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Egypt at its Origins

The Third International Colloquium on


Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt
The British Museum, London
Sunday 27th July – Friday 1st August 2008

Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt


The Third International Colloquium on
The Third International Colloquium on
Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt
is made possible with generous support from:

Abstracts of Papers Presented at


The Third International Colloquium on
Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt

Edited by
Renée FRIEDMAN & Liam MCNAMARA
ST JOHN’S COLLEGE
OXFORD

MCNAMARA
FRIEDMAN
Egypt at its Origins
The Third International Colloquium on
Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt
The British Museum, London
Sunday 27th July – Friday 1st August 2008

Abstracts of Papers Presented at


The Third International Colloquium on
Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt

Edited by
Renée FRIEDMAN & Liam MCNAMARA

© Renée Friedman and Liam McNamara 2008, on behalf of the


Third International Colloquium on Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt
Discussion could lead to digression…
Digression to distraction…
Distraction, in turn, might provoke diversion…
Or lead as far as Discovery!
[Anon.]
Foreword

With participants hailing from every continent except


Antarctica, Egypt at its Origins: The Third International Colloquium on
Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt truly lives up to its name. Its
size and range testify to the tremendous growth of interest in
this formative era of ancient Egyptian civilization.
A triennial event, the Origins colloquium draws together
Egyptologists, archaeologists and anthropologists who specialise
in the origins and formation of the ancient Egyptian state (c.
4000–2680 BC). The inaugural meeting entitled Origin of the State:
Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt, was held in Kraków, Poland,
in August 2002. Following its success, the second meeting
(Origins 2) was hosted in Toulouse, France, in September 2005.
We are pleased to welcome you to the British Museum,
London, for the third occasion of this stimulating meeting of
minds. The first day of the colloquium (Monday 28th July) is
being held in conjunction with the Department of Ancient
Egypt and Sudan’s Annual Egyptological Colloquium, which
this year focusses on the recent results of excavations at the
major sites of Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt and Sudan.
The highlight of every summer, the Raymond and Beverly
Sackler Foundation Distinguished Lecture in Egyptology will be
delivered by Krzysztof Ciałowicz (Jagiellonian University,
Kraków, Poland) on his remarkable discoveries at the Delta site
of Tell el-Farkha.
Initiated in 1992, through the generosity and foresight of
Raymond and Beverly Sackler, the Sackler Foundation
Distinguished Lecture series and associated themed colloquia
have allowed the British Museum to bring together scholars
actively enagaged in studying all aspects of ancient Egyptian
civilization to present and discuss their current research. We are
honoured to be a part of this prestigious event in 2008.
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

During the following days, the colloquium will be


organised around a series of major themes within the broader
subject of the origins of the Egyptian state (from the Predynastic
period to the end of the Second Dynasty), with a particular
emphasis on recent archaeological results. Papers and posters, at
the cutting edge of research in this dynamic field, will be
presented on:

• Results of recent fieldwork


• Temple, ritual and cult
• Funerary ritual
• Objects and technology
• Architecture
• Egypt, its deserts and neighbours

Workshops to discuss the outstanding issues surrounding


Egyptian state formation, Early Dynastic potmarks, chronology
and script as material culture, have also been organized to
encourage debate, if not resolution.
Private viewings of the unparalleled collections of
material relevant to the time period have been arranged through
the generosity of the institutions involved: the British Museum;
the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College
London; and the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology,
Oxford.
With so much to see, do and learn, our five days in
London promise to be an exciting and stimulating experience.

Renée Friedman
Liam McNamara

The Organising Committee

6
Acknowledgements

A colloquium of this size and scope would not have been


possible without the generous assistance of many individuals
and institutions, including nearly 200 participants who made
their way to London from around the globe to share their
discoveries, insights and enthusiasm.
Our special thanks go to the British Museum Department
of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, its Keeper, Vivian Davies, and its
dedicated staff for helping us to host the colloquium at the
British Museum. The contributions of Alison Cameron, Claire
Messenger, Tania Watkins, Julie Anderson, Jeff Spencer and
Neal Spencer are especially appreciated. Thanks also to Frank
Stansfield and his skilled team for attending to our audio-visual
requirements.
The British-Egyptian Society of London is to be thanked
for its support, which makes it possible for all of us to benefit
from the contributions and participation of our Egyptian
colleagues.
For generously allowing us an after-hours viewing of the
fundamental collections of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian
Archaeology, University College London, and a reception with
the Coptos Lions, we are grateful to its Collections Manager,
Carolyn Perry and especially its Operations Manager, Richard
Langley, who could not have been more helpful and positive.
The private viewing and reception hosted by the
Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford, were
made possible through the kindness of Susan Walker, Keeper of
the Department of Antiquities, and Helen Whitehouse, Senior
Assistant Keeper and Curator of the Egyptian Collections. We
also express our deep gratitude for the special exhibition of
objects from the Hierakonpolis Main Deposit, the Abydos ‘M’
Chambers, and the Abydos Royal Tombs – some never before
on public display – put together specifically for the Origins 3
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

