Pre-history Africa & the Badarian Culture
Evidence of the Badarians into Pre-historic Egypt (4500-3800 BC)
The founder of pre-dynastic Nile Valley archaeology was William Finders Petrie (1853-1942), whose excavations at Nagada and Ballas in Upper Egypt nearly 100 years ago unearth nearly 1200 pre-dynastic graves. Other archaeologists such as Quibbell, Brunton, and Caton-Thompson have only refined and extended his research. It was Petrie who established the basic principles of pre-dynastic archaeology, and worked out a dating method that is still used today. He is famous as “The Father of Egyptian Pre-history.” It was Petrie’s conviction that there was “a peaceful”, if not a united, rule all over Egypt and Nubia [Sudan], during the entire pre-dynastic period. (Petrie, The Making of Egypt, 1939). No older cultures were unearth until the excavations of Brunton and Caton-Thompson in 1928 at al-Badari. Skull studies of the Badarians identifies them as southern in origin. The existence of a still earlier culture called the Tasian (Deir Tasa) has been claimed. If the Tasian must be considered as a separate cultural entity then it might represent a nomadic culture with a Sudanese background and which interacted with the Badarian Culture.
Africa’s Early History
100,000 B.C. Recent discoveries of incised ocher date back almost as far as 100,000 B.C., making Africa home to the oldest images in the world. The most remarkable early evidence of symbolic activity in Africa comes in the form of the recent find of engraved ocher plaques, such as this one, from Blombos Cave on the southern coast of Africa. This is an unequivocally symbolic object, even if we cannot directly discern the significance of the geometric design that the plaque bears; and it is dated to around 70,000 years ago, over 30,000 years before anything equivalent is found in Europe. To evidence such as this can be added suggestions of a symbolic organization of space at the site of Klasies River Mouth, also near the southern tip of Africa, at over 100,000 years ago.
35,000-30,000 B.C. “Oldest human skeleton found in Egypt“. Nazlet Khater man was the earliest modern human skeleton found near Luxor, in 1980. The remains was dated from between 35,000 and 30,000 years ago. The report regarding the racial affinity of this skeleton concludes: “Strong alveolar prognathism combined with fossa praenasalis in an African skull is suggestive of Negroid morphology [form & structure]. The radio-humeral index of Nazlet Khater is practically the same as the mean of Taforalt (76.6). According to Ferembach (1965) this value is near to the Negroid average.” The burial was of a young man of 17-20 years old, whose skeleton lay in a 160cm- long narrow ditch aligned from east to west. A flint tool, which was laid carefully on the bottom of the grave, dates the burial as contemporaneous with a nearby flint quarry.
Thoma A., Morphology and affinities of the Nazlet Khater man, Journal of Human Evolution, vol 13, 1984.
27,000 B.C. The earliest southern African rock art dates to 27,000 B.C. Over 40,000 paintings exist in 500 rock shelters. The original people who inhabited most of southern Africa were the Xhoisan or ‘San People’. They were hunter-gatherers who occupied the area from Zimbabwe to Cape Town including the desert (Kalahari) of southwest Africa. The San People were adept at engraving and painting on rock surfaces. They represented themselves with bows, arrows, and digging sticks using yellow, red, and brown colors. San rock paintings always had spiritual significance. The San or Bushman rock paintings and rock engravings of southern Africa were part of a remarkable religious tradition. The art was not simply decorative or a record of daily life. Its purpose was a deeper one. The trance dance was the central religious ritual of the San. Shamans, or medicine people, used supernatural power obtained during trance states to make rain, heal the sick and maintain social harmony. Many rock paintings and engravings are depictions of visions experienced while in trance. Others depict ritual occasions or the animals whose power the shamans hoped to use. In addition to red ocher and other substances, some images of the eland, Africa’s largest antelope, were made with its blood, thought to contain the animal’s supernatural potency. Archaeologists have traced the ancestors of the San back more than 50,000 years. For these ancient hunters and foragers, the spirit world was never far from daily life, and nowhere was it closer than at the tens of thousands of rock-art sites scattered across Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Lesotho. There, on the walls of the rock-shelters where they lived, they depicted antelopes, rhinos, elephants, and other animals; people hunting and performing rituals; mythical creatures, half animal and half human.
