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In Search Of The Cradle Of Civilization : New L...

A cradle of civilization is a location and a culture where civilization was created by humankind independent of other civilizations in other locations. The formation of urban settlements (cities) is the primary characteristic of a society that can be characterized as "civilized". Other characteristics of civilization include a sedentary non-nomadic population, monumental architecture, the existence of social classes and inequality, and the creation of a writing system for communication. The transition from simpler societies to the complex society of a civilization is gradual.

In search of the cradle of civilization : new l...

Scholars generally acknowledge six cradles of civilization. Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient India, and Ancient China are believed to be the earliest in the Old World.[1][2] Cradles of civilization in the New World are the Caral-Supe civilization of coastal Peru and the Olmec civilization of Mexico. All of the cradles of civilization depended upon agriculture for sustenance (except possibly Caral-Supe which may have depended initially on marine resources). All depended upon farmers producing an agricultural surplus to support the centralized government, political leaders, priests, and public works of the urban centers of the civilization.

Less formally, the term "cradle of civilization" is often used to refer to other historic ancient civilizations, such as Greece or Rome, which have both been called the "cradle of Western civilization".

In the absence of written documents, most aspects of the rise of early civilizations are contained in archaeological assessments that document the development of formal institutions and the material culture. A "civilized" way of life is ultimately linked to conditions coming almost exclusively from intensive agriculture. Gordon Childe defined the development of civilization as the result of two successive revolutions: the Neolithic Revolution of Western Asia, triggering the development of settled communities, and the Urban revolution which also first emerged in Western Asia, which enhanced tendencies towards dense settlements, specialized occupational groups, social classes, exploitation of surpluses, monumental public buildings and writing. Few of those conditions, however, are unchallenged by the records: dense cities were not attested in Egypt's Old Kingdom (unlike Mesopotamia) and cities had a dispersed population in the Maya area;[6] the Incas lacked writing although they could keep records with Quipus which might also have had literary uses; and often monumental architecture preceded any indication of village settlement. For instance, in present-day Louisiana, researchers have determined that cultures that were primarily nomadic organized over generations to build earthwork mounds at seasonal settlements as early as 3400 BC. Rather than a succession of events and preconditions, the rise of civilization could equally be hypothesized as an accelerated process that started with incipient agriculture and culminated in the Oriental Bronze Age.[7]

Scholars thought that civilization began in the Fertile Crescent and spread out from there by influence.[8] Scholars now believe that civilizations arose independently at several locations in both hemispheres. They have observed that sociocultural developments occurred along different timeframes. "Sedentary" and "nomadic" communities continued to interact considerably; they were not strictly divided among widely different cultural groups. The concept of a cradle of civilization has a focus where the inhabitants came to build cities, to create writing systems, to experiment in techniques for making pottery and using metals, to domesticate animals, and to develop complex social structures involving class systems.[9]

In Mesopotamia (a region encompassing modern Iraq and bordering regions of Southeast Turkey, Northeast Syria and Northwest Iran), the convergence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers produced rich fertile soil and a supply of water for irrigation. Neolithic cultures emerged in the region from 8000 BC onwards. The civilizations that emerged around these rivers are the earliest known non-nomadic agrarian societies. It is because of this that the Fertile Crescent region, and Mesopotamia in particular, are often referred to as the cradle of civilization.[24] The period known as the Ubaid period (c. 6500 to 3800 BC) is the earliest known period on the alluvial plain, although it is likely earlier periods exist obscured under the alluvium.[25][26] It was during the Ubaid period that the movement toward urbanization began. Agriculture and animal husbandry were widely practiced in sedentary communities, particularly in Northern Mesopotamia (later Assyria), and intensive irrigated hydraulic agriculture began to be practiced in the south.[27]

