Top 10 Civilizations That Mysteriously Disappeared

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Throughout our history, most civilizations have either met a slow demise or were wiped out by natural disasters or invasion. But there are a few societies whose disappearance has scholars truly stumped:

10. The Olmec

Olmec head (replica) in situ at La Venta

One of the first Mesoamerican societies, the Olmec inhabited the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico. The first signs of the Olmec are around 1400 BC in the city of San Lorenzo, the main Olmec settlement which was supported by two other centers, Tenochtitlan and Potrero Nuevo. The Olmec were master builders with each of the major sites containing ceremonial courts, house mounds, large conical pyramids and stone monuments including the colossal head that they are most known for. The Olmec civilization relied heavily on trade, both between different Olmec regions and with other Mesoamerican societies. Because they were one of the earliest and most advanced Mesoamerican cultures at the time, they are often considered the mother culture of many other Mesoamerican cultures.

Where did they go?

Around 400 BC the eastern half of the Olmec’s lands was depopulated- possibly due to environmental changes. They may have also relocated after volcanic activity in the area. Another popular theory is that they were invaded, but no one knows whom the invaders might be.

9. The Nabateans

A photograph of the inscription using the name "Rekem", the Nabatean name for Petra, sited opposite the entrance to the Siq in Petra, but now covered by the abutments of a concrete bridge.

A photograph of the inscription using the name “Rekem”, the Nabatean name for Petra, sited opposite the entrance to the Siq in Petra, but now covered by the abutments of a concrete bridge.

The Nabateans were a Semitic culture that inhabited parts of Jordan, Canaan and Arabia from around the sixth century BC. They are most widely known as the builders of the city of Petra, which served as their capital. Petra is an impressive city carved out of the cliff side with the crown jewel being the Khazneh, or Treasury, a giant Greek inspired building. The Nabateans’ wealth was gained by being a major stop on a complex trading network, through which they traded ivory, silk, spices, precious metals, gems, incense, sugar perfume and medicine. Because of the extent of the trade route, the Nabatean culture was highly influenced by Hellenistic Greece, Rome, Arabia and Assyria. Unlike other societies of their time, there was no slavery and every member of society contributed in the work duties.

Where did they go?

During the fourth century AD, the Nabateans abandoned Petra and no one really knows why. Archeological evidence proves that their exodus was an organized one that was unrushed, which leads us to believe that they were not driven out of Petra by another culture. The most likely explanation is that when the trade routes they relied on moved north they could no longer sustain their civilization and left Petra behind.

8. The Aksumite Empire

Ruins of Dungur near Aksum

Ruins of Dungur near Aksum

The Aksumite Empire began in the first century AD in what is now Ethiopia and is believed to be the home of the Queen of Sheba. Aksum was a major trade center with exports of ivory, agricultural resources and gold being traded throughout the Red Sea trade network and onward to the Roman Empire and east towards India. Because of this, Aksum was a very wealthy society and was the first African culture to issue its own coinage, which in ancient times was a sign of great importance. The most recognizable monuments of Aksum are the stelae, giant carved obelisks that acted as the grave markers of kings and nobles. Early Aksumites worshipped several gods but their main god was called Astar. In 324 AD, King Ezana II was converted to Christianity and from then on Aksum was a zealously Christian culture, and is even allegedly the home of the Ark of the Covenant.

Where did they go?

According to local legend, a Jewish Queen named Yodit defeated the Aksumite Empire and burned its churches and literature. However, others believe that southern pagan queen Bani al-Hamwiyah led to the Aksumite decline. Other theories include climate change, trade isolation and over farming leading to starvation.

7.The Mycenaeans

Image result for Mycenaeans

Growing out of the Minoan civilization, the Myceanaeans merged around 1600 BC in southern Greece. Being spread out over two islands and the southern mainland, the Myceaneans built and invaded many major cities like Mycenae, Tiryns, Pylos, Athens, Thebes, Orchomenus, Iolkos and Knossos. Many Greek myths are centered around Mycenae including the legend of King Agamemnon, who led the Greek forces during the Trojan War. The Myceaneans were a dominant naval power and used their naval prowess for trade with other nations as well as for military endeavors. Because of a lack of natural resources, the Myceaneans imported many goods and turned them into sellable items and therefore became master craftsmen, known throughout the Aegean for their weapons and jewelry.

Where did they go?