A summary of rock art databases in Southern African countries indicates that there are at least 14,000 sites on record, but that many more exist than have been formally recorded (Deacon 1997). There are probably well in excess of 50,000 sites in the region as a whole, with a conservative estimate of more than two million individual images. The paintings of people in Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania have dramatic hairstyles that are not seen so often in the art further south. In contrast, there are many more paintings in the south of people wearing cloaks, some of which are elaborately decorated.
8000 B.C., Early Khartoum. Hunting, gathering of wild plants, fishing, pottery (the earliest pottery in Sudan), grindstones, worked flint, ceramics, and ostrich eggshell beads. Early attempts at farming, or at least, the periodic harvesting of wild cereals by semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers, as evidenced by ‘sickle-sheen’ on their tools. We even see how the earliest inhabitants lived on an environment which was intimately bound to moist and arid phases in the climate of the region. Khartoum lies in the center of the Sudan at the junction of where the White Nile and the Blue Nile meet to form the great Nile River. This junction forms a superb and unique sight, with both the White and Blue Niles flowing side by side, each with its own color. The Nile River is possibly the most famous river in history. It was by its banks that one of the oldest civilizations in the world began.
8000 B.C. Nigeria. “Africa’s oldest known boat” the Dufuna Canoe was discovered near the region of the River Yobe in Nigeria. The Canoe was discovered by a Fulani herdsman in May 1987, in Dufuna Village while digging a well. The canoe’s “almost black wood”, said to be African mahogany, as “entirely an organic material”. Various Radio-Carbon tests conducted in laboratories of reputable Universities in Europe and America indicate that the Canoe is over 8000 years old, thus making it the oldest in Africa and 3rd oldest in the World. Little is known of the period to which the boat belongs, in archaeological terms it is described as an early phase of the Later Stone Age, which began rather more than 12,000 years ago and ended with the appearance of pottery. The lab results redefined the pre-history of African water transport, ranking the Dufuna canoe as the world’s third oldest known dugout. Older than it are the dugouts from Pesse, Netherlands, and Noyen-sur-Seine, France. But evidence of an 8000-year-old tradition of boat building in Africa throws cold water on the assumption that maritime transport developed much later there in comparison with Europe.
Peter Breunig of the University of Frankfurt, Germany, an archaeologist involved in the project, says the canoe’s age “forces a reconsideration of Africa’s role in the history of water transport”. It shows, he adds, “that the cultural history of Africa was not determined by Near Eastern and European influences but took its own, in many cases parallel, course”. Breunig, adding that it even outranks in style European finds of similar age. According to him, “The bow and stern are both carefully worked to points, giving the boat a notably more elegant form”, compared to “the dugout made of conifer wood from Pesse in the Netherlands, whose blunt ends and thick sides seem crude”. To go by its stylistic sophistication, he reasons, “It is highly probable that the Dufuna boat does not represent the beginning of a tradition, but had already undergone a long development, and that the origins of water transport in Africa lie even further back in time.”
The “oldest known boat” found in Egypt is dated 5000 years old, located in the desert sands of Abydos, Egypt. See also Archaeological research in Northeastern Nigeria.
7000 B.C. South Nubia (Sudan). Hunting, gathering, fishing, pottery, worked copper, beautiful ceramics and fine sculpture. Around 6000 years ago central Saharan ideas arrived in the Nile valley, adding mummification and other rituals to the potent mix which was to become the Egyptian civilization. The Black Mummy. In around 5000 B.C. there was a change in climate and the region became increasingly dryer. The population trekked out of the Sahara region towards the Nile valley below the second Cataract where they made permanent or semi-permanent settlements. Animals were domesticated for the first time and hunting grew less important. Goats, sheep and cattle are descended from the wild creatures that used to populate the regions lying close to the Nile valley. People also started farming. Thus, Nubia, Egypt’s southern neighbor with its own civilization, preceded ancient Egyptian (Kemet) civilization. It has already established that this area was the birthplace of iron industry.
