Civilizations rise and fall. As time progresses their once grand cities deteriorate and get covered over by nature or built over by newer cultures and civilizations. When they are again discovered, they become mysterious with many questions about what happened, where the people went and why and many more mysteries besides. Here are five mysterious historical civilizations.
The Maya civilization consisted of different stages in history: preclassic, early classic, late classic, terminal classic and postclassic. Within each of these stages grand cities flourished and ended as abruptly as they began. As an example, the city of Chichen Itza, which flourished in the postclassic period, was a great city centre that left many mysteries for the Archaeologists. The Maya civilizations each had their cities, dotted around different areas of the Mayan region, which covers the countries of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. Researchers still discover the mysteries of the Maya today and new discoveries are being pulled from the thick undergrowth.
The Greater Zimbabwe
The houses of stones in Zimbabwe is an area containing stone round structures inhabited by the African peoples and cultures for hundreds of years. This site was mysterious when investigated in the 1800s, by Karl Mauch as the people that once occupied the site no longer lived there. The greater Zimbabwe region was occupied from the Iron Age to the 1800s and the archaeologists questioned who built these sites and why. It is still a mystery to this day.
A distant island miles off the coast of South America, first settled by the Polynesian people around 300AD, hosted a mysterious culture that built for themselves large moai statues. On the island lived two types of groups: the short-eared people and the long eared people who were fighting over limited resources. When the Polynesians first arrived the island had many trees and food supplies, but by the time the Europeans arrived the resources were gone. The trees all used up and the food supplies depleted. The islanders were at war over these supplies and started living in complex cave networks to avoid their enemies. They build their large stone monuments and when the Europeans arrived that is what they first saw. The culture had all but vanished and became a mysterious place full of questions rather than answers.
Before the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, there was an advanced culture called the Aztecs. They arrived around 1200 and built themselves great cities from where their leaders ruled. Their capital city Technotitlan, the current site of Mexico City, was a grand city founded around 1325; build on small man made islands on a lake. On these islands they grew crops and used the lake as a water resource and transported goods across the lake. The culture flourished, until the Spanish conquered it in the 16th century.
The Etruscan culture
The Etruscan people living in central Italy beginning around 800BC left behind many mysteries. Where the Etruscans came from remains a mystery and is widely discussed amongst Archaeologists. Their homes, trade and finest figurines and goods are some of the most interesting. They started a culture at the same time as the Greeks and Romans and traded many of their goods across to Egypt and beyond. One of their cities includes Tarquinia where they had a grand city. Their culture is widely researched still today.
This is a brief mention of 5 different cultures and civilisations that are still being investigated today.