No one knows for sure, but one theory is that unrest between the peasant class and the ruling class led to the end of the Myceaneans. Other point to disruptions in trade routes, or natural factors like earthquakes. But the most popular theory is that they were invaded by a civilization from the north like the Dorians (who settled in the area after the fall of the Myceaneans) or the Sea People (who at the time were migrating from the Balkans to the Middle East).

6. The Khmer Empire

French Map of Khmer Empire under Jayavarman VII

French Map of Khmer Empire under Jayavarman VII

The Khmer Empire grew out of the kingdom of Chenla in what is now Cambodia around the 9th century AD and became one of the most powerful empires in Southeast Asia. The empire is known to most people as the civilization that built Angkor, Cambodia’s capital city. The Khmer were an incredibly powerful and wealthy culture who were open to several belief systems including Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism, which were the empire’s official religions. Their power also included military might as they fought many wars against the Annamese and Chams.

Where did they go?

The decline of the Khmer Empire can be attributed to any combination of several factors. The first being that the empire was ruled by a devarajo or god king, but with introduction of Theravada Buddhism, which teaches self enlightenment, the government was challenged. This led to a lack of a desire to work for the devarajo which impacted the amount of food being produced. During the reign of Jayavarman VII, an elaborate road network was built to make it easier to transport goods and troops throughout the Empire. But some scholars believe that these roads worked against them, making it easier for invaders like the Ayuthaya to get straight to Angkor.

5.The Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture

In Romania they are the Cucuteni, in the Ukraine they are the Trypillians and in Russia they are the Tripolie: a late Neolithic culture that flourished between 5500 BC and 2750 BC. At their height, the Cucuteni-Trypillian society built the largest Neolithic settlements in Europe, with some housing up to 15,000 people. One of the biggest mysteries of this culture is that every 60 to 80 years they would burn their entire village and reconstruct it on top of the old one. The Cucuteni-Typillian culture was matriarchal, the women were the heads of the household and also did the agricultural work and made pottery, textiles and clothing. The men were hunters, tool makers and were responsible for looking after domestic animals. Their religion was centered around the Great Mother Goddess who was a symbol of motherhood and agricultural fertility. They also worshipped the bull (strength, fertility and the sky) and a snake (eternity and eternal movement).


Where did they go?

One of the main theories about the end of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture is the Kurgan hypothesis, which states that they were conquered by the warlike Kurgan culture. However, more recent archeology points to a dramatic climate change which could have led to one of the worst droughts in European history– devastating for a culture that relied heavily on farming.

4. Clovis

Clovis points from the Rummells-Maske Site, 13CD15, Cedar County, Iowa, These are from the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist collection.

Clovis points from the Rummells-Maske Site, 13CD15, Cedar County, Iowa, These are from the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist collection.

A prehistoric Native American people, the Clovis culture dates back to 10,000 BC. Centered in southern and central plains of North America they are archeologically recognized by chipped flint points called Clovis points. They used these points on the end of spears to hunt big game like mammoth and bison and small game like deer and rabbits. The Clovis people were the first human inhabitants of the New World and are considered the ancestors of all North and South American indigenous cultures. Many scholars believe that they crossed the Beringia land bridge from Siberia to Alaska during the ice age and then headed south to warmer climates.

Where did they go?

There are several theories around the disappearance of the Clovis culture. The first states that a decrease in megafauna along with less mobility in their culture led them to branch off and form new cultural groups, like the Folsom culture. Another theory is that the mammoth and other species became extinct due to over hunting, leaving the Clovis without a viable food source. The final theory revolves around a comet that crashed to the earth around the Great Lakes region and significantly affected the Clovis culture.

3. The Minoans

Minoan Thera great volcanic eruption which occurred between 1642–1540 BC

Minoan Thera great volcanic eruption which occurred between 1642–1540 BC

Named after the legendary King Minos, the Minoans inhabited what is now Crete from 3000 to 1000 BC. In Greek mythology, Minoa was the land of Cretan Bull and it’s son, the Minotaur- a mythical half-man-half-bull that lived in the labyrinth and killed anyone who entered. In reality, the Minoans were the first known civilization in Europe. Today all that is left of the Minoan civilization are their palaces and the artifacts found within. The Minoan civilization was one of social organization, art and commerce. Early Minoans spoke a language that we call Linear A, which during later periods was replaced by Linear B, both of which were based on pictographs. There is no evidence of any military culture found in the Minoan palaces and it seems their power was purely economical. Even though the Minoans fell, their culture was inherited first by the Myceaneans and from there by the Hellenistic Greeks.

Where did they go?