The number of pyramids in Nubia (aka Kush) were a total of 223, double the pyramids of its neighbor Egypt. Research suggests that a line of kings lived in Qustul in northern Nubia as early as, or perhaps even earlier than, the first pharaohs of Egypt. The people of these early cultures buried their dead in stone-lined pit graves, accompanied by pottery and cosmetic articles. At this time, Nubia was known to the Egyptians as “Ta Seti,” the “Land of the Bow,” because of the fame of Nubian archers. The skill of Nubian archers forestalled the conversion of Nubia to Islam until A.D. 1400.
3800-3100 B.C. Qustul: The oldest tombs of a pharaonic type are found in Nubia (Kingdom of Qustul), and these thirty-three A-Group tombs appear in Nubia before the dynastic period. Cemetery L at Qustul, which is a small cemetery containing unusually large and wealthy tombs of A-Group. It was in one of these graves, “L-24” coded by the excavators, that the mysterious incense burner came to light. An incense burner with figures and pictographs gouged deep into the clay. This censer had been found, not in Egypt, but nearly 200 miles deep in Nubia. The inscription showed three ships sailing in procession. The three ships were sailing toward the royal palace. One of the ships carried a lion – perhaps a deity. The central boat carries the king, sitting and equipped with long robe, flail and White Crown. All motifs that would later become symbols of Pharaonic rule in Egypt. This piece had been made no later than 3400 B.C. At that early date, there were not supposed to have been any such things as pharaohs or pharaohs’ palaces. The discovery of the Qustul Incense Burner is considered one of the earliest certifiable uses of incense by a culture. This Qustul burner also rose a debate regarding the Nubian origin of Egyptian civilization. Upon the Incense Burner is a relief of a royal procession considered by many archeologists as evidence of the worlds first monarchy. This debate maintains that Nubian culture often referred to as Ta-seti, developed as early as 7000 B.C. forming the source for Egyptian Pharonic culture, as well as its religious system. However, Egyptologists all agree that the bounty of the lush Nile Valley was instrumental to the luxuriant flowering of Ancient Egypt. The Sahara was not always a desolate wasteland. Some 10,000 years ago, the Sahara received considerably more rain than it does today, permitting a savanna-like vegetation of open grasslands peppered with shrubs and trees, much like the East African plains of today.
The tombs, badly plundered and fire damaged, contained pharaonic images on A-Group objects, indicating that they belonged to rulers from the period before Egypt’s First Dynasty. The residents of Qustul buried their dead in stone-lined graves, usually in a contracted position facing west. Within the graves were a considerable selection of goods: pottery; jewelry made from shells, bone, ivory, stone or faience; feathers and leather caps, and linen or leather kilts for clothing; palettes for grinding eye shadow; baskets containing food; and clay figurines of people and animals. One grave contained copper axes, a lion’s head of rose quartz inlaid with glaze, a mica mirror, and two maces with gilded handles; still others contained beer and wine jars. “The elaborate A-Group painted pottery, tombs, small objects, epigraphy shows the special importance of Cemetery L in early Nubia with its possible role in the development of pharaonic Egypt.” (Williams (1986)) Structural remains of houses have been found only occasionally, most notably stone foundations and Afia, near Korosko. The leaders of the A-Group communities probably played an important intermediary role among the fast-developing Egyptian economy, the communities in Upper Nubia and those in surrounding regions, furnishing raw materials of various kinds, including ivory, hardwoods, precious stones, and gold, perhaps also cattle. The Early A-Group was contemporary with the latter part of Egypt’s Amratian, culture and early Gerzian. The richest cemetery was located at Khor Bahan. This phase was also coexistent with a Sudanese Neolithic culture called the Abkan, which dominated the region at the Second Cataract in Batn el-Hagar. The true relationship between the Egyptian Predynastic culture and the Early A-Group is not yet fully understood.
