Evidence for Urbanization of Ancient Cities

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The urbanization of any ancient city has the best advantage of being seen through our modern day eyes. Looking at the evidence recovered from various sites definitely poses some problems for scholars in trying to place it in the context of the time-line of that city; yet these scholars have the knowledge of the end result of our modern-day societies. Archaeologists and classics scholars know historical trends of human socialization and urbanization for hundreds of years in societies unrelated to ancient ones. Despite all of these advantages, however, it is hard to place exact definable events on the timeline of an ancient society because of basic constrictions of things like lack of records and buried evidence. Archaeologies must therefore decode what they find and make various hypotheses and proposed methods and reasons of urbanizations for these cities.

Egypt has long been known, even by non-classical scholars, to have a rich history of Kings, architectures, artifacts, etc. Most of our modern day connotations however come from a post-urbanized Egypt. It is in our interest to look before that to try and determine the actual beginnings of the urbanization of Egypt and place evidence in a logical, contextual place. Christiana Köhler provides us with an overview of the known evidence and possibilities of evidenc0e for the urbanization of Egypt. Much of the evidence can be separated in social, political and economic categories, which are probably some of the most basic requirements of an urbanized society. She states the theories behind the creation of the Old Kingdom have been a long time in development and been based off of many different things over the years. Deciphering the ideologies and physical unification of Egypt has, over the years, required someone to step back and take a look at everything as it relates into one, but ultimately it can be concluded this urbanization did not occur quickly.

According to Kö hler one of the earliest shifts towards the development of a city is the movement of hunter-gathering nomads to craft-specialization and tool manufacturing industries. People were able to devote themselves fully to these trades in areas where there were large concentrations of people in order to support the need for the specific trade. These trades naturally developed near essential resources, allowing them to be sustainable. These trades, in addition to the resources may have lead to the attraction of other people to the area. The abundance of these sustainable trades perhaps contributed to the emergence of, or perhaps just a noticeable emergence of an elite class. The upper-class individuals fully supported the craft industries and then subsequently the economy and trade routes. This ensured the stability of these industries for the owners as well as the availability of goods for the elite, the beginnings of a symbiotic relationship most societies have. Although the goods were centered in one area there was also evidence found of imported goods, mostly in burials and in burials of the elite. These goods though were oddly enough found in the lower-class burials as well, a huge indicator of a well-established network of long distance trade, that even lower-class citizens could have access to.

Probably one of the most obvious indicators of urbanization includes an administrative system, indicating some sort of political system in place. The written records of the relevant city indicate the administrative status of a city. Even from the earliest times, symbols and other representations of goods in some sort of written form have existed and most likely been controlled by the elite. Those in the highest social statuses controlled access of goods and therefore needed to have some way of regulating and keeping track of it. The emergence of hieroglyphs came from the need for the administration to keep important records. From the administrative side of urbanization we can easily segway into one of Kö hler’s “key...
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