Many scholars believe that the Minoans were wiped out by a volcanic eruption on the island of Thera (now Santorini), but there is evidence that they survived. However, the eruption would have killed all plant life thus leading to starvation, and damaged their ships leading to economic decline. It is also believed that during this time they were invaded, possibly by the Myceaneans.

2.The Anasazi

The Anasazi or Ancestral Puebloans were a Native American culture that emerged in the Four Corners area of the United States (where New Mexico, Arizona, Colordo, and Utah meet) around 1200 BC. The early Puebloans were hunters and gatherers who lived in shallow pit houses. Later they developed horticulture and began farming maize, beans and squash. Also found at Anasazi archeological sites are greyware pottery, elaborate baskets, reed sandals, rabbit fur robes, grinding stones and bows and arrows. In the Pueblo II and Pueblo III eras the Anasazi carved whole towns out of nearby cliffs like those at Mesa Verde and Bandelier or they constructed them out of stone or adobe mud like Chaco Canyon. These towns hosted many cultural and civic events and were connected to each other by hundreds of miles of roadways.

Where did they go?

Around 1300 AD the Ancestral Puebloans abandoned their cliff houses and scattered. Many scholars believe that, after a population explosion, poor farming methods and a regional drought made it difficult to produce enough food. Due to this lack of food, the Anasazi moved either along the Rio Grande or on the Hopi mesas, and therefore many modern Pueblo Indians believe that they are the descendants of the Anasazi. Recent studies prove that this climate change could not explain the decline of the Anasazi alone and suggest that social and political factors like a violent conflict led to their end, instead.

1. The Indus Valley Civilization

Dholavira Sophisticated Water Reserving. The ancient Indus Valley Civilization

Dholavira Sophisticated Water Reserving. The ancient Indus Valley Civilization

Once inhabiting an area about the size of western Europe in what is now Pakistan and western India, the Indus Valley or Harappan Civilization thrived from 3300 to 1300 BC, although the area was settled all the way back to 7000 BC. Despite being one of the largest ancient civilizations, not much is known about the Harappan civilization, mostly because their language has never been deciphered. We do know that they built over one hundred towns and villages including the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, each of which was built with an organized layout, and a complex plumbing system with indoor toilets. Evidence suggests that the Harappan had a unified government and that there were no social classes. There is also no evidence of military activity so it is likely that they lived in peace. They were skilled astronomers and were well versed in agriculture, growing wheat, barley, peas, melons, sesame and cotton (becoming the first civilization to produce cotton cloth) and domesticating several animals including cattle and elephants.

Where did they go?

There are several theories as to what happened to the Indus Valley civilization. Some people believe that they declined because of changes to their environment, such as a decrease in the size of the Ghaggar Hakra river system or the cooler, drier temperatures that are also evident throughout the Middle East. Another popular theory was that the Aryans invaded them around 1500 BC.


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146 Comments

    • Just to put in my two-cents…Angkor or better yet, Angkor Thom was the capital of Cambodia unit it was destroyed. The capital was then moved to Phnom Penh where it remained for several decades until disputes over who ruled the country caused the capital to be moved several times. It was finally moved by to Phnom Penh in the mid-1800s where it has remained.

  1. How about Gandhara?

    That was the Graeco-Buddhist civilization which once existed throughout what’s now northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, apparently established in the wake of Alexander the Great’s invasion route to India. if you remember about 10 years ago when the Taliban were blowing up those gigantic Buddha statues in northern Afghanistan, those were relics from Gandhara. They apparently built some good sized cities on the classic Greek plan, built some really huge Buddhist statuary and temples, and then disappeared..

  2. John Michael on

    Just a snobby correction: it’s devaraja (the cambodian “God-king”). With an ‘a’ not an ‘o’.

  3. Just one criticism on your research on the Mycenaeans, despite the theory of invasion by the dorians still being by far the most prevalent, ‘popular’ is a misleading term because it implies the theory is the most correct, when in fact it has been concluded by most experts that the dorian invasion theory is not viable and that the tools and weapons associated with the ‘invasion’ are not sufficient evidence.

    • Nathan…you are correct in your statements regarding the “Dorian Invasion”.
      Archaeologists still have not proven…one way or another… just what went on in this ancient era. There are many opinions and theories, one has to admit, but it would probably be more correct to call it a “Dorian migration”…if it can be called anything at all.
      Differences in burial customs, linguistics, pottery types, tool kits and weapons….all can be explained in different ways.
      In that era of unsettled migrations in EurAsia and N. Africa….from Egypt, Minoa,(Crete), the Hittites…the Cycladians, linear B, …et al…….all could have had some associations with the changes in the area now called Greece…..
      I believe that the word ‘invasion’ was an attempt to explain the stories of Homer, originally, and from there became an ‘excepted’ view of what might have taken place…..by ancient classical Greek historians and then much later writers….but with no real archaeological proof…..

