The most important rule is that a culture must have all 7 requirements to become a civilization!!
1. Cities: A culture must have a city that holds and supports more than 5,000 people. Now this does not seem that spectacular, but you must remember that we are talking about people from all over the world more than 5,000 years ago. A population of 5,000 was believed that all types of problems a civilization would encounter would surface. These instances would be food distribution, laws, health, sanitation, living arrangements, etc.
2. Written language: A culture must have a written language, not just drawing and scratches. There are two types of written language, pictorial and symbolic. Currenlty, these notes are being written by a symbolic language. Pictorial language is mostly remembered as hieroglyphics. The Incas do not technically have a written language, but the way that they are the exception is that they have things called quipos. Quipos are colored ropes that are tied together. Special Incans were trained to be able to read these quipos and retell a story. Unfortunately we do not have a lot of this knowledge about the Incas because the Spanish basically killed them all in the 1500 and 1600's.
3. Religious Structure: When a culture buries someone and places objects in their grave, they are acknowledging a life after the one that just ended. Some of these religions are very complex like any religion we follow today, or dead religions from the Greeks and Egyptians. Other religions are very simple and believe in something and leave it at that. There are two major types of religions in the world today; monotheistic and polytheistic religions. Monotheistic religions believe in one supreme deity/God like Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. Polytheism believes there are more than two gods (usually many, many more) that control the world like Hinduism.
4. Political Structure: This requirement has two major sections, but the basic premise is the same. One a culture agrees to distribute power, responsibilty, and authority, it has met this requirement. The political structure is when certain people are put in charge of the others. It is formal and has some length of time. We see this as government. We call our leader the President, other coutries call them Kings or Lords. Governmental structure has multiple layers like we have today. We have courts, a congress, state courts, state houses, all the way down to local government. Military structure is when you have an organized system of attacking or defending your area. Again, there must be some type of chain of command.
5. Materialistic Value: Now, most people see this as bad, and most people believe that they are "down to earth" WRONG!! We are all materialistic. Materialism is anything that goes above basic survival. For world cultures, we are not talking about personal materialism, rather cultural materialism. When a culture makes buildings advances their standing, and makes things easier, it is materialistic.
6. Art and Intellect: When a culture wishes to express itself and make pleasant sights outside of communications, it is Examples of art and intellect are; poetry, music, plays, books, stories, dancing. Making jewlery, braclets, colored clothes, anything outside of survival
7. Economic Structure: This does not mean that a culture needs money to have an economic structure. If the culture puts value in somethings over others and then trades them, you have an economic structure. In the Americas, some rocks like jade were more important than gold. In some parts of Africa, salt is like diamonds. It all depends on what a culture deams valuable. Look at us today, we put value in paper