conference through the dedicated efforts of Liam McNamara


and Xavier Droux.
For his time and efforts in conducting special tours of the
Griffith Institute Archives of the University of Oxford, we are
grateful to Jaromir Malek.
We thank St John’s College, Oxford, for allowing us
access to its stunning gardens and quads for refreshments and a
stroll after the long coach trip to Oxford.
In addition, there are a number of volunteers whose help
in making this event a success is greatly appreciated: Xavier
Droux, Filiz Öztanriverdi, Anna Pieri, Peter Robinson, Jane
Smythe, Jan Picton, Olga Romanova, Tessa Dickinson, Davide
Mazzone, Sarah Foster, and Elise MacArthur. Special mention is
also due to the intrepid Topy Fiske for her skills in editing and
bag-hauling, amongst many others. The advice of the Scientific
Committee and the bibliographic assistance of Stan Hendrickx
are acknowledged with thanks.
Finally, for making it possible to devote our attention to
the ‘pluperfect pleasure’ of conference organization, we are
sincerely grateful to Tom and Linda Heagy and the Friends of
Nekhen for their interest and support.

8
Committee

Scientific Committee

Krzysztof M. CIAŁOWICZ | Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland

Renée FRIEDMAN | The British Museum, London, UK

Ulrich HARTUNG | Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Kairo, Egypt

Stan HENDRICKX | Provinciale Hogeschool Limburg, Hasselt, Belgium

Christiana KÖHLER | Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Béatrix MIDANT-REYNES | CNRS, Centre d’Anthropologie de


Toulouse, France

Heiko RIEMER | Universität zu Köln, Köln, Germany

Yann TRISTANT | Institut Francais d’Archéologie Orientale, Le Caire,


Egypt

Organising Committee

Renée FRIEDMAN | The British Museum, London, UK

Liam MCNAMARA | St John’s College, University of Oxford, UK

9
Programme

Sunday 27th July


Foyer of the Clore Education Centre, British Museum, London
Registration 2:00–4:00pm

Monday 28th July


BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum, London
10:00am–5:00pm

‘Egypt at its Origins’


Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt: Recent Discoveries

held in conjunction with the British Museum


Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan’s
Annual Egyptological Colloquium 2008

Opening remarks
Atia RADWAN
Under-secretary of State for Upper Egypt, Supreme Council of Antiquities,
Egypt

‘Lascaux along the Nile’: Late Pleistocene rock art in


Egypt
Dirk HUYGE

Upper Nubia before the emergence of Kerma: a fortified


settlement from the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC
Matthieu HONNEGGER

Origins of monumental architecture: investigations at


Hierakonpolis HK6 in 2008
Renée FRIEDMAN
PROGRAMME

Origins of monumental architecture: recent excavations at


Hierakonpolis HK29B and HK25
Thomas HIKADE

BREAK

Monuments of Egypt’s early kings at Abydos


Matthew D. ADAMS & David O’CONNOR

Released from the sand: new insights into the royal


necropolis at Abydos Umm el-Qa‘ab
Vera MÜLLER

LUNCH

The Rayayna Crossroads: life, death and the divine in the


Upper Egyptian Desert
Deborah DARNELL

Memphis at the dawn of history: recent excavations in the


Early Dynastic necropolis at Helwan
E. Christiana KÖHLER

BREAK

A tale of two funerary traditions: the Predynastic cemetery


at Kom el-Khilgan (East Delta)
Béatrix MIDANT-REYNES

Recent investigations at Tell el-Fara‘in (Buto) in the


western Nile Delta
Ulrich HARTUNG

11
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Followed by:

The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation


Distinguished Lecture in Egyptology 2008
6:00pm

Ivory and gold in the Delta: excavations at Tell el-Farkha


Krzysztof C IAŁOWICZ
Institute of Archaeology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland

