Is Civilization An Effective Organization Tool For Studying History?

1115 Words Jun 30th, 2016 5 Pages
Is civilization an effective organizational tool for studying history?
Civilization is great at describing many cases throughout more recent history. However, due to the limited concrete information we have on early societies and peoples the term "civilization" is constantly changing and evolving and therefore inadequate to describe earlier civilizations. The definition of a civilization most basically is "the stage of human social development and organization that is considered most advanced." Ok, then according to this definition an early Neolithic group whose now primal seeming organization was the most advanced of the time would be categorized with a modern civilization such as the Western civilization. However, I did some research and discovered archaeologist and philologist Gordon Childe 's interpretation of the term civilization. He came up with a very specific set of guidelines fine-tuned by many scientists after he died. The following is an adaptation of his guidelines from American archaeologist Charles Redman:
Primary characteristics
1. Urban settlements
2. Full-time specialists not involved in agricultural activities
3. Concentration of surplus production
4. Class structure
5. State-level organization (government)
Secondary characteristics
6. Monumental public building
7. Extensive trading networks
8. Standardized monumental artwork
9. Writing
10. Development of exact sciences
Now if one was to now re-examine the hypothetical Neolithic group mentioned earlier…

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