First Civilizations

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Ancient Civilizations

Much is known about the great ancient civilizations throughout the world, from the Mesopotamian civilizations such as the Sumerians, to Mesoamerican civilizations of the Aztecs and Mayans and the South American civilizations like the Inca. However, there is still so much unknown right across the world due to the thousands of unexcavated sites and the scandalous looting of known sites throughout the ages. What is very apparent is that civilizations come and go, rise and fall, and the ruins of these ancient civilizations are scattered throughout the world and left to fascinate those who seek to try and explain them in these seemingly endless cycles of civilizations. Maybe this is the inevitable outcome of all civilizations given enough time - including our current seven or so major civilizations.

So many questions remain unanswered;

* Were the Olmecs the first great Mesoamerican civilization? Recent findings suggest that they were the 'mother-culture' of Mesoamerica, living in the period 1200BC-400BC, originating near the Tuxtla mountains and building their great cities such as La Venta and San Lorenzo?

* Who actually built the great city of Teotihuacan? Named by the Aztecs but not built by them. The Totonacs people from Mexico claim that they built it as far back as 200 BC. It was to become the greatest city in Mesoamerica and had a population of 200,000 by AD 500. Amongst its numerous building were temples, palaces and pyramids. The street plan of the urban center was laid out on a grid pattern and was based on astronomical observations. And the ceremonial avenue named 'Avenue of the Dead', which was 3 miles long, ran right through its center, lined with religious and ceremonial complexes.

So what caused the devastation of Teotihuacan, its burning and abandonment around AD 700? We do know that centuries after it was abandoned it was visited by the Aztecs who were over-awed with its grandeur and considered it to be sacred ground. This great metropolis was so magnificent that the Aztec named it 'City of the Gods' (Teotihuacan). It was a monumental work of art, its largest building and surely its crowning achievement must surely be the 240 foot high Pyramid of the Sun which has a base the size of the biggest pyramid of Giza and is the third largest pyramid in the world. The people living here controlled central Mexico for centuries. But in one of histories great unsolved mysteries the city was systematically burned and abandoned at its height and the empire of the day was disolved. Perhaps the answer is invasion by enemies, or internal political unrest.

* Many civilizations seemed to acquire knowledge from outside sources. Was there much contact between the great civilizations acroo the continents or is their any evidence of Paleocontact? Could Quetzalcoatl and Virrocha be the same person or two people from the same race. They were both bearded and white skinned and both were regarded as the 'founders' of all they knew - civilizers. Quetzalcoatl was supposed to have sailed from 'across the Eastern sea'. They both sailed off again 'from whence they came' and legends say they promised to return one day.

* If there was Paleocontact or learned knowledge from other civilizations then why was the wheel never used in the Mesoamerican or South American civilizations? It was one of the greatest mechanical inventions of mankind, one which the Mesopotamians were familiar with from around 3000 BC.