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The World's Oldest Cultures

Here at Haggis, we're a wee bit obsessed with the history of our lovely country. That's because it's etched into the very rock that lines the streets here in Edinburgh. We're lucky enough to have architecture here ageing back to the 2nd Century AD.

Head out of the capital, though, and you'll find the echos of distant ages all across the country. From Norse place names to neolithic settlements, ancient history is a constant presence in our cultural identity. That's why our most popular are packed with awesome historic sites, like the 10-day compass buster adventure. 

We want to delve a little deeper into Scotland's ancient past and compare it to some of the oldest civilisations around the world. Join us on an epic journey through time to discover the world's ancient cultures.

The First People of Scotland

Game of Thrones fans will remember the First Men who populated the Isles of Westeros long before the age of dragons. The book's author, George R.R. Martin, actually drew inspiration for this from Scotland's most ancient inhabitants - known as the First People of Scotland.

Remenants of their civilizations have been found dating back to 12,000 years ago. Over that time, their peoples evolved into agricultural tribes we know today as the Celts. You can find Celtic settlements like Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar - a stone circle that's over 4000 years old - on the Orkney archipelago in northern Scotland.

The Kuku Yalanji people, Australia

Deep in the rainforests of Daintree, North Queensland, you can find one of the oldest civilisations in the world. The Kuku Yalanji people have made the area their home and lived in relative isolation for over 50,000 years! Their incredible survival story is rooted in their ability to live with the changing seasons in the deepest parts of the rainforest.

Dreaming stories are also an integral part of their culture, with a religious identity tied to the surrounding features of the landscape in which they live. Today, the Kuku Ylanji invite foreigners to tours of the Daintree Rainforest area to learn about their lifestyle.

The Mesopotamians, modern-day Iraq

If there were ever a single place that could be dubbed 'the cradle of civilisation' it would probably be Mesopotamia. The ancient culture that dwelled here has been accounted for as far back as 10,000 BC.

Around 8,000 BC, the ancient Mesopotamians began to cultivate wheat and barley which they used to bake bread, brew beer and make porridge. A few thousands of years later, the Mesopotamians made some of civilisation's first steps into animal husbandry. Ruins of this ancient society still exist today.

The Ancient Egyptians

Although ancient Egypt is fascinating enough to be taught in British schools, it's actually one of the youngest civilisations on our list. Younger even than the First People of Scotland. They are important, however, due to the massive advancements they made in politics, culture and, in particular, writing. They were one of the first civilisations to create effective medicines, mathematics, irrigation and glass.

So how does Ancient Scotland stack up against these famous cultures? Well, the Celts continue to astonish due to the sheer age of their tribal civilisations. The fact that we can still visit prehistoric sites like Skara Brae today is truly awe-inspiring. They may not have the flash of the ancient Egyptians or the longevity of the Kuku Yulanji, but they certainly knew how to make an impact. We're still feeling it 12,000 years later!