Humans have a long and mysterious history.  Many different types of people have worked together to figure out the mysteries of our past.  Archeologists have discovered artifacts that give us clues about our past.  Historians study primary and secondary resources and connect ideas and make theories.  Scientists use experiments to examine artifacts and test historical theories.  Thousands of other people of all ages have explored the past and tried to make new connections to understand our history.  All  of this work has put together a more clear idea of our past, but there are still many mysteries left to solve!

Usually, the farther we go back in history the more mysterious the story.  Humans lived for hundreds of thousands of years before civilization.  Our ancestors lived for millions before that.  Civilization was a new way of life.  A civilization is an advanced society with agriculture, division of labor, multiple cities, organized religion, science/technology, some form of government, and a written language. It happened at different times in different places.  The timeline above show the four early places where civilization began.  The modern countries of IraqEgyptIndia/Pakistan, and China became cultural hearths that still influence life today. The interactive map/timeline below will allow you to look at the territory controlled by different civilizations through time.  You can click on the black words for more information.