Norte Chico is unusual in that it completely lacked ceramics and apparently had almost no visual art. Nevertheless, the civilization exhibited impressive architectural feats, including large earthwork platform mounds and sunken circular plazas, and an advanced textile industry.[9][148] The platform mounds, as well as large stone warehouses, provide evidence for a stratified society and a centralized authority necessary to distribute resources such as cotton.[9] However, there is no evidence of warfare or defensive structures during this period.[147] Originally, it was theorized that, unlike other early civilizations, Norte Chico developed by relying on maritime food sources in place of a staple cereal. This hypothesis, the Maritime Foundation of Andean Civilization, is still hotly debated; however, most researches now agree that agriculture played a central role in the civilization's development while still acknowledging a strong supplemental reliance on maritime proteins.[19][149][150]

The Mediterranean Basin has been the cradle of world civilization since the first settlements in Jericho in 9000 BC. Known in English and the romance languages as the sea "between the lands", the Mediterranean goes and has gone by many names: Our Sea, for the Romans, the White Sea (Akdeniz) for the Turks, the Great Sea (Yam Gadol) for the Jews, the Middle Sea (Mittelmeer) for the Germans and more doubtfully the Great Green for the ancient Egyptians.1 Our Sea played a major role in the communication of the peoples around it and prevented clashes between people with different interests from different parts of the Basin. No other such basin exists in the world. The world map shows what a unique location the Mediterranean Sea has in the world -- it is big enough to house all of us but at the same time, with its unique shape, with its islands, bays and straits, it creates the means to connect the people around it. It looks as if it is a closed sea, but it offers the main transportation routes between east and west. The Mediterranean Sea is a symbol of creativity, of the search for the meaning of life and for wisdom, and of the love of people and nature. This sea has always been an environment that has bred outstanding people who have made remarkable contributions to the development of history in philosophy, art, music, literature, science and technology. Magnificent civilizations have scattered all around the Basin, from east to west, from north to south, from Mesopotamia to Egypt, from Anatolia, Troy to Macedonia, from the Greek city states to Phoenician civilization, from Carthage to Rome, from Baghdad to Al-Andalus, from Byzantium to the Ottoman Empire and from Alexandria to Bologna, and have formed a sound base for world civilizations. One cannot imagine a history of the world without the Egyptian, Hellenistic, Roman and Ottoman civilizations.

Assuming the mentioned origin of the identified haplogroups and a result of median joining network analysis, it may be claimed that the studied individuals represent genetic association with the Indian subcontinent. The fact that the studied individuals comprised both males and a female, each living in a different period and representing different haplotypes, suggests that the nature of their presence in Mesopotamia was rather long-lasting than incidental. The close ancestors of specimens TQ 28F 112 and TQ 28F 256 could fall within the population founding Terqa, the historical site constructed probably in the early Bronze Age [1], at time only slightly preceding the dating of the skeletons. All the studied remains could have been also left by descendants of much earlier migration waves spreading clades of macrohaplogroup M from the nearby subcontinent. It cannot be excluded that among them were people involved in the founding of the Mesopotamian civilizations. For instance, it is commonly accepted that the founders of Sumerian civilization came from the outside of the region, their exact origin is, however, still a matter of debate. It is suggested that migrants of Iranian, Indian [32], [33] or even Tibetan affinity [34] founded the Sumerian civilization, which suggestion can be supported by comparing the Tibeto-Burman and Sumerian languages [35]. The migrants could have entered Mesopotamia earlier than 45 centuries ago, during the lifetime of the oldest studied individual, as the Tibetan Plateau was peopled more than 20 Kyrs ago [21], [36]. However, one also should consider the possibility that studied individuals belonged to the groups of itinerant merchants moving along a trade route passing near or through the region, since a recent comparative study of strontium, oxygen, and carbon isotopes content in enamel indicates that people from Indus Valley were present in southern Mesopotamia 3 Kyrs BC [37]. We believe that the identification of mtDNA sequences itself should be acknowledged as significant, leaving its detailed interpretation for further research involving a larger number of specimens, representing other Mesopotamian regions and various periods.

Mesopotamia is thought to be one of the places where early civilization developed. It is a historic region of West Asia within the Tigris-Euphrates river system. In fact, the word Mesopotamia means "between rivers" in Greek. Home to the ancient civilizations of Sumer, Assyria, and Babylonia these peoples are credited with influencing mathematics and astronomy. Use these classroom resources to help your students develop a better understanding of the cradle of civilization. 041b061a72


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