Light Wave


25 Mind-Blowing Facts About Ancient Civilizations

By Jake Beardslee · March 4, 2024

Early Dental Prosthetics: Ancient Etruscans' Surprising Expertise

The ancient Etruscans, around 700 BCE, displayed remarkable dental knowledge, using a mix of animal and human teeth for prosthetics. Archeological findings unveil intricately crafted dental bridges and implants, revealing an unexpectedly advanced understanding of dental care for their time.  fresco/Wikimedia

The Mayans Enjoyed Flavored Tobacco

The Mayans didn't just smoke tobacco for the buzz. Archaeologists found tobacco residue mixed with marigold, suggesting the ancient Mayans carefully blended and flavored their tobacco much like vaping concentrates today.  Raquel Moss/Unsplash

Elite Women Were Pre-Incan Empire's Beer Brewers

The Wari Empire thrived in ancient Peru, predecessor to the Incas. A 2005 study found elite Wari women were the empire's skilled brewers, holding high status for their production of chicha beer.  Jeremiah Berman/Unsplash

Ancient Civilizations Were More Connected Than We Think

Trade connected far-flung ancient cultures more than history records. Phoenicians likely rounded Africa 2,000 years before Europeans did while Greeks and Romans established Indian Ocean trade.  פעמי-עליון/Wikimedia

An Earthquake Ended The Sanxingdui Civilization

The advanced Sanxingdui civilization mysteriously disappeared from China's Sichuan province. New evidence shows a major earthquake redirecting critical waterways led people to relocate, collapsing Sanxingdui.  Gary Todd/Wikimedia

Rome’s Fall Didn’t End The Roman Empire

Rome's 476 CE sacking wasn't the finale we're taught. Gothic generals maintained order and Roman identity continued while Barbaric groups were integrated parts of the empire, making its "fall" gradual.  FaceMePLS from The Hague, The Netherlands/Wikimedia

“Barbarians” Simply Couldn’t Speak Greek

To ancient Greeks, foreign languages sounded like "bar-bar-bar." They dubbed non-Greek speakers "barbarians," a neologism about speech rather than scorn toward foreign cultures.  Zde/Wikimedia

Ancient India Had Republican Governments Too

India developed republican governing principles in parallel to Rome. Small independent republics in India date back to 600-400 BCE with representative councils and voting.  Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia

Gun Control Originated In Ancient Greece

Ancient Greek cities banned carrying weapons in public under punishment of death. Even self-defense exceptions were void, believing unrestrained arms led to conflict.  AdiJapan/Wikimedia

Plastic Surgery Was Practiced In Ancient India

Advanced Indian medicine pioneered reconstructive surgery 2,500 years ago. Flap grafting skin from foreheads rebuilt noses for warriors and criminals whose faces were mutilated.  Barkhaharlalka/Wikimedia

Coded Writing Was Used For Entertainment

Coded Norse runes were for fun, concealing messages as intellectual games. One recently decoded 800-year-old runestone merely taunted "interpret me if you can” with no secret meaning.  Swedish National Heritage Board/Wikimedia

Climate Change Caused Harappan Civilization’s Collapse

New evidence shows the mighty Harappan civilization was undone by climate change altering rivers critical for irrigation agriculture. Major cities were abandoned for the more reliable Ganges as floods destroyed canals.  Gary Todd/Wikimedia

Cahokia Was Flooded After Megafloods

Cahokia, the largest pre-Columbian city north of Mexico, collapsed after flooding caused by speculative megafloods 600-700 years ago according to sediment samples.  Thank You (24 Millions ) views/Wikimedia

Neo-Assyrians Used Clay "Coins"

Neo-Assyrian administration used shaped clay tokens as accounting devices long after inventing writing. Complex bureaucratic systems persisted partially on these counters centuries beyond their obsolescence.  Gary Todd/Wikimedia

A Viking Code Concealed An 800-Year-Old Joke

A coded joke runestone was recently deciphered using a miniature Rosetta Stone also carved by the author. The secret message after all that work: “Kiss me.”  ProtoplasmaKid/Wikimedia

Minoans Were Fierce Warriors

Ancient depictions show Minoans bearing swords and spears, busting myths of their peacefulness. New findings confirm their warrior culture originated militaristic tools and technology inspiring medieval Europe.  Walters Art Museum/Wikimedia

Carthaginians Really Did Sacrifice Their Children

Tandem research from global scholars ends questions about Carthaginians sacrificing children. Literary, archaeological, and material evidence confirm infants were sacrificed to appease gods.  J. M. W. Turner/Wikimedia

Many Ancient Republics Existed Beyond Rome

Scattered independent republics sharing power amongst citizens’ councils governed parts of ancient India. These small republics with voting rights and shared ruling responsibility endured alongside monarchies.  Romesh Chunder Dutt]R. C. Dutta/Wikimedia

The Ancient Egyptians Invented the First Pregnancy Test

Ancient Egyptians had an advanced medical practice, evident in their invention of the world's first pregnancy test around 1350 BCE. Described in papyri, women would urinate on wheat and barley seeds; wheat sprouting meant a boy, barley a girl, and no growth indicated no pregnancy. Modern analysis supports its accuracy, as hormones in pregnant women's urine promote seed growth.  Juan Carlos Fonseca Mata/Wikimedia

Our Ancestors Made Weapons From Human Bones

Bone spearheads dating 5300 - 4900 BCE were made from human bones as well as deer and elk. The reason for selectively using scarce human bones amongst plentiful animal bones remains an open mystery.  National Museum of Denmark/Wikimedia

Innovative Surgical Tools: Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican Precision

Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Aztecs and Maya, showcased exceptional surgical skills around 600 CE. Recent excavations unveiled finely crafted obsidian blades and jade scalpels, indicating a sophisticated level of surgical precision.  Internet Archive Book Images/Wikimedia