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Was The Egyptian site of El-Amarna a City?

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  1. Introduction
  2. General characteristic shared by cities
  3. A large and dense population
  4. Commonality between El-Amarna and Cairo
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works cited

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)[2]. 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. [...]

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