Common Characteristics of Civilization:

Topics: Social stratification, Civilization, Human Pages: 2 (381 words) Published: September 23, 2012
Many people define civilization in different ways. Both archeologist Childe and another historian thought for civilization to exist it had to include: “the plow, wheeled cart and draft animals, sailing ships, the smelting of copper and bronze, a solar calendar, writing, standards of measurement, irrigation ditches, specialized craftsmen, urban centers and a surplus of food necessary to support non-agricultural workers who lived within the walls of the city.” In addition, the historian thought that a civilization needed human organization, too, not just human achievements. He believed a civilization also needed “money collected through taxes, a privileged ruling class, a centralized government and a national religious or priestly class.”

Then there was Kluckhohn who believed there were three necessary factors for civilization: “towns containing more than 5000 people, writing, and monumental ceremonial centers.” Lastly, there is anthropologist Adams who believed that civilization needed: “class stratification based on the ownership and control of production, political and religious hierarchies complementing each other in the central administration of territorially organized states and lastly, a complex division of labor, with skilled workers, soldiers and officials existing alongside the great mass of peasant producers.”

So, some common characteristics of civilization are: the ability to write, a need for government hierarchy, and skilled workers and specialized craftsmen. I believe that there can be exceptions to the characteristics of a civilization just like there are many definitions of civilization; for instance, I do not believe monumental ceremonial centers are a necessity to have a civilization; however, the ability to communicate is important. I do feel there are certain things you must have to be a civilization: the ability to communicate – this is essential for organization and planning, a government hierarchy – to keep law and order, an abundance...
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