One example of a cultural hearth is the Nile River valley. Cultural hearths are so named because they were the sites of significant developments in agricultural techniques, tool development, religious belief and social structures, which spread outward with human migration.
The seven original cultural hearths are the Nile River valley, the Indus River valley, the Wei-Huang valley, the Ganges River valley, Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica and West Africa. Mesopotamia, for example, saw the invention of the wheel, writing and astronomy, and it is the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In its broadest sense, culture is a particular people's way of life, which includes the ability to understand symbols and to think imaginatively and creatively.