The mass disappearances of entire civilizations are actually very real and they have done so without a trace at all, for no apparent reason at all. While there have been several cases of airplanes full of people who vanish, or even ships that appear with no one aboard, but this pales in comparison to the mass disappearances of entire villages of people.
There have been times in history where cities, entire civilizations, and even empires have faded away, which has left the researchers and archaeologists of today puzzled and without an explanation. Finding a cause is often more important than meets the eye in order to prevent such a thing from repeating itself.
Let us examine 7 ancient civilizations that disappeared without a trace at all.
It is believed that the Nabatean culture had existed since around 312 BC, since it is on record that they were attacked by Macedonia. This ancient kingdom was massive at one time as it encompassed the nations of Arabia, Syria, and Palestine at its peak. The writing of the Nabatean culture would over the centuries become the current version of Arabic, but it was only recently that this fact was retraced.
They created a huge network of trade routes and were considered to be very technologically advanced for its time. They developed huge water systems to let them survive the harsh climate of Arabia. They left behind several massive structures that are perfectly aligned with popular celestial bodies as many other ancient civilizations did, which pretty much proves their level of engineering capability. At the end of the known history, they became very strong allies with the Roman Empire, and Roman Emperor Trajan annexed their kingdom around 105 AD. After that, we know very little about the Nabateans.
Perhaps the most well-known among disappearing civilizations, the Rapa Nui society were the initial occupants of Easter Island, who left behind the famous statues that all of us have seen. Today, this island belongs to Chile even though it is 2,200 miles away from that country. Because of its vast remoteness, exactly how the Rapa Nui people came to populate the island is as big a mystery as how they disappear.
So we are left to wonder why and how they disappeared. The most popular reason is starvation because of the apparent excess of resource consumption. Another popular reason is that rats destroyed the ecosystem of Easter Island. Other experts believe the Rapa Nui people moved to some other island to create a brand new settlement – since Rapa Nui descendants live in Chile today. The real truth could just be a combination of all of these explanations.
Originating from the island of Crete, the Minoans were a society that existed during the old Bronze Age during the years 3000 to 1000 BC – which was considerably before the Golden Age of Athens or the conquests of Alexander the Great. The Minoans were definitely a Greek society. In fact, they were actually the frontrunners of ancient Greece. By nature, they were a pagan culture who sacrificed animals, had several nuanced cults, and they held wild festivals of dance and song.
Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics mentions them quite often, which validates the Minoan existence in the ancient world. They were known to possess high-quality technology and beautiful arts during its day. But they mysteriously disappeared. Theories suggest that perhaps they were destroyed by a violent volcanic eruption somewhere in the Santorini islands which near Crete. The noted Greek historian Herodotus, claims the Minoans were eliminated by disease and plague, but we don’t know for sure, since Herodotus made this claim several centuries after they disappeared.
The Anasazi society from the North American Southwest left behind countless artifacts and structures prior to their complete disappearance. Perhaps it was the harsh climate of the southwest or a drastic changing of their climate that created uninhabitable conditions. Such an environment could destroy a much needed water supply, which would certainly eliminate a civilization.
Today we see massive structures that were skillfully built right into the cliffsides – that were completely abandoned and left in pristine condition. These structures were in a perfect position to fight off any intruders because they were usually several stories high which could only be reached by ladders. Whenever a war started, the Anasazi simply climbed into their structures, then they would raise the ladders, and could fire down on any enemy.
Many experts and scholars believe the Anasazi never really disappeared. They simply grew too large and broke off to join a variety of neighboring tribes.
The ancient civilization of Nabta Playa, which is located in the southern region of Egypt, was a Neolithic group that existed some 11,000 to 6,000 years ago. They were mostly nomadic, which was very common for societies of that time. The harsh climate and conditions in the Nabta Playa basin at that was either feast or famine. A small seasonal shift would give lots of water to some while others suffered complete droughts. Eventually, the Nabta Playa settled down and occupied the region indicated as a civilization.
Many changes in the climate have made this area totally dry and contain almost all sand today. Oddly enough, the excess dryness has preserved the cultural remains of what this civilization left behind prior to disappearing, such as a circle made of large stones that bear a close resemblance to Stonehenge. The stone circle aligns with notable stars in a variety of ways and ultimately became a place for sacrifices to the gods, as countless animal remains have found there – within huge underground caverns. This society eventually diminished before disappearing completely.
The disappearance of the Khmer Empire is one of the more recent to occur. This civilization existed from the years AD 802 to 1431 in the region of Southeast Asia, and it spanned the area of the modern-day countries of Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. It was actually a blended culture that was made up of Hindus and Buddhists that was created by centuries of warfare. This amazing empire constructed some of the world’s most incredible monuments and temples that stand in Southeast Asia today – and most of them stand in almost perfect condition.
However, just like all the other on our list, the Khmer Empire completely disappeared. Some scholars believe that the gradual migration of neighboring Thai people could have slowly displaced the Khmer society, just as the Germanic tribes slowly displaced the western region of the mighty Roman Empire. Other experts believe the constant existence of war eventually took its toll on the Khmer people. As with all mass disappearances, there are countless theories, but no one really knows.
The Olmec society was the very first large Mesoamerican civilization, and their civilization was not only unusual and bizarre, it was vastly rich. They left behind several standing statues and structures which still exist today. These people existed from the years 1200 to 400 BC and performed their own sacred religious practices for which they constructed pyramid shaped temples. Just as the people of Easter Island did, the Olmecs carved their version of massive stone heads – some were 10 feet tall and weighed as much as 8 tons.
Sadly, there has been much about this society that lived so long ago that we know very little about them or their language. The term “Olmec” is one that the Aztecs used to describe them several centuries after they disappeared, and the term actually means “rubber people.” There is not a single trace of any of their people – not even one single bone. But there are some artifacts.
It is believe that the Olmecs evaporated sometime near 400 BC. Some scholars believe that the incredibly humid Mesoamerican climate would have eroded any existing bones away. But outside of the art and artifacts from this culture, we know virtually nothing about these people, and we certainly have no clue as to how they disappeared.