“The most affluent area was located in the southernmost part of Lower Nubia, displaying an impressive number of rich cemeteries with a strong social presence of women in both the village cemeteries and in many of the elite cemeteries. An advanced chiefdom that controlled at least the southern part of Lower Nubia may have been formed during the A-Group, perhaps the result of a consolidation process parallel to that of Egypt. The center was at Qustul near the present Sudanese-Egyptian border, where the Chicago Oriental Institute has excavated an elite cemetery with funerary offerings of outstanding quality. The A-Group society was so similar to that in pre-dynastic Upper Egypt that there was a kind of equilibrium between them. These Nubian people were not living in the shade of the pre-dynastic Egyptians, nor were they subservient to them in a colonial way. They had no need to leave their home in order to find food or employment in the big city. Given the growing desire for exotic goods like the obsidian from the temple, A-Group Nubians likely came to Egypt for transactions!”
Hunting for the Elusive A Group, by Archaeology Magazine
Note: Unfortunately, the likelihood of further archaeological study at Qustul, or any other site in Nubia, is all but impossible became many of the primary areas of investigation now lie under 250 feet of water, at the bottom of Lake Nasser. This man-made lake covers an area of approximately 500 square miles, and it is the second largest man-made lake in the world. Over 150,000 Nubians and Sudanese were forced to relocate off the land their ancestors had called home for over 5,000 years. Over 45 Nubian villages were washed away along the banks of the Nile south of Aswan. They were resettled in and around the city of Aswan and in villages further north. Twenty-three Nubian monuments were saved from the rising waters There is no way to estimate the total number of temples and tombs which now lie at the bottom of Lake Nasser, nor is there any way of knowing the many secrets these structures currently hold. Because of the creation of the Aswan High Dam, the world will never have an opportunity to study the full impact Africans from the southern Nile Valley had on the development of ancient Egypt and subsequent civilizations.
Around 2200 B.C., the C-Group emerged between the first and second cataracts. The C-Group was similar to the A-Group. The most powerful Nubian kingdom after 2000 B.C. was what the Egyptian called the Kingdom of Kush.
Eventually the old cultures of Nubia and Egypt changed radically due to the immigration of foreigners into the Nile Valley. Egypt was overpowered by Rome in 332 B.C. Axum Kingdom (modern Ethiopia) attacked Nubia, destroyed Meroe, Kushites fled west toward Lake Chad, West Africa, in 350 A.D. Aksumite people were product of cultural and genetic mixing of Kushite and Semitics from Yemen in south Arabia.
6000 B.C. Tassili-n-Ajjerm. The people of the Sahara apparently influenced the cultures of both the Nile valley and of West Africa, and one suspects the use of masks is one such link. Pastoralism, in the form of domesticated sheep and goats, spread from the Sahara. The domestication of the local wild Bos africanus cattle probably also originated in the Sahara, in the fourth millennium. Tassili-n-Ajjerm has one of the most important groupings of pre-historic cave art in the world. More than 15,000 drawings and engravings record the climatic changes, the animal migrations and the evolution of human life on the edge of the Sahara. The Sub-Saharan dried up about four thousand years ago.
4500 B.C. Badari. It was in 1923 that Egypt’s indigenous Badarian culture was discovered by archaeologists Brunton, and Caton-Thompson. About 600 tombs are excavated and recorded. The Badarian culture (named after al-Badari); is the earliest known “civilized Egyptian civilization” based on farming, hunting and mining. They lived at about 4500 B.C. and may have even been as far back as 5500 B.C. These farmers grew barley, wheat, flax and wove linen fabrics in addition to tending flocks. Calibrated radiocarbon dates of two charcoal samples from a Badarian site suggest that it was the first farming culture in Upper Egypt. We do not know what kind of house or shelter the Badarian made for himself.
Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (1999).
