The term "cradle of civilization" refers to locations where, according to current archeological data, civilization is understood to have emerged.Current thinking is that there was no single "cradle", but several civilizations that developed independently, with the Fertile Crescent (Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt) understood to be the earliest.
Charles Rollin's Ancient History (1734) has "Egypt that served at first as the cradle of the holy nation".
The phrase "cradle of civilization" plays a certain role in national mysticism.
Gordon Childe defined the development of civilization as the result of two successive revolutions: the Neolithic Revolution, triggering the development of settled communities, and the Urban Revolution, which enhanced tendencies towards dense settlements, specialized occupational groups, social classes, exploitation of surpluses, monumental public buildings and writing.
Few of those conditions, however, are unchallenged by the records: dense settlements were not attested in Egypt's Old Kingdom and were absent in the Maya area; the Incas lacked writing altogether; and often monumental architecture preceded any indication of village settlement.
have attributed these settlements to migrants from the Fertile Crescent in the Near East returning during the Egyptian and North African Neolithic, bringing agriculture to the region.
Eridu is the oldest Sumerian site settled during this period, around 5300 BC, and the city of Ur also first dates to the end of this period.
The extent to which there was significant influence between the early civilizations of the Near East and those of East Asia is disputed.
Scholars accept that the civilizations of Mesoamerica, mainly in modern Mexico, and Norte Chico in present-day Peru emerged independently from those in Eurasia.
Scholars more generally now believe that civilizations arose independently at several locations in both hemispheres.