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Ancient Civilizations: Home

Ancient Civilizations: how did they start, what sustained them, and what made them fall? This Libguide is designed to assist Year 7 in their study of how ancient civilizations demonstrated human ingenuity.

Year 7 Ancient Civilizations Libguide

Ancient civilizations are the basis of the world as we know it today, built on the ruins of 10,000 years of advanced cultures such as the Greek, Roman, Mesopotamia, Mayan, Indus, Egyptian, and others that we know primarily through archaeology and some written records.

The earliest civilizations developed along rivers in Asia and the Middle East. Why do some civilizations fall? What does this tell us about the future? What can we learn from past civilizations to keep our great civilization thriving?

Archaeologists recognize that in some cases, simple societies for one reason or another, changed into more and more complex societies, and some become civilizations with many of the ancient civilizations have similar characteristics. 

Your task is as follows:

  • Read widely about different civilizations
  • Use many different resources
  • Using the characteristics provided, define their meaning
  • Find examples and exceptions to each characteristic

Books in the Library

Reference Materials

World Book Encyclopaedias are on the shelf (900) for borrowing but also available to be accessed on-line.

Click on the icon to search your ancient civilization.

If you are logging in from home, use the following:

User name: library112

Password: books1

Planning your research



  •  What do you already know? Write it down and discuss with a friend.
  • What do you need to find out? Think of the key issues and draw up a grid to organise the information that you find.
  • What resources are you planning to use?
  • Using your grid, jot down the key ideas.
  • Look at your information. Combine it with what you already know.
  • How are you going to communicate your ideas?
  • Assess your work. What did you do well? What needs improving? Were your resources helpful?
  • Remember to keep ALL of your notes and diagrams (including your resource list).

Key Terms and Definitions

What is an ancient civilization?

When archaeologists talk about ancient civilizations they are talking about the most complex societies that ever developed - true states. The independent development of the first states only happened in six places, beginning about 5,000 years ago. These included four in the Old World - Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and China and two in the New World - South America and Mexico and Central America.

During your research, you will come across many new words:

  • States: the six states are often called pristine because they developed independently of one another but, there is evidence, they communicated with one another
  • Mesopotamia: the land between two rivers (Tigris and Euphrates) - modern day Iraq
  • Sumerian civilization: where ruling dynasties controlled large territories
  • Democracy: a form of government in which the political power lies with the people.
  • City state: a fortified area surrounded by a town community and farmlands. each city state was independent, with its own laws, form of government and means of living
  • Dynasties: families who retained political power across generations

Activities of a Civilization

  • Tool making
  • Producing, consuming, exchanging
  • Transportation
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Protecting and conserving
  • Governing
  • Religious, philosophical and moral beliefs
  • Aesthetics (art, architecture, music, dance, literature, poetry)
  • Recreation

Blank Information Forms

DOWNLOAD your information grid by clicking on the link.