Reception in the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery

Tuesday 29th July


BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum, London

Recent Fieldwork
9:30am–12:15pm

The Central Kom of Tell el-Farkha: 1,000 years of history


(c. 3600–2600 BC)
Marek C HŁODNICKI

Lower Egyptian–Naqadan transition: a view from Tell el-


Farkha
Agnieszka MĄCZYNSKA

Sepulchral architecture in details: new data from Tell


el-Farkha
Joanna DĘBOWSKA-LUDWIN

The development of pottery production during the Early


Dynastic period and the beginning of the Old Kingdom: a
view from Tell el-Farkha
Mariusz JUCHA

12
PROGRAMME

Predynastic and Early Dynastic plant husbandry at


Tell el-Farkha as revealed by archaeobotanical evidence
Lucy KUBIAK-MARTENS

BREAK

Archaeobotany of food production at Predynastic


Hierakonpolis
Ahmed G. FAHMY, Linda PERRY & Renée FRIEDMAN

A comparative study of heating/firing installations at


Hierakonpolis
Izumi H. TAKAMIYA

Nekhen: island origins and the migrating Nile


Judith BUNBURY & Angus GRAHAM

LUNCH

Poster presentations
1:30pm Sackler Seminar Room

Raw materials supply and technological analysis of


knapped lithic tools in Naqadan contexts: a new look at
De Morgan’s collection from Hierakonpolis in Saint
Germain-en-Laye Museum, France
Emmanuelle COURBOIN

Shells in Neolithic and Predynastic Egypt


Maarten HORN

13
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Temple, Ritual and Cult


2:00–5:00pm

Evidence for early ritual activity in the Predynastic


settlement at el-Mahâsna
David A. ANDERSON

Animal bones from ritual contexts at Hierakonpolis


Veerle LINSEELE & Wim VAN NEER

Architectural representations on D-ware: identification and


comparison with archaeological data
Gwenola GRAFF & Stan HENDRICKX

BREAK

Local traditions in early Egyptian temples


Richard BUSSMANN

Local versus national tradition: early shrines as


‘autonomous centres of culture’?
Liam MCNAMARA

An early cult center at Abusir-Saqqara? Recent discoveries


at a rocky outcrop in north-west Saqqara
Nozomu KAWAI

RECEPTION 5:30–7:30pm
Wilkins South Cloisters, University College London
Private viewing of the Petrie Museum
of Egyptian Archaeology

14
PROGRAMME

Wednesday 30th July


BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum, London

Session on modelling Egyptian state formation


Chair: David WENGROW
9:30am–12:00pm

Factors of state formation in Protodynastic Egypt


Branislav ANĐELKOVIĆ

Kinship, concentration of population and the emergence of


the State in the Nile Valley
Marcelo CAMPAGNO

The development and nature of inequality in early Egypt


Juan José C ASTILLOS

Some proposals for reconsidering the social dynamics of


Predynastic Lower Egypt and its neighbours
Frédéric GUYOT

Beyond a boundary: the conception, meaning and


acquiescence of legitimate authority and three-dimensional
power from Badari to Naqada
Gavin SMITH

Workgroup meeting on Early Dynastic potmarks


Chair: Edwin C.M. VAN DEN BRINK, followed by
Workgroup meeting on chronology
Chair: Stan HENDRICKX
9:00am–12:00pm Sackler Seminar Room

Discussion/presentation of:

The corpus of potmarks from Tarkhan


Lisa MAWDSLEY

15
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

More potmarks from the Protodynastic–Early Dynastic site


of Kafr Hassan Dawood, Wadi Tumilat, East Delta, Egypt
Geoffrey J. TASSIE; Fekri A. HASSAN; Bram V. C ALCOEN; Joris
VAN WETERING

Potmarks of Early Dynastic Buto and Old Kingdom Giza:


their occurrence and economic significance
Anna WODZINSKA

The chronology of Naqada I tombs in the Predynastic


Cemetery U at Abydos
Rita HARTMANN

A reconsideration of predynastic chronology: the


contribution of Adaïma
Nathalie BUCHEZ

LUNCH

1:00pm Board coach for optional excursion to Oxford

2:30pm Arrival at St John’s College, University of Oxford

3:00pm Free time in Oxford/Tours of the Griffith Institute


Archive, University of Oxford

RECEPTION 5:30–7:30pm
Private viewing of the Egyptian Collections in the
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Dinner in Oxford

