Since the dawn of the human race, humans have recognized the need to work together in order to ensure their survival. This mindset allowed for the development of hunter gatherer societies which eventually evolved into fixed communities. Eventually these small irrigation based communities grew into what would be recognized today as ancient cities. Although much time has passed since the development of these first cities, they still have many of the same characteristics found in modern day societies. However, the term City is vague and must be examined before comparing ancient societies. Gordon Childe developed a checklist to help distinguish cities from simple towns. Population density, labor specialization, state-level organization and class systems are examples of important characteristics shared amongst all true cities (Childe, 1950).
[...] Since there was the need for builders, artists, and farmers, it is easy to see why people of that time period would have been so eager to migrate. Moreover, the discovery of grain silos as mentioned earlier suggest that the government was offering food in exchange for labor, thus providing yet another attraction to immigrants. Also, after the city had become more established in terms of trade, irrigation, and government buildings, one can assume that it would appear that this city was one of opportunity, further increasing migration. [...]
[...] This is slightly different from modern cities in the sense that those in lower classes tend to live in more affordable areas, thus separating the rich from the poor. For example, in Cairo the cost of housing has become so expensive that some occupants have built shanty towns in cemeteries, known as the city of the dead (Wikipedia, Sept. 2006). When trying to prove a ruling elite existed in El-Amarna one needs to look no further than the grain silos located behind many of the homes. Since there was a specialization of labor not everyone could produce their own food. [...]
[...] Therefore when closely examined the ancient society of El-Amarna is a city which meets several of prerequisites required to be classified as a true city and has much in common with modern day Cairo in terms of societal structure and migration patterns. Moreover, El-Amarna has labor specialization, a class distinction, ruling elite, and cultural solidarity, thus meeting the primary criteria required. However, it may also be argued that El-Amarna is not a city, but the definition of a city is incredibly broad. [...]
[...] Some researchers believe that the site of the city was chosen since it was untainted by the worship of other gods (Akhetaten History, 2006). Furthermore, the cities two main temples were located near the king's palace as well as the central city suggesting that religion was a crucial and important part of the city's unification (Kemp, 1989: 271). Moreover this is reinforced by the fact that when Akhetaten and his religion died, the city vacated within a very small timeframe (Amarna Project, 2005) . [...]
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