  4. This is interesting, but the Mayans should be in the top 10 as well. They just up and disappeared with absolutely no sign as to what happened to them, where they went or why. There was no famine, no one conquered them, no fight, nothing. They just disappeared.

    • The Mayan civilizations were decimated by the Spanish conquistadores. Nevertheless, there are still 6,000,000 Mayans living in Mexico, Belize, Guatamala , and still speak the Mayan Languages. There is no mystery as to what happened to them, it is well known history.

  5. Tenochtitlán was founded by the aztecs in the 13th Century. It has nothing to do with the Olmecs.

  6. I think what youre calling Mayans is the Inca civilization. The Mayans are still around but Incas desapeared completely. Incas must be on this list.

  7. Actually…NONE…of these cultures or ‘civilizations’ really ‘disappeared’……they were all made up of unknown numbers of humans. These humans just carried on the way we all do. DNA and mtDNA may be useful in ‘finding’ some of those people…….but although their cultures may have been aculturated (into many others) and their ‘civilizations’, as such, may have ended….the people and their lineages continue.

  8. Amazing, haven’t heard of so many of these civilizations. I am really curious to the lifestyle of the Indus Valley, hope they can decipher their language someday.

  9. Caral is a large settlement in the Supe Valley, near Supe, Barranca province, Peru, some 200 km north of Lima. Caral is the most ancient city of the Americas, and is a well-studied site of the Caral civilization or Norte Chico civilization.It has aprox. 5.000 years of antiquity

  10. I wish we could take care of natural and historical beauties and values enough. Everyday I see them getting lost and feeling really sorry.

  11. Interesting list. How did you pick which ones to include and which ones to leave out? If I’d made such a list, I’d have put the Elamites first, followed by the Hittites. But that’s me.

    Just a couple of quibbles. Languages are not deciphered. Writing systems are. The people of the Indus Valley civilization probably spoke many different languages, since that “civilization” covered something close to a million square miles of territory. But they seem to have used only one “writing” system. And it may not be a fully developed writing system, in the sense that Chinese, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Sumerian cuneiform were.

    (P.S. Are you sure that Petra was the capital of the Nabataeans territory? I read that it was essentially a graveyard. That “Treasury” was somebody’s tomb.)

  12. It is thought by historians that “Petra” (later Arabic for ‘rock’), was begun as the capital of the Nabataeans in the 6th C. CE. The famous photo has always been referred to as “The Treasury” (Al Khazneh), but there are many tombs in the surrounding areas. Since this city was at the center of an important caravan trade route it enjoyed a fair amount of power and control over the route for several centuries.
    Most important to them was their control of the water, creating an artificial oasis. They had numerous flash floods, which archaeology has found were controlled with dams, cisterns, and water conduits. The name “The Treasury” came into existence from legends that pirates (bandits) used the large urn on the second level to hide their loot….and another claim that it was used as a treasury for the Egyptian king at the time of ‘Moses’. The name Al Khazneh is Arabic. There are burial chambers on either side of a ramp connected to the edifice, which was excavated in 2003. These usually are not shown in photos.
    There are varying opinions concerning just how large an area the Nabataeans may have held at the peak of their power, and it fell into many hands over the centuries…now being in Jordon.
    The deity Dushara seems to have been their main god, accompanied by his female counterpart. They also worshipped some of their ancestor kings…..much like Egypt and other ancient cultures.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petra

  13. Appologies……I stated in my last message that ‘Petra’ was established as the Nabataean capital in or around the 6th C. CE (Common Era)….I meant BCE (Before the Common Era)….which has replaced the old ‘BC’

  14. I thought the Queen of Sheba lived in what is now modern-day Yemen, not Ethiopia? What I’ve read suggests that she was Queen Balqis of the Sabaean kingdom, one of several ancient kingdoms that now make up modern-day Yemen.

    Anyways, regardless of which is accurate, this was a really fascinating article. Thanks for sharing!

