I hope my home state of Iowa thrives and prospers forever. But I also accept the possibility that someday the residents will all just disappear without a trace. When that happens, future archeologists will marvel over the way we raised pigs and grew corn. In fact, Brainberries (which will still be around by then) will even write an article about the people who once inhabited Iowa and then vanished. In the meantime, let’s focus on civilizations from the past that met such a fate. Here are eight civilizations that mysteriously went the way of the dodo bird.
1. The Nabateans
The Nabateans were an ancient people who were first mentioned in the 4th century BC when they went to war with Alexander the Great, leader of the Macedonian Empire. A thriving civilization that eventually served as allies of the Roman Empire, the Nabateans were known for their innovative feats of engineering. In addition, everybody who speaks Arabic today have the Nabateans to thank as their Aramaic was a precursor to modern Arabic. Jane Taylor, an author who has written a book about the Nabateans, described them as being among the most creative people in all of history. But apparently not creative enough to find a way to continue existing today. They switched from writing in Aramaic to Greek in the 3rd century AD, converted to Christianity in the 4th Century AD, and faded away through assimilating into other civilizations that eventually conquered their lands, including the Byzantines and Himyarite Kingdom.
2. The Angkors
If you’ve ever visited Cambodia, then you’re certainly familiar with the Angkor Wat temple. The people who built it – the Angkors, duh – made up a huge urban civilization with a population that may have reached a million during its peak in 1200 AD. If so, it would have made it the largest urban settlement in the world at that time. But natural disasters and war took its toll on the Angkors, whose civilization began to decline starting in the 1300s and came to an end in 1431 when they were defeated by the Ayutthaya Kingdom.
3. The Clovis
This Paleolithic civilization existed around 11,000 years ago and were regarded as the ancestors to virtually all native American tribes. They possessed hammers, sharp objects, and bone tools that were highly sophisticated for their time. Nobody is entirely sure why they disappeared, although there are a few theories. One is that as they spread out, they eventually broke off into the various tribes that would inhibit North and South America. This seems to be supported by the fact that – aside from having genetic links to North American tribes, their DNA matches with modern day people places as far away as Chile. Another theory is that they were wiped out by a comet.