These sites explore the art, architecture, science, technology
and culture of ancient civilizations, focusing on ancient cultures
of Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Polynesia.
Click here for Ancient Civilizations #1: Egypt, Greece and Rome
Quick Links: Africa | The Americas | Asia | Middle East | Polynesia
AfricaExplore ancient African civilizations with Wonders of the African World, from PBS. Included are information; photographs; and audio and video clips about the Kingdoms of the Nile, the ancient Christian cities of Ethiopia, Timbuktu, and more.
The Smithsonian Institution's African Voices online exhibit includes a history section with an interactive timeline covering prehistory and the ancient civilizations of the Nile Valley and present-day Mali.
Civilizations in Africa, from the "World Civilizations" Internet course of Washington State University, covers the Kush, Axum, Songhay, Hausa, Swahili, Great Zimbabwe, and other cultures.
The Oriental Institute Museum's Nubia Salvage Project contains the exhibits Nubia: Its Glory and Its People and Vanished Kingdoms of The Nile: The Rediscovery of Ancient Nubia. These sites provide basic information about Nubian civilization, including a brief chronology.
Explore Nubia, homeland of Africa's earliest black culture. This site from Egypt's State Information Service includes basic information about history and culture.
Nubia: The Other Gift of the Nile is a WebQuest that asks sixth grade students to be historians as they read, discuss, and evaluate different sources and make inferences about ancient Nubian civilization. Students take the roles of project manager, historian, art historian, and cartographer to design a monument to symbolize Nubian history and accomplishments.
The Ishango Bone, said to be the oldest mathematical instrument in the world, was found in Africa's Great Lakes region. The 20,000-year-old artifact may show that Egyptians or Mesopotamians were not the first to use sophisticated mathematics.
Africa South of the Sahara Chronology from WebChron features a timeline of ancient African history.
The AmericasMinnesota State University's eMuseum reviews Latin American Prehistory. Sections look at Aztec, Inca, Maya, Olmec, and other civilizations, as well as geography, technology and society, and other topics.
Ancient Mesoamerican Civilizations examines Maya, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Aztec cultures. A professor from the University of Minnesota Department of Anthropology offers information on governments, religions, writing systems, calendar, and more.
The Cultures of Ancient Mexico: Photographs from the National Museum of Anthropology features photographs and descriptions of many artifacts from the Aztec, Huatec, Maya, Mixtec, Olmec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, and other cultures.
The Science Museum of Minnesota's Maya Adventure focuses on science activities and facts related to ancient and modern Maya culture. Students explore sites like Chichén Itzá, Tikal, and Uxmal online through text, photos, and experiments, keeping a log of their adventures.
Mystery of the Maya, from the Canadian Museum of Culture, features extensive information about Mayan culture, including sections on geography and languages, hieroglyphics, mathematics, the Maya calendar, astronomy, and the Maya today. Also available in French.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's Unmasking the Maya surveys ancient and modern Maya culture. It also is available in Spanish, Tzeltal, and Tzotzil.
Rabbit in the Moon: Mayan Glyphs and Architecture shows students how to assemble their own name glyph, provides audio files of pronunciations, shows pictures and models of Mayan architecture, and more.
Arizona State University and the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History present video and photos exploring the Archaeology of Teotihuacan, Mexico.
Worldviews explores the Mayan view of the underworld, palace life, cosmos, and natural world gleaned from the University of Maine's Hudson Museum collection of Mayan ceramics.
Learn about the Anasazi with photographs and questions from the Mesa Verde National Park education departments' Anasazi Artifacts Gallery. Another section of the site gives information on Anasazi Cliff Dwellings.
Chaco Culture National Park Museum Collection looks at Chaco culture, including daily life, subsistence, technology, trade, and communications. Illustrated with photos of artifacts and slides of the park's kivas and rock art, the site also examines Chaco architecture, road systems, masonry, and pottery.
Sipapu: The Anasazi Emergence into the Cyberworld is an interactive tour of Anasazi prehistory. Created by a professor at Georgia State University's Department of Anthropology and Geography, the site answers frequently asked questions and lets students virtually walk through 3-D models of a great kiva and a Chaco Anasazi great house.
The San Francisco Exploratorium's Web site Ancient Observatories: Chaco Canyon features information, photos and videos that explore the ancient observations, sky-watching tools and alignments of Chaco.
Ancient Cultures of the Southwest uses the pottery and artifacts collection from Beloit College's Logan Museum to explore Anasazi, Mogollon, Mimbres, Casas Grandes, Salada, Hohokam, Sinagua, and Patayam cultures. Brief culture descriptions, a timeline, and extensive pottery information and photos are included.
