From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Public-images-osm logo.svg historic:civilization
Describe roughly which civilization (or ancient culture) has built a feature or is somehow else connected to it. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: historic
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)may be used on relations
Useful combination
Status: approvedPage for proposal

This is a tag to describe roughly which civilization (British English: civilisation) 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.



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.


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 obvious 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).



More detailed history can be seen at OHM/China

Ancient China

Imperial China



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

Middle East






Ancient Egypt

Greek Egypt

Roman and Byzantine Egypt

Islamic Egypt


Greek Bronze Age

Ancient Greece

Nuragic civilization



Iberian peninsula

Western Balkans (Dinaric Karst to Adriatic Basin)

Europe (rest = predominantly not mediterranean)

From the 5th to the late 15th century,  Medieval
historic:civilization=medieval historic:civilization=medieval_christianity historic:civilization=middle-ages







Ancestral Puebloans

Other cultures

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


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


The proposal:

See also