9:30pm Board coach for return journey to London

16
PROGRAMME

Thursday 31st July


BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum, London

Funerary Ritual; Objects and Technology


9:30am–12:00pm

Understanding ritual activity in Gerzean cemeteries: global


trends and local narratives
Alice STEVENSON

Tusks and tags


Stan HENDRICKX

Two tombs from el-Mahâsna in the Egyptian collection of


the Royal Museums for Art and History, Brussels
Merel EYCKERMAN

Small artefacts made of clay and stone at Adaïma


Christine LORRE

Miscellaneous artefacts from Zawaydah (Petrie’s Naqada


‘South Town’)
Grazia Antonella DI PIETRO

BREAK

Lithic technology and production sequences: recent


investigations from Tell el-Fara‘in/Buto
Karin KINDERMANN

Pottery production at Hierakonpolis during the Naqada II


period
Masahiro BABA

LUNCH

17
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

‘Script as Material Culture’ working lunch


Chair: Kathryn E. PIQUETTE
12:00–2:00pm Sackler Seminar Room

Discussion/presentation of:

The phonetic intention. Ideograms and phonograms in


potmarks of Dynasties 0, I and II
Alain ANSELIN

The Sun-religion in the Thinite Age: evidence and political


meaning
Josep C ERVELLÓ-AUTUORI

Rock inscriptions and the origin of Egyptian writing


John Coleman DARNELL

Clay sealings: tools of communication systems among


different cultures in the 4th millennium BC?
Rita DI MARIA

The evolution of s≈m-µ“≈ during Dynasties I-III


Alazne LEGARRETA HERNÁNDEZ

In search of the sƒm=f: the conception and development of


hieroglyphic writing through the reign of Aha
Elise V. MAC ARTHUR

A contextual archaeology of early script and image


Kathryn E. PIQUETTE

Clay sealings from Giza: the group with the figurative seal
impressions
Maira TORCIA

18
PROGRAMME

Architecture
2:00–5:00pm

The tomb of King Ninetjer of the Second Dynasty at


Saqqara
Claudia LACHER

Investigating an unknown necropolis from the Second


Dynasty at Saqqara-south
Ilona REGULSKI

Egyptian engineering in the Early Dynastic period: the


sites of Saqqara and Helwan
Angela LA LOGGIA

BREAK

New excavation of an old cemetery: preliminary results of


the Abu Rawash Project
Yann TRISTANT & Jane SMYTHE

A new Archaic period cemetery at Abydos


Yasser Mahmoud HOSSEIN

The new Archaic period cemetery at Abydos: an


osteological report
Ahmed Mohamed GABR

19
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Friday 1st August


BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum, London

Egypt, its Deserts and Neighbours


9:30am–12:00pm

Burial practices of the Final Neolithic pastoralists at Gebel


Ramlah, Western Desert of Egypt
Michał KOBUSIEWICZ; Jacek KABACIŃSKI; Romuald SCHILD;
Joel. D. IRISH

Nabta Playa during the last few years


Heba Tallah A. A. IBRAHIM

Implications for the origin and dispersal of black-topped


pottery
Kit NELSON & Eman KHALIFA

Egypt and Nubia in the 5th–4th millennia BC: a view from


the First Cataract and surroundings
Maria Carmela GATTO

BREAK

Subsistence, territory and contacts of the Sheikh Muftah


pastoral nomads during the 3rd millennium BC: a view
from the desert
Heiko RIEMER

The wadi of the Horus Qa-a


John Coleman DARNELL

New predynastic graffiti from Qubbet el-Hawa South,


Aswan
Alejandro JIMÉNEZ-S ERRANO

20
PROGRAMME

Pre- and Early Historic settlement in the central Delta:


the potential for locating evidence through palaeo-
environmental reconstruction and surface/sub-surface
survey
Joanne ROWLAND

LUNCH

1:30pm Tour of the Wendorf Collection


Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, British Museum

Egypt, its Deserts and Neighbours


2:00–5:00pm

Local adaptation and intracultural variability in the


Western Delta: a view from Predynastic Saïs (Sa el-Hagar)
Gregory P. GILBERT & Tonny J. DE WIT

Suggestions for revised chronological correlations of South


Levantine sites and the reign of Horus Narmer
Eliot BRAUN

Foreign enemies and warfare symbolism: ethnicity and


historicity in the period of Egyptian unification
Francesco RAFFAELE

BREAK

Situating the biocultural origins of ancient Egypt


Shomarka Omar KEITA

International Potmark Workshop resumé


Edwin C.M. VAN DEN BRINK

Chronology workshop resumé


Stan HENDRICKX

21
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

‘Script as Material Culture’ resumé


Kathryn E. PIQUETTE

Modelling state formation resumé


Marcelo CAMPAGNO

Closing remarks

Posters
Sackler Seminar Room
Tuesday 29th July – Friday 1st August

Pre-firing potmarks corpus from Adaïma, Upper Egypt


(3700–2700 BC)
Gaëlle BRÉAND

Structural transformations of the Adaïma settlement during


the Predynastic period or reconstructing the history of a
village community
Nathalie BUCHEZ

