ETYM Cf. French civilisation.
(Alternate spelling: civilisation).
A society in an advanced state of development.
Highly developed human society with structured division of labor. The earliest civilizations evolved in the Old World from advanced Neolithic farming societies in the Middle East (Sumer in 3500 BC; Egypt in 3000 BC), the Indus Valley (in 2500 BC), and China (in 2200 BC). In the New World, similar communities evolved civilizations in Mesoamerica (the Olmec in 1200 BC) and Peru (the Chavin in 800 BC).
In anthropology, civilization is defined as an advanced sociopolitical stage of cultural evolution, whereby a centralized government (over a city, ceremonial center, or larger region called a state) is supported by the taxation of surplus production, and rules the agricultural and, often, mercantile base. Those who do not produce food become specialists who govern, lead religious ritual, impose and collect taxes, record the past and present, plan and have executed monumental public works (irrigation systems, roads, bridges, buildings, tombs), and elaborate and formalize the style and traditions of the society. These institutions are based on the use of leisure time to develop writing, mathematics, the sciences, engineering, architecture, philosophy, and the arts. Archeological remains of cities and ceremonial centers usually indicate the civilized state, with all the trappings of both style and content.