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Public-images-osm logo.svg historic:civilization
Osm element key.svg
The civilization that created a feature
Group: Historic
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areasuse on relations unspecified
Status: ApprovedPage for proposal


This is a tag to describe roughly which civilization (or ancient culture) has built a feature or is somehow else connected to it. The tag is mainly intended for historical features as a subtag to add further detail.


For more detailed classification use historic:period=* to describe a narrower period, see values below for usage. This still leaves room for yet another subtag historic:era=* e.g. named after a regent, a family or similar, if needed. This allows to tag a suitable detail level, while the approximative tag historic:civilization=* can be easily applied without any special knowledge.


<k="historic:civilization" v=defined list>
<k="historic:period" v=defined list>
<k="historic:era" v=defined list>


This is the current set of values. In some cases the dates might be disputed. Please be also aware that this is (/should be) based on scientific classification (i.e. an interpretation) and might be disputed or due to change along with scientific progress. If you are not sure how to exactly classify a feature, don't add the detailed tags but add only what you are sure about. Consider also to set (additionally) start_date=* if you have this information.

Feel free to amend the list and add other civilizations, periods and eras.


  • historic:civilization=prehistoric

If possible try to specify the period (or possibly the era for the longest period of stone age). But note that this classifications may only be appropriate for Europe and immediate borders of the Mediterranean Sea, and it may not be very accurate for Asia, America, and Eastern Africa (from where the whole humanity historically originated):

Note that some civilizations have lasted longer than Bronze Age, such as the Nuragic one (in Sardinia) and Ancient Chinese civilisations (see below). Generally the site should be classified under these civilisations if they were constructed after the arrival of scriptures. If there are only decorations with no obvjous textual meaning, these sites remain prehistoric. and could remain in this classification (e.g. the Pre-Nuragic civilization, during Bronze Age could be specified by historic:era=pre-nuragic, under historic:period=bronze-age. Also some Ancient Chinese and Mesopotamian civilizations started to write their history in an era where Europe was still in the (neolithic) Stone Age, even if these old civilizations still did not have discovered iron (scriptures started to be written on stones, then bones and wood, without needing metal for tools, arms and early currencies and jewelry).


to be amended

Ancient China

  • historic:civilization=ancient_chinese 2100 BC - 221 BC

Imperial China

  • historic:civilization=imperial_chinese 221 BC - 1911 AD


Ancient Egypt

Greek Egypt

Roman and Byzantine Egypt


Greek Bronze Age

  • historic:civilization=helladic
  • historic:civilization=cycladic
  • historic:civilization=minoan
  • historic:civilization=mycenaean

Ancient Greece

Nuragic civilization

see the Nuragic civilization in wikipedia

  • historic:civilization=nuragic


to be added. If you are familiar with this topic feel free to add a classification


  • historic:civilization=ancient_roman 753 BC – 284 AD
  • historic:civilization=western_roman 285 AD – 476 AD
  • historic:civilization=byzantine 285 AD – 1453 AD (administration split in 285)


see the Tiahuanacota civilization in wikipedia (spanish). Befora

Other cultures

(feel free to move it up and make a dedicated subsection if you are familiar with a certain culture)

  • historic:civilization=allemanian
  • historic:civilization=anglo-saxon (See also Historic Britain)
  • historic:civilization=celtic
  • historic:civilization=etruscan
  • historic:civilization=gaelic
  • historic:civilization=germanic
  • historic:civilization=inkan
  • historic:civilization=japanese
  • historic:civilization=mayan
  • historic:civilization=thracian
  • historic:civilization=vikingian


For example this could be attached to an roman excavation site:


The proposal:

See also

  • Proposed features/heritage - subtags contain references to various international or national public databases. These databases frequently reference the civilizations, eras or periods, when effective dates of constructions cannot be estimated with precision.