I'm not sure that any civilization can be described as entirely worthy and admirable on an ethical level. Most have both virtues and faults. If one wished to considered admirable in terms of cultural and scientific innovations along with influential, the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia would be a good choice. Sumerian civilization probably invented writing and was responsible for the first major law codes. Although the code of Hammarabi had many features we now might disapprove of, it was a major step towards a fair and just legal system. The civilization of Sumer also made significant steps in the study of astronomy and medicine and produced our earliest extant literary works.