The dead were buried with their finest possessions, personal possessions and clothing for use in the next world. Badarians produced fine pottery and carved objects as well as acquiring turquoise and wood through trading. Green malachite ore, so important for the beautification of the eyes, was ground on cosmetic palettes. They were found together with grinding pebbles which were used to grind the ore into powder to be used as green eye-paint. Malachite ore is mined in the Eastern Desert and in Sinai. The Eastern Desert is the long strip of land between the Nile Valley and the Red Sea. The castor plant, which grew wild, supplied them with oil to lubricate their skins, or to fill their lamps. Grain was stored in clay bins; made into bread, apparent remains of which are found in graves. Porridge no doubt was a common form of food, and was ladled out of the pots with large dippers or spoons, which could be carried hung from the belt.
The Badarians practice agriculture and domesticated sheep and goats. Egyptologist have found in Badarian and other pre-dynastic cultures of Upper Egypt some materials and ideological evidence of southern or Sudanic African elements. The publication Current Anthropology, April, 1965 noted that “the Badarians pottery is connected with the pottery of the Khartoum (Sudan) neolithic culture.” The Khartoum Neolithic and Badarian share the characteristics of shell fishhooks, black top and ripple pottery, and flat-topped axes. Anthony J. Arkell, The Prehistory of the Nile Valley (1975) also states that Badari pottery may have a Khartoum “mesolithic” origin.
The Badarians gave their dogs, cattle, sheep, jackals, and cows ceremonial burial. This burial of animals were also found during the archaeological survey of Nubia ; but these are all B-Group or later still in date. Amulets with animal heads, like gazelle and hippopotami, were found with the human skeletal remains. Of the every-day religion of the Badarians we know very little. That they had a belief in the efficacy of amulets we know from the animals’ heads found on the bodies; the gazelle and the hippopotamus had attributes which it was desired to acquire by magical means, or they were objects of veneration and could afford the wearer protection.
In most of these communities the graves of the deceased where situated away from the living areas, the cultivated land, even at this early date, the decision to bury the dead in the desert had already been made. Another foreshadowing of the Naqada culture was the orientation of the human burials, with the body facing south and the face, west in a fetal position, and wrapped in basketry skins, or linen. The fetal position evokes the idea of rebirth. The southward orientation of the body is in reference that the south is “the land of beginnings.” The south is also “the land of the spirits,” where the souls of ancestors dwell. The face pointing west reflects the belief of “the hidden land,” where the soul of the departed journeys after it quits the body. The elaborate funerary practice of dynastic times seems to have evolved from pre-dynastic times. This is important as it shows, even at this early period, that there was the belief that the West was the land of the dead. A style of burial which continued in the succeeding Naqada culture. That there was belief in survival after death is obvious from the food-offerings placed in the graves. The deceased were wrapped in their everyday clothes and laid down as if sleeping, covered by what may have been a replica of their home; and with them were placed their toilet objects and implements of craft. For some reason, it was considered desirable that they should look toward the setting sun. The grave goods that are found within these early graves show that there was some kind of universal belief in the existence of life after death. Objects and artifacts were buried with the dead for use in the next life. These artifacts included: personal adornments such as jewellery, make-up, and materials like lapis lazuli.
(Brunton, Caton-Thompson, The Badarian Civilization and Predynastic Remains Near Badari, 1928; Petrie, Prehistoric Egypt. London, 1920.)
Who Were The Badarians?
The Badarian structure is said to have affinity to the black race . . . Max Toth, Pyramid Prophecies, Destiny Books, (1988): “The oldest ivory figurines found in ancient Egypt were sculpted by the Badari, a Negroid race of the Egyptians”.
