History of the Calendar and Time Keeping

A lecture by Donna Carroll at the Univeristy of Maastrict on 23 Fevruary 2016





The Calendar


Discussion on the weekly BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg

19 December 2002










On dating systems:


B. C. = Before Christ (or before the birth of Christ) = B. C. E. = Before the Common Era


All dates given as B. C. are the same as dates given as B. C. E.


For example: 300 B. C. is the same as 300 B. C. E.


A. D. = Anno Domini = "The Year of Our Lord" (or since the birth of Christ) = C. E. = Common Era 


For example: A. D. 400 is the same as 400 C. E.


The Anno Domini dating system was invented in A. D. 525 but was not in common use before A. D. 800 


Note that Jesus Christ is believed to have been born between 6 B. C. and 4 B. C. 




Continue to next page, 4. Fertile Crescent

Kindly direct comments and questions about this website or its contents to the webmaster. Please use the message sending facility on the home page (table of contents).