What was the first Civilization?

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
4,970
Canary Islands-Spain
#21
A) Since it has never been decoded, we don't know.

B) Can you source this? The oldest estimate for Vinca script goes back to 5300 BC. Can you source something comparable for the Middle East?
P.22 https://books.google.es/books?id=DN9oXYMLL0MC&printsec=frontcover&hl=es#v=onepage&q&f=false

Mesopotamian pre-writing started as early as 8000 BCE and slowly envolved into recognizable cuneiform by the 3,500 BC. Vinca "writing", in comparation, lagged behind 3,000 years

You can check this info anywhwere.
 
Jan 2016
570
United States, MO
#22
If the OP is asking which culture in the world came first, I am not sure we can ever find an answer. At what point do chimpanzees have culture? Very early human ancestors probably had some kind of social customs.

Do stone tools represent a culture? How about pottery? The oldest stone tools are over 3 million years old and were found in Kenya.




While the oldest pottery is 20,000 years old and was excavated in China.

 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#24
If the OP is asking which culture in the world came first, I am not sure we can ever find an answer. At what point do chimpanzees have culture? Very early human ancestors probably had some kind of social customs.

Do stone tools represent a culture? How about pottery? The oldest stone tools are over 3 million years old and were found in Kenya.




While the oldest pottery is 20,000 years old and was excavated in China.


Civilization has to include "cities", Every human society has culture. The oldest musical instrument in the world was found in Germany

Researchers have identified what they say are the oldest-known musical instruments in the world.

The flutes, made from bird bone and mammoth ivory, come from a cave in southern Germany which contains early evidence for the occupation of Europe by modern humans - Homo sapiens.

Scientists used carbon dating to show that the flutes were between 42,000 and 43,000 years old. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-18196349
But civilization implies more than just culture.

Although modern in their usage, the two words are derived from ancient Latin. The word civilization is based on the Latin civis, "inhabitant of a city." Thus civilization, in its most essential meaning, is the ability of people to live together harmoniously in cities, in social groupings http://history-world.org/civilization.htm


Note, to live in a city implies a certain level of development:

a. Agriculture is probably a necessity, to support the concentration and number of people that live in a city.

b. A certain level of complex social organization/government is required to support the large number of people living in a city.

c. Labor specialization is required to support the large number of people living in a city,


As to what separates a city from a mere village is largely size - once you reach certain number of people living in a geographically confined space, you pretty much have to have the labor specialization, and social organization to manage it. I would say several thousand individuals minimum is needed.

Common population definitions for a city range between 1,500 and 50,000 people, with most U.S. states using a minimum between 1,500 and 5000 inhabitants https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City
It was in Mesopotamia that all the requirements for a city are first met, and you have the first civilization.


 
Jan 2016
570
United States, MO
#25
Thanks for your post, and I agree with what you say, there is a vast difference between "culture" and "civilization" and I should have explained in my post that I really meant oldest culture. Even today in Australia, many Aboriginals do not live in what most of us would called a civilized manner. But they're the last of the Stone Age people, and for them to progress from the Stone Age 200 odd years ago to the 21st Century today is still problematic
I understand that there is a huge difference between civilization and culture. My above remarks were simply responding to this quote from the creator of this thread. My claim was simply that I don’t think its possible to discover what the oldest culture was. But it is possible to discover what the oldest civilization was. I would probably go with the Near East as holding the oldest civilizations.
 
Mar 2012
2,337
#26
P.22 https://books.google.es/books?id=DN9oXYMLL0MC&printsec=frontcover&hl=es#v=onepage&q&f=false

Mesopotamian pre-writing started as early as 8000 BCE and slowly envolved into recognizable cuneiform by the 3,500 BC. Vinca "writing", in comparation, lagged behind 3,000 years

You can check this info anywhwere.
8th millenium BC is also when the Vinca script was used, so they would be about co-equal by your source.

The source that you posted says that the symbols before the 4th century are single items accounting tokens. This was usually the case with the Vinca scripts, but more complex strings of symbols are known.
 
Nov 2016
76
Užice, Serbia
#27
8th millenium BC is also when the Vinca script was used, so they would be about co-equal by your source.

The source that you posted says that the symbols before the 4th century are single items accounting tokens. This was usually the case with the Vinca scripts, but more complex strings of symbols are known.
The first proto-writing from the Balkan paleolithic cultures comes from Lepenski Vir, about 9600BC.

 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,516
Dispargum
#29
Originally Posted by Lucius

"I had always understood "civilization" to mean a culture with writing.

Then they can speak for themselves across the millennia."


So you wouldn't regard the Inca as having a civilization?
That's an interesting exception. Writing allows for written law which is important for maintaining order in a city. Writing also allows for records of who owns what. If the Inca were like other Native American peoples, they may have owned property communally so written records were less necessary. A society can get along with oral law for a little while before the law gets so complex that it needs to be written down.

If the Incas were illiterate, (and there's some debate about whether or not they had a proto record keeping system or not) I consider them an excepton rather than the rule.
 
Aug 2012
802
Washington State, USA.
#30
I thought that of late archaeologists were leaning towards the Huang Ho civilization being the oldest. I seem to recall an old BBC article about very, very old writing in China.
Aha, here's the article:
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Chinese writing '8,000 years old'

Mesopotamian pre-writing started as early as 8000 BCE and slowly envolved into recognizable cuneiform by the 3,500 BC. Vinca "writing", in comparation, lagged behind 3,000 years
Ooops, this wrecks my China idea.
 
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