Some of the settled communities developed into distinctive civilizations. Information about these communities is limited and has been pieced together from archaeological evidence, accounts written outside of Arabia, and Arab oral traditions which were later recorded by Islamic historians. Among the most prominent civilizations were the Thamud civilization, which arose around 3000 BCE and lasted to around 300 CE, and the Dilmun civilization, which arose around the end of the fourth millennium and lasted to around 600 CE. Additionally, from the beginning of the first millennium BCE, Southern Arabia was the home to a number of kingdoms such as the Sabaeans, and Eastern Arabia was inhabited by Semitic speakers who presumably migrated from the southwest, such as the so-called Samad population. A few nodal points were controlled by Iranian Parthian and Sassanian colonists.
Pre-Islamic religions in Arabia included Arabian indigenous polytheistic beliefs, ancient Semitic religions (religions predating the Abrahamic religions which themselves likewise originated among the ancient Semitic-speaking peoples), various forms of Christianity, Judaism, Manichaeism, and Zoroastrianism.