PBS NOVA's Search for the Lost Cave People followed archaeologists searching the Chiapas region of Mexico for remains of a pre-Mayan civilization. The Web site has a video recreation of the Zoque site they found, photos of and facts about other ruins such as Chichen Itzá and Tikal, a "Be an Archaeologist" game, and a teacher's guide.
The Ice Maiden of Mount Ampato tells of a frozen Inca mummy found in the Andes.
The Canadian Museum's Lost Visions, Forgotten Dreams: Life and Art of an Ancient Arctic People introduces the Palaeo-Eskimos. They inhabited the Arctic for 3,000 years before the Inuit arrived and developed techniques for living successfully in the coldest part of the world. The site also traces the history and fall of the Dorset culture.
AsiaAncient India, from the British Museum, includes sections on the Buddha, geography, early Hinduism, the Indus Valley, time, and writing. For each section there is a story, an exploration, and a challenge designed for students aged 9-11. The "Staff Room" offers a teacher guide with background information, discussion questions, and worksheets.
The Ancient India section of the Manas Web site briefly describes Indus Valley civilizations. Created by a University of California-Los Angeles professor, this resource on India and its neighbors also includes sections about culture and religion, including ancient Indian architecture, Hinduism, Buddhism, and more.
The Library of Congress's Area Handbook for India provides historical information in chapters about the kingdoms and empires of ancient India.
The British Museum's Ancient China covers crafts and artisans, geography, time, tombs and ancestors, and writing. For each category there is a story, an exploration, and a challenge for students ages 9-11. The "Staff Room" includes a teacher guide.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Timeline of Art History looks at ancient Chinese dynasties such as Han, Song, Yuan, and Ming. More appropriate for teachers and older students, facts about each culture and images of art can be accessed through the timeline.
Portraits of Chinese Emperors features historical painting of emperors from the Qin, Han, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties.
Ancient Chinese Technology is a student-created Web site that explores ancient Chinese contributions to agriculture, engineering, warfare, transportation, and more.
The Library of Congress's Area Handbook for China provides historical information in chapters about the ancient dynasties, the Zhou Period, the Imperial Era, and more.
China Bridge, from the PBS NOVA series, documents how a crew of scholars and timber framers designed and built a Chinese bridge known only from an ancient painting.
Ancient Japan, from Washington State University's "World Civilizations" Internet course, includes a timeline, a section on Japanese writing, and more.
The Library of Congress's Area Handbook for Japan provides historical information in chapters about the different periods in ancient Japanes history.
North Park University History Department's China and East Asia Chronology features a timeline of ancient Chinese and Japanese history.
Middle EastThe British Museum's Mesopotamia includes information on Assyria, Babylonia, and Sumer. The site includes maps, artifacts, and an online challenge to become a Sumerian farmer for a year.
The Uluburon Ship Wreck site, designed for a ninth grade world history class at Pittsburgh's Ellis School, challenges students to think like archaeologists as they explore a virtual shipwreck.
National Geographic's article Who were the Phoenicians? features facts and a photo gallery about this early Mediterranean civilization.
Canaan and Ancient Israel explores daily life, economy, and religion in the ancient territory sometimes known as Palestine or the Holy Land. Featuring a section on the Phoenicians, this online exhibit from the University of Pennsylvania Museum also includes activities for students ages 8-12.
The Library of Congress's Area Handbook for Lebanon provides historical information in chapters about the Phoenicians, Assyrians, and Babylonians.
Create your own Sumerian City-State is a Web quest for sixth grade language arts and history. To design their own city, students must analyze geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of early civilizations in Mesopotamia.
The interdisciplinary unit plan Digging Up Mesopotamia lets seventh and eighth grade students conduct their own dig for simulated artifacts in the schoolyard.
PolynesiaSecrets of Easter Island, from PBS's NOVA series, explores the history of the people who created the giant stone heads.
The Settlement of Polynesia outlines the history of Polynesian voyaging and the settlement of the Pacific islands. This Polynesian Voyaging Society site also includes traditional stories of ancient voyagers, other characters, and the settlement of Hawaii.
PBS's Skin Stories: The Art and Culture of Polynesian Tattoo traces the history and cultural significance of tattoo in Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, and beyond.
Traditional Navigation in Ancient Polynesia explores the traditions of the Central Caroline Islands.
The Maori from New Zealand in History describes this ancient Polynesian history and culture.
Last updated 4/20/2011