Dr. Eugen Strouhal Physical Anthropologist was able to take samples of seven of the racially mixed Badarian individuals which were macroscopically curly [spirals of 10-20mm in diameter] or wavy in [25-35 mm]. They were studied microscopically by S. Tittlebacchova from the Institute of Anthropology of the Charles University, who found in five out of seven samples a change in the thickness of the hair in the course of its length, sometimes with simultaneous narrowing of the hair pitch. Strouhal summarized: “The outline of the cross-sections of the hairs was flattened, with indices ranging from 35 to 65. These peculiarities also show the Negroid inference among the Badarians (pre-dynastic Egyptians).” (Journal of African History, 1971). Thus, this is incompatible with the theories that the Negro element only infiltrated into Egypt at a late stage. Also see otherreferences.
The pottery from the Badarian graves is very eloquent, with their reddish-brown bodies and black-tipped rims. The combed features are those of geometric patterns, whose ideological significance is as yet undetermined. Some vases were made from basalt, while ivory was used for small bowls, ladles, and female figurines. The red wares were made without a potter’s wheel like all pre-dynastic pottery. After giving them their form, which was sometimes unconventional, they were dried in the sun, sometimes covered with red ochre, and burnished with a stone. Thus a smooth shiny surface was achieved, which showed off better the native reddish color of the clay. They were fired either in open fires or very simple kilns. The black decorative upper rim and inside of the black-topped pottery possibly stem from smoldering chaff or other organic materials the pots were placed in upside down before or after firing. Ancient Nubian pottery was similar in style and color.
The British Museum (Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan) is the foremost center for the study of prehistoric Nile Valley ceramics. According to the museum: (1) the oldest in Africa, that reveals the spectrum of manufacturing techniques from the Western Desert, the Oasis, Lower Nubia and the Dongola Reach; (2) the oldest Neolithic Red Polished Black Topped Wares from the Nile Basin, a type common to the Nubian cultures, as well as, the Badarian culture from Upper Egypt; (3) the Rippled Wares, which resemble those from the Late Nubian Neolithic and Badarian periods. The later examples clearly indicate the extensive relationship between Nubia and Egypt in prehistory, and the assimilation of the African component into the Pharaonic culture. (The Wendorf Pottery Collection at the British Museum).
Badarian Pottery, 4500 B.C.
Dynasty 0, Francesco Raffaele, AH 17, 2003
Daily Life of the Nubians, Robert Steven Bianchi, Greenwood Press, 2004
Coulson, D, & Campbell, A 2001 African rock art. New York: Abrams
African Rock Art (published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2001)
Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, Kathryn A. Bard, Steven Blake Shubert, Routledge; Illustrate edition, 1999
Deacon, J 1997 A regional management strategy for rock art in Southern Africa. Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 2: 29-32
P. Breunig, The 8000-year-old dugout canoe from Dufuna (NE Nigeria), G. Pwiti and R. Soper (eds.), Aspects of African Archaeology. Papers from the 10th Congress of the PanAfrican Association for Prehistory and related Studies. University of Zimbabwe Publications (Harare 1996) 461-468
African Peoples’ Contributions to World Civilizations: Shattering the Myth (African Peoples’ Contributions to World Civilizations)
by Paul L. Hamilton, R. A. Renaissance Publications; 2nd edition (July 1, 1995)
Early Khartoum “Mesolithic” Settlements in the Geili-Kabbashi Area, Sudan, Journal of Field Archaeology 20, (1993), pp. 519-522
Hassan, F.A. The Predynastic of Egypt, Journal of World Prehistory, Vol. 2 (1988), pp. 135-185
Excavations Between Abu Simbel and the Sudan Frontier, Part 1: The A-Group Royal Cemetery at Qustul, Cemetery L.,
Bruce B. Williams, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, 1986
Eugen Strouhal. Evidence of the Early Penetration of Negroes into Prehistoric Egypt, Journal of African History, 1971
Arkell, A. J. and Peter J. Ucko. Review of Predynastic Development in the Nile Valley. Current Anthropology April, 1965
Vol. 6(2), pp. 145-166
Petrie, W.M. Flinders. The Making of Egypt, London. New York, Sheldon Press; Macmillan, 1939
Petrie, W.M. Flinders. Prehistoric Egypt. London, 1920
Morant, G. M. The Predynastic Egyptian Skulls from Badari and Their Racial Affinities. In Mostagedda and the Tasian Culture, edited by G. Brunton, pp. 63-66. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1937
Guy Brunton and Gertrude Caton-Thompson. The Badarian Civilization and Predynastic Remains Near Badari; London British School of Archaeology in Egypt University College, 1928
Nubian Pottery, 1700-1550 B.C.
