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Civilization

In order to determine whether or not a society can be considered a civilization, it is essential to have a clear definition of the word itself.Webster's dictionary defines a civilization as an advanced state of intellectual, cultural, and material development in human society, marked by progress in the arts and sciences, the extensive use of writing, and the appearance of complex political and social institutions. While this may seem to be an acceptable definition, in the world of archeology, it simply isn't elaborate enough.V.Gordon Childe, a famous archeologist, created ten conditions, which he felt needed to be fulfilled in order to consider a society a civilization.While each of Childe's ten conditions are all of importance, it is essentially incorrect to assume that a society is not a civilization simply because it does not fulfill all of the conditions.Two of the ten conditions which are well defined and clearly cut in Childe's work are the concepts of class stratification and monumental architecture.It is now essential to define these conditions and then apply them to real societies to prove that they are civilizations. (Childe, 1950: 7, 11)
Class stratification is a socially multi-layered structure within a society.At the top is a ruling class, which oversees the rest of the society.Below the ruling class are usually skilled artisans and warriors.At the bottom of the social structure are service people as who are responsible for all manual labor in the city. They may include low-level artisans, farmers, and slaves.(http://home.eol.ca/~smithda/classstructure.html, 1)
Monumental architecture refers to public buildings of many different forms of architecture, whether it be temples, tombs, roads or other works which took many man hours to produce (Erickson Lecture, 11/15/00).This represents the social surplus of a society or civilization.The large public works represent a social surplu…

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