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The Olmec people of Mesoamerica beginning about 1800 BCE began doing things that over a thousand years became the foundation of all of the North American “civilizations.” It is generally recognized as one of the six original independently created civilizations. There may have been a little transfer of information from drifting stuff lost at sea that found its way to any seashore. That does seem possible because there are strange resemblances between seemingly isolated cultures.

Wikipedia discusses … “Civilizations are intimately associated with and often further defined by other socio-politico-economic characteristics, including centralization, the domestication of both humans and other organisms, specialization of labour, culturally ingrained ideologies of progress and supremacismmonumental architecturetaxation, societal dependence upon farming and expansionism.

Of all of those qualities, the one that we can still see is monumental architecture. The other factors may well define civilization when it is active, but when looking at a civilization that is dead, because it has been overwhelmed by other forces, the mega structures generally survive. The extreme examples are the various large pyramids around the world, like Egypt, Mesoamerica, and a list of others.

Göbekli Tepe (37.223056, 38.922500) isn’t a pyramid but it preceded all of the pyramids by thousands of years. It demonstrates the cooperation of large groups of people moving huge stones to create this monument. There needed to be large, at least temporary communities to haul twenty ton stones into place. There were no machines, wheels, draft animals, only people, ropes, and probably stone tools.

Cities didn’t build mega monuments; people came together to build the monuments.