Badarians carved objects as well as acquiring turquoise and wood through trading. Glass, ivory, crystal, and copper was found at some burial sites. Objects found at the Badari excavation sites: beads, bone needles, copper pins, clay model boats, combs, mirrors, bracelets, ivory finger-rings, nose and ear studs, shells amulet-pendants, woven linen clothing, skins, ivory spoons, cooking pots, basket works, and arrow-heads. Badarian civilization is an earlier phase of the Amratian-Pre-dynastic. The close typological relationship between the two is evident. Racially they are one. The use of matting, which is almost universal in Badarian graves, is also common in Early Pre-dynastic times, but gradually dies out after that. Judging from the remains that we have of the Badarians, they seem to have been a very peaceful people. There is a considerable proportion of long-lived individuals among the burials; there are no examples of broken bones or injuries; and we find no warlike weapons such as the disk-mace which is characteristic of the Early Pre-dynastics.The Badarian culture appears to have developed, or rather degenerated further, in Nubia, where it was much less affected by foreign influences. Many of the Early Pre-dynastic parallels to Badarian objects, especially flints, bone awls, and the like, are found in Nubia. The rippled surfaces to the pottery vases in a modified form continued on there till much later periods. Most striking of all are the pottery forms; the bowl, which is by far the commonest Badarian shape, is also very usual in Nubia, where it persisted for many centuries. We need, I think, be in no two minds about the essentially pre-dynastic character of the Badarian civilization. The only other culture so far found in Egypt which is comparable with it is that of the “Pan-grave” people.
Brunton, Caton-Thompson, The Badarian Civilization and Predynastic Remains Near Badari, 1928.
Trade and Unification of the Two Lands
The problem in most books — it regards the unification of the Two Lands as the start of Egyptian history. Of course it is not — by then they had developed glass, silver, bronze in limited amounts, shells, all of these show us: (1) that they had traded regularly and deliberately for some time; (2) that they knew exactly where to go, how to get there, and what they would find when they got there; (3) they had developed (or learned of) new technologies from their overseas contacts.
“Badarian trade we have ample evidence. It is a matter of dispute from what neighboring lands certain materials and objects come; but it is quite certain that they were not found or manufactured locally. The basalt vases were probably traded up the river from the Delta region or from the northwest. Elephant ivory may have been local, but was more likely imported from the South. Shells came in quantities from the Red Sea shores. Turquoise possibly came from Sinai; copper from the North. A Syrian connection is suggested for the four-handled pot of hard pink ware. The black pottery, with white incised designs, may have come directly from the West, or indirectly from the South. The porphyry slabs are like the later ones in Nubia, but the material could have come from the Red Sea mountains. The glazed steatite beads, found in such profusion, can hardly have been made locally. We see, then, that the Badarians were not an isolated tribe, but were in contact with the cultures of countries on all sides of them. Nor were they nomads; their pots, some of them both large and fragile, were absolutely unsuitable for the use of wanderers. Trade connections need not necessarily affect race, but the variation in the physical features of these people, such as the stature, hair, and facial outline, imply that they were affected to some degree by actual racial admixture”.
Brunton, Caton-Thompson, The Badarian Civilization and Predynastic Remains Near Badari, 1928, pp. 41-42.
