The ancient Egyptians had their pyramids, the Mayas had their famous calendar, but other ancient cultures get left out in world history.
Here are a handful of long-lost cultures that don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Five of them include:
1. The kingdom of Askum, Ethiopia
The Ethiopian kingdom of Askum is now the subject of legends. Some say it is the lost kingdom of the Queen of Sheeba others say it is the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
A philosopher listed it amongst the worlds four greatest kingdoms. It continued to thrive long after Rome fell.
Askum lost its primary trade advantage over its neighbours and was replaced by the Zagwe dynasty.
2. The Kush Kingdom
The Kush Kingdom began around 8000BC. As early a 2000BC Kush’s society was highly stratified and complex, supported by large-scale agriculture. It’s northern neighbour, Egypt exploited and conquered Kush, then Kush conquered Egypt back and became even greater than the Egyptians.
For over 1000 years, they ruled the Egyptians and promoted construction across Sudan.
They developed a form of writing called “meroitic”. Their script remains untranslated casting most of their history in the dark.
3. The Nok
The mysterious Nok culture lasted from around 1000 B.C. to A.D. 300 in what is today northern Nigeria. Evidence of the Nok was discovered by chance during a tin-mining operation in 1943. Miners uncovered a terra-cotta head, hinting at a rich sculptural tradition. Since then, other elaborate terra-cotta sculptures have emerged, including depictions of people wearing elaborate jewellery and carrying batons and flails (symbols of authority also seen in ancient Egyptian art). Other sculptures show people with diseases such as elephantiasis.
Contributing to the mystery surrounding the Nok, the artefacts have often been removed from their context without archaeological analysis. In 2012, the United States returned a cache of Nok figurines to Nigeria after they were stolen from Nigeria’s national museum and smuggled into the U.S.
4. The Land of Punt
Some cultures are known mostly through the records of other cultures. That’s the case with the mysterious land of Punt, a kingdom somewhere in Africa that traded with the ancient Egyptians. The two kingdoms were exchanging goods from at least the 26th century B.C., during the reign of the pharaoh Khufu (the builder of the Great Pyramid of Giza).
Strangely, no one really knows where Punt was located. The Egyptians left plenty of descriptions of the goods they got from Punt (gold, ebony, myrrh) and the seafaring expeditions they sent to the lost kingdom. However, the Egyptians are frustratingly mum on where all these voyages were headed. Scholars have suggested that Punt may have been in Arabia, or on the Horn of Africa, or maybe down the Nile River at the border of modern-day South Sudan and Ethiopia.
5. The Etruscans
The Etruscans were a society in northern Italy from about 700 B.C. to about 500 B.C. when they began to be absorbed by the Roman Republic.
They developed a unique written language and left behind luxurious family tombs, including one belonging to a prince that was excavated in 2013.
The oldest depiction of childbirth in Western art, a goddess squatting to give birth, was found at the Etruscan sanctuary of Poggio Colla. At the same site, archaeologists found a 4-foot by 2-foot (1.2 by 0.6 meters) sandstone slab containing rare engravings in the Etruscan language.
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