Definitions

Civilization

Civilization is the unique ability of humans to pass down their experience in a common body of material, written and spoken communication, and thought allowing him (through development of speech / writing and the unusually long period of childhood) to build upon the experiences of his ancestors, not in terms of physical progress (of new types of fur or claws) but in terms of material equipment and to control his environment.

Culled from Gordon Childe’s Introductory lecture to the University Course in Prehistoric Archaeology for 1933-4, Edinburgh University. Published in Cambridge Ancient History, vol 1 (2nd ed., 1924), preface to 1st ed., page v.

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