    Tom

    • “QUEEN OF SHEBA”:
      She is thought to have been born January 5th, sometime in the 10th C. BCE. This Lady has been known by many names depending on which language is used….”Balqis”/”Balquis”/ “Balkis” is Arabian. Flavius Josephus,(1st C. CE), referred to her as “Nicaule”, and stated that she was “Queen of Egypt and Ethiopia” [Book 8,Chapter 6 “Antiquity of the Jews”…. There are biblical references to her lineage as descending from Noah through one of two sons, either Ham or Shem. [Of course historians now know that the story of “Noah” was the Habiru/Hebrew version of a much more ancient story contained in the Sumerian “EPIC OF GILGAMESH”. “Noah’s much earlier Sumerian name was Ut nam pish Tem. This is also from where the ‘flood story’ emerges, which is believed, now, to have been caused by natural geologic tectonic actions in the Med.].
      Although the royal family of Ethiopia claim to be direct descendants, via a child born to her and King Solomon, (Menelik I), she could have been from either Ethiopia, Yemen or Arabia Felix.
      Recent archaeological discoveries, in Mareb, Yemen, seem to suggest that she ruled, in her own right, over this area of Southern Arabia…
      The “Saba” connection comes from a much more modern reference in Christopher Marlow’s “Dr. Faustus”, a fictional adaptation of ancient history.
      There are several later adaptations in reference to the Queen of Sheba and her origins and history…….One Xian version connects the country of “Sheba” to the Magi and the birth of Joshua ben Joseph (Greek “Jesus”), and archaeology and sat images have proven that at one time in ancient history Southern Arabia (now Yemen) had a thriving trade in the growing and selling of Myrrh to the ancient cultures of their time….
      [email protected]

  15. Fortunate enough to have visited the Minoan site. Note of caution though – Arthur Evans dug through and destroyed Roman remains (I know! Terrible) and upon discovering the Minoan palaces etc. he arranged a great deal of what he found in the way he felt fit, so not necessarily an accurate representation of how precisely the area would have looked. Nonetheless, an amazing place to visit.

    • Most who study ancient history and Archaeology are pretty aware of what Evans did. This type of “Archaeology” was pretty common practice in his contemporary world at that time.
      But, much more modern Archaeologists are now working at many sites in the world, and in many they are ‘correcting’, if at all possible, what was mistakenly done in the late 19th and early 20th C. CE by the original ‘archaeologists’ (who usually were not academically trained in this science).
      Much more information on the ancient Minoan culture and civilization is now available via the work now being done on Crete.
      I have an article about this on my group site Egypt and Beyond……

  16. I may be wrong, but i don’t believe Tenotchtitlan was a city until it was established by the Aztecs around 1300AD. The Olmec were gone several hundred years before the city was built.

    • Tenochtitlan was settled about 1325 CE. after an eagle lit on an organ cactus, giving the sign to the priests of the wandering Aztec (Mexica) tribe that this was where they were to settle. Although earlier tribes were nearby and the Mexica fought both the people of Culhuacan and Tenayuca, they did settle on Lake Texcoco, building their muddy, small town from the muck of the Lake.
      It was named after the High Priest Tenoch and meant “the town of Tenoch”. After several rulers and much improvement over many years one ruler was chosen by their inner council. This was MOTECUHZOMA iLHUICAMINA, [“Angry Lord” -“One who shoots his arrows to the sky”], the nephew of Itzcoatl, half brother of Tlacaelel (one a former leader, the other a highly respected member of the council). This man became known in history as Moctezuma I (or later mis spelled “Montezuma”. It was under this ruler that the Pyramid of Mayor and many other shrines were built.
      Both the Olmec and the Toltec civilizations or cultures had dissipated long before the Mexica (Aztec) arrived, as this tribe was the last of the 7 tribes (according to their history) to leave Aztlan (“The Place of Herons”). When the Mexica arrived at Teotihuacan, it was deserted, and had been for some time, thus the Mexica ‘inherited’ this ‘already built’ city of pyramids.

      lacaelel

  17. American in SE Asia on

    Regarding the Khmer Empire portion. It’s not “Devarajo”, it’s Deva Raja (from India – Sanskrit). And the “Ayuttaya” were not a people. They were the people from Sukotai that originally declared independence from the Khmer Empire and were comprised mostly of Tai people that migrated from southern China. Sukotai was subsequently destroyed after the Mon/Burmese Empire invaded (after the Tai declared independence from the Khmer), thus they were forced to move their new capital to Ayodyah (Ayuttayah) (named after the mythical city in Indian literature). So to conclude correctly, the roads allowed easier access to the Siamese (or early Thai people, before the country of Siam/Thailand was formed), but to refer to them as the “Ayuttaya” is not correct. They were from Ayuttayah and they were predominately of Tai ethnicity (Tai should not be confused with Thai, as these are 2 different things. Thai is the name of the people from modern day Thailand, formerly called Siam. Whereas Tai is an ethnic group of people that migrated into the region from south China about 1500-2000 years ago due to being pushed south by the Mongols. When they went south into modern day Thailand, they were incorporated into the Khmer Empire, but were more or less stuck in the middle of a war between the Mon and Khmer Empires that were battling for land in the region).

