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indicated by:
-cities that served as administrative centers
-political system based on control of defined territory rather than on kinship connections
-significant number of people engaged in specialized, non-food-producing activities
-status distinctions usually linked to the accumulation of substantial wealth by some groups
-monumental building
-system for keeping permanent records
-long-distance trade
-major advances in science/arts


learned patterns of action/expression; i.e.: skills/ideas deliberately passed along w/in societies involving production of artworks & tools over wide areas & long periods of time; includes material objects (dwellings, clothing, tools, crafts) & nonmaterial (beliefs, languages)


development, transmission, & transformation of cultural practices and events

Stone Age

from about 2 million ya to about 4,000 ya; began w/ appearance of stone tool making (1st cultural activity); misleading title b/c not all tools made of stone (bone, skin, wood)


Old Stone Age; subdivision of Stone Age; lasted until 10,000 ya (about 3,000 yrs after end of last Ice Age - when glaciers covered N. America, Europe, Asia)


New Stone Age; associated w/ origins of agriculture


hunting/food-gathering ppls; now in Kalahari Desert of southern Africa & Ituri Forest of Central Africa - eat vegetables daily & meat @ feasts (Stone Age probably did same but tools & equip for vegs left few traces)

Agricultural Revolution

more precise than "Neolithic Revolution" b/c emphasizes central role of food production & signals changeover occurred many times


since about 9000 B.C.E.; named for global warming that ended last Ice Age


"big stones," relate to religion


most important city in southern Mesopotamia in 2nd & 1st millennia B.C.E.


in southern Mesopotamia at least by 5000 B.C.E.; dominated Mesopotamia in 3rd millennium B.C.E.


family of languages spoken in parts of western Asia & northern Africa (Hebrew, Aramaic, Phoenician [ancient]; Arabic [today]); ppl maybe descendants of nomads from desert west of Mesopotamia, seemed to live in peace w/ Sumerians; language indicated by personal names recorded from northerly cities as early as 2900 B.C.E.


self-governing urban center & agricultural territories it controlled


administrator or scholar charged by temple or palace w/ reading & writing tasks; male domination complicated efforts to reconstruct lives of women - writings reflect elite male activities


multi-story, mud-brick, pyramid-shaped tower approached by ramps & stairs; unclear function/meaning


small charms meant to protect bearer from evil; survival suggests widespread belief in magic (use of special words & rituals to manipulate forces of nature)


combo of strokes & wedges that evolved from usual method of writing (pressing point of sharpened reed into moist clay tablet - reed made wedge-shaped impressions); Latin for "wedge-shaped"; several 100 signs compared to 25 or so in alphabetic system; mastery required yrs of practice; lack of simplification by scribes due to prestige & regular employment


New Kingdom term for Egyptian king, from Egyptian phrase meaning "palace"; from Old Kingdom on, considered god on earth, incarnation of Horus & son of sun-god Re (conception of divine king may explain absence in Egypt of impersonal code of law comparable to Hammurabi's Code in Mesopotamia)


divinely authorized order of universe; maintained by pharaoh


series of stone platforms laid one on top of the other at Saqqara, near Memphis; construction order by Djoser (3rd Dynasty king) around 2630 B.C.E.; 4th Dynasty rulers filled in steps of Djoser's tomb


near modern Cairo at apex of Nile Delta; capital (in area of original power base) during Old Kingdom


far to south, replaced Memphis during Middle & New Kingdom


made from stems of papyrus reed that grew in Nile marshes; made by laying out stems in vertical & horizontal grid pattern, moistening, & pounding w/ soft mallet until adhered into sheet; "paper" comes from Greek & Roman words for papyrus


produced by removing organs for preservation & storage in stone jars laid out around corpse & filling body w/ packing materials, immersing corpse in dehydrating & preserving chemicals, wrapping in linen

Harappa & Mohenjo-Daro

urban sites that best typify Indus Valley civilization; high water table at sites makes excavation of earliest levels of settlement impossible


3.5 mi (5.6 km) in circumference may have housed 35,000 & M.D. several times that; similarities: high, thick, encircling walls of brick; streets laid out in rectangular grid; covered drainpipes to carry away waste; consistent width of streets & length of city blocks & uniformity of mud construction bricks (suggests strong central authority located possibly in citadel [elevated, enclosed, containing buildings - well-ventilated structures nearby stored grain, barracks suggest large # of artisans in organized groups); 500 mi (805 km) north of M.D.; gateway for copper, tin, stones, & other resources coming from northwest

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