A civilization (US) or civilisation (UK) is anycomplex society characterized by urban development, social stratification, symboliccommunication forms (typically, writing systems), and a perceived separation from and domination over the natural environmentby a cultural elite.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Civilizations are intimately associated with and often further defined by other socio-politico-economic characteristics, includingcentralization, the domestication of both humans and other organisms, specialization of labor, culturally ingrained ideologies of progress and supremacism, monumentalarchitecture, taxation, societal dependence upon farming as an agricultural practice, andexpansionism.[2][3][5][7][8]

Historically, a civilization was a so-called "advanced" culture in contrast to more supposedly primitive cultures.[1][3][5][9] In this broad sense, a civilization contrasts with non-centralized tribal societies, including the cultures of nomadic pastoralists or hunter-gatherers. As an uncountable noun,civilization also refers to the process of a society developing into a centralized, urbanized, stratified structure.

Civilizations are organized in densely populated settlements divided intohierarchical social classes with a ruling elite and subordinate urban and rural populations, which engage in intensive agriculture, mining, small-scale manufacture and trade. Civilization concentrates power, extending human control over the rest of nature, including over other human beings.[10]

The earliest emergence of civilizations is generally associated with the final stages of the Neolithic Revolution, culminating in the relatively rapid process of state formation, a political development associated with the appearance of a governing elite. This neolithic technology and lifestyle was established first in the Middle East (for example at Göbekli Tepe, from about 9,130 BCE), and later in theYangtze and Yellow river basins in China (for example the Pengtoushan culture from 7,500 BCE), and later spread. But similar "revolutions" also began independently from 7,000 BCE in such places as the Norte Chico civilization in Peru[11] and Mesoamerica at theBalsas River. These were among the six civilizations worldwide that arose independently.[12] Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC. It has been identified as having "inspired some of the most important developments in human history including the invention of the wheel, the planting of the first cereal crops and the development of cursive script, Mathematics,Astronomy and Agriculture."[13