  18. That’s alot of comments oh stumbleupon! u have did it again!
    anyway i got tired of reading so i decided to write this comment based on the few top comments i read the huge skeleton thing is all over Youtube research it!, “Amr Khaled” also recently made a series, on that which i think may be found on YT also. i also wanted to add, did u hear about the french scientist -dont remember his name, he is the one who inspected RAMSIS II pharouh of Egypt he concluded that he must have died drowning, lets just say he turned muslim when someone came along and told him that the Quran had already beat him to it. he wrote a book too. (research that too). The Quran is well above that level you put for ‘religous books’, yes i am talking to you athiests, if uve given up on the bible it doesnt mean u should give up on believing in God altogether, bec the Quran has already told us the bible has been polluted. so dont give up, i know its the easy way out by being an atheist, if u need proof, and not willing to put your faith, then evidence is out there, but u wont find it infront of you. and instead of acting like a smartass to people who have faith, go out there and learn Arabic as a simple first step, and at least try to proov us wrong. these are the positive logical steps to take, now being a redneck is not one of them.

  19. We don’t know who and why the disappear.The thoughts about this and the conclusion about this is, if those great civilizations disappear, could happened the same to us once again somehow.

  20. Although many of these civilizations are no longer viable, as far as working governments, many of the people who made up these have actually been assimilated into many different cultures. This is due to many different reasons. Migrations, war/occupations, and political decisions during past centuries being the most glaring reasons.
    Many still are retaining their cultural names, such as the Maya. Many have been acculturated by their occupiers, but are now attempting to ‘re-integrate’ their traditions, and many others are fighting to keep or return to their origins, (as far as their countries, such as the Kurds, and the Vietnamese, who were the victims of political decisions made after WWI and WWII)….

  21. i was very much surprised to see the exclusion of IMBA HURU popularly known as GREAT ZIMBABWE in southern africa.it was a well established civilisation built by Shona masons.I might be slightly biased because im a direct descendent but please if you can,research on greatzimbabwe and you might just discover ancient civilisation in places you never thought possible

  22. Has anyone herd of the large statues they moved to build cape Canaveral space center.a pre columbian group ?

  23. modernKouros on

    I don’t have time to read all the comments, but the Mycenaeans most definately did not stem from the Minoan civilization on Crete. No one can actually say where the Mycenaeans migrated from, but the Minoans were already established well before then, and there’s archaeological evidence of many different peoples living on mainland Greece and the Cyclades after the Minoans had already become an identifiable civilization. Historians define these peoples’ development seperately: Helladic, Cycladic, and Minoan. The Mycenaeans couldn’t even write until adopting and modifying Linear A (which wasn’t a language, it was a primitive alphabet) from the Minoans to Linear B. Being that there’s evident “Mycenaean” activity way before they were writing down inventories of trade, your claim makes no sense. It’s not even a debated topic. There’s absolutely no evidence supporting the notion of the Mycenaeans being Minoan. The peoples we call Mycenaean were likely a hodgepodge mix of Indo-Europeans and (mostly) Pre-Greeks (speculative statement BTW, but on an educated basis); they also spoke an ancient form of Greek, have no architectural or cultural similarities with the Minoans (until trade began), and were a warring peoples. This is also why Minoans are not considered Ancient Greeks but the Mycenaeans, although debated, are (establishing ethnicity in these ancient times is an anachronism). The 1600 BC representing their beginning is understandably simplified, but some argue 2000-1600 BC BTW. Either way, you are implying the Mycenaeans left Minoan society, lost the ability to write, became polytheistic cultists of gods sharing only a few features of Minoan religion that merit only so much as the contact with them at some point, developed a pre-Greek language, created an original culture, and reclaimed the ability to write from the Minoans once again after changing their alphabet. And since the Minoans weren’t gone until around 1500-1400 BC and Mycenaean Linear B tablets have been found dating earlier, the Minoans just watched while all this happened even though they were sea-faring masters of their time. That would be a pretty sick joke that’s literally for the ages.
    I really want to see some sources because these claims you make I have actually never heard before.