“Towards an Understanding of Egyptian History: Reading older histories of Egypt can today be somewhat misleading. There have been breakthroughs in our knowledge of ancient Egypt, which have only recently been published to a widespread audience. For example, historically, and mostly due I believe to Palettes such as that of Narmer, it appeared to most readers that the unification of Egypt was attributed to a monumental war between the Upper and Lower Egypt. But recent findings indicate that civilization in Upper (southern) Egypt developed sooner then Lower Egypt, and possibly spread north. There are now theories, that while military conflict certainly played a part in the unification, it might not have been a single war or battle that bought the two lands together.” [See Gebel el-Arak Knife, shows combats of black men overcoming red men. (Petrie, 1939)]. “Reading older histories (even a few decades) of Egypt and newer versions can certainly cause layman considerable consternation. Breakthroughs in Egyptology are likely to even accelerate. New imaging tools and methods of exploration, along with the general use of computers and sophisticated databases will likely increase our knowledge of ancient Egypt dramatically in the coming years. And while the Internet is a viable tool for the dissemination of the knowledge, unfortunately it is so often also a media of crackpots and simply the uninformed. So it is very important that readers beware, and use a good amount of intelligent judgment on what information can be trusted, and what cannot be.”
(Tour Egypt, Jimmy Dunn) [emphasis added]
Badarian (4500 BC), female ivory figurine excavated from the al-Badari burial site.
From the British Museum, London
A hunter with Negroid features, about 5.5 feet in height, holds an arrow in his right hand and a heavy bow in the left in Tassili n’ Agger, Algeria, 6000 B.C.
Professor William M. Finders Petrie
From The Making of Egypt, (1939).
Scorpion king of the Anu [Aunu] culture.
“A breath of life came from the Sudan. This southern source was likewise the inspiration of . . .” the 1st, 2nd (Anu),
3rd [Sudanese], 4th, 5th, 12th [Sudanese] dynasties. “The 12th dynasty was undoubtedly descended from Amenemhat, the great vizier of the 11th dynasty. It seems, then, that he married the heiress of the Uah-ka family, as stated in the pseudo-prophecy, “A king shall come from the south whose name is Ameny, son a Nubian woman.” She called her son by the family name Senusert, and he was the founder of the 12th dynasty, according to Manetho. The main sources of the 18th dynasty were Nubian and Libyan, depicted black and yellow, but not red of the Egyptians. Ahmos Nefertari was one of their black queens. Her black strain seems to come through the Tao I
and II ancestry. The 19th dynasty was a direct mixture of races.” Petrie states: “Decay continued in a divided kingdom; Egypt seemed hopeless until a fresh Ethiopian invasion stimulated it, as in earlier instances”. This was the beginning of the 25th dynasty.
King Menes [close up] from Narmer’s tablet discovered by James Quibell in Hierakonpolis in 1897.
King Menes (Narmer)
Also see Narmer Pallette
The Making of Egypt by William Matthew Flinders, Petrie London, 1939, p. 74
This type of figure is a fine example of one of the earliest known sculptures from Egypt. It is made from one of the lower canines of a hippopotamus found in Egypt at the time. From at least the Badarian period onwards, figurines of women made of clay, wood, ivory or stone, were included among funerary equipment. Such female figurines within the burial site was to reinforce or symbolize the sexual aspects of regeneration and rebirth.
Nubian A-Group (3800-3100 B.C.)
Vessel decorated with a rowing boat with multiple oars, ostriches and undulating lines symbolizing water.
Nubia Museum, Aswan, Egypt
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Dufuna Canoe, 8000 years old
Excavated near River Yobe, Nigeria
Eggshell thin, handmade polished ware of Nubian A-Group, with black interior and buff exterior painted with red painted geometric patterns imitating basketry.
Neolithic beaker of a distinctive and unusual shape known as caliciform. Such beakers are usually found in graves, suggesting that they were used for funerary rituals. 3610–3392 BC.
Sudan National Museum
Sudan (Kerma, cemetery M, grave 48), Early Kerma culture, 1900-1700 B.C. Gold, bronze, ebony, and ivory
In 1913 George Andrew Reisner and the Harvard University–Museum of Fine Arts Expedition discovered this exquisitely crafted miniature daggers found in the grave of a young boy, is entirely Nubian.
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