Raw materials supply and technological analysis of


knapped lithic tools in Naqadan contexts: a new look at
De Morgan’s collection from Hierakonpolis in Saint
Germain-en-Laye Museum, France
Emmanuelle COURBOIN

Rescue excavation of a Predynastic site in Nag el-Qarmila


(Kubbaniya)
Morgan DE DAPPER, Merel E YCKERMAN, Maria Carmela
GATTO, Rainer GERISCH, Elizabeth HART, Stan HENDRICKX,
Tomasz HERBICH, Hannah JORIS, Hans-Åke NORDSTRÖM,
Mindy PITRE, Sara ROMA, Dawid S WIECH, Donatella USAI

22
PROGRAMME

Center and periphery: the diffusion of Egyptian


merchandise in Israel’s Central Coastal Plain and
Shephelah during Naqada IIIB/C1.
A settlement-map update
Ram GOPHNA

The magnetic method in the investigation of early


cemeteries: the case study of Cemetery U at Abydos
Tomasz HERBICH

Living and dying at el-Amra: discovering settlement


through geophysical and surface survey
Jane A. HILL & Tomasz HERBICH

Shells in Neolithic and Predynastic Egypt


Maarten HORN

Desert boats: rock art in Egypt’s Eastern Desert


Francis LANKESTER

Model formation of complex societies in Africa through


funerary evidence: the Upper Nile Valley as a case study.
The database
Sabina MALGORA

Pottery production in the Naqada I-II period from the


‘influence area of Abydos’: some new iconographic
considerations
Ana Isabel NAVAJAS JIMÉNEZ

Sources of power in Predynastic Hierakonpolis: legacies


for Egyptian kingship
Patricia PERRY

23
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Variations in lithic production at Hierakonpolis:


a preliminary report on the excavation of HK11C
Squares A6-A7
Izumi H. TAKAMIYA & Hitoshi ENDO

What your hair says about you: changes in hairstyles as an


index of state formation processes
Geoffrey J. TASSIE

Cultural and natural environment in the eastern Nile Delta:


a geo-archaeological project at Tell el-Iswid (Nile Delta)
Yann TRISTANT; Morgan DE DAPPER; Sandra AUSSEL; Béatrix
MIDANT-REYNES

Cranial variability and population diversity at


Hierakonpolis
Sonia Z AKRZEWSKI & Joseph POWELL

24
Early Egypt in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of


Oxford, houses the most important collection of Predynastic
and Early Dynastic objects outside Egypt, with significant
holdings from all of the major Egyptian sites excavated during
the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The expansion of the early
Egypt collections during that period owed much to the energetic
interest of Arthur Evans, Keeper of the Ashmolean from 1884
to 1908, and the University’s cordial relationship with Flinders
Petrie.
During the optional excursion to Oxford on Wednesday
30th July 2008, participants will have the opportunity to view the
Museum’s Egyptian galleries after public opening hours.
Amongst the permanent displays, the Petrie Room is devoted to
objects from Predynastic Egypt; Dynastic Egypt is featured in
the recently refurbished Sackler Gallery and the adjacent Griffith
Gallery, which also contains the Museum’s Nubian collection
and a temporary display of some of the best-known objects
from Hierakonpolis.
In addition, there will be a special exhibition of Early
Dynastic objects, created specifically for this day in the Origins 3
Colloquium calendar. Key pieces from the Hierakonpolis ‘Main
Deposit’ (including a wide range of carved ivories), material
from the ‘M’ Chambers of the early temple at Abydos, and
selected objects from the First and Second Dynasty Royal
Tombs at Abydos will be on display, many for the first time
since their discovery.
The exhibits may be visited throughout the day (until
5:00pm) and/or enjoyed in the evening (5:30–7:30pm) during
the special welcome reception for Colloquium participants,
generously hosted by the Ashmolean Museum’s Department of
Antiquities, whom we wish to thank for their hospitality.
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

The organisers of this special exhibition, Liam McNamara


and Xavier Droux, would like to thank the curator of the
Ashmolean Museum’s Egyptian Collections, Helen Whitehouse,
for facilitating access to this material, as well as her continued
support, encouragement, and shared enthusiasm for their study
of Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt.

26
Workshops

The International Potmark Workshop: from Toulouse to


London
Edwin C.M. VAN DEN BRINK
Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem, Israel

The following lines sum up developments in potmark research


(primarily Early Dynastic) since the formation of the
International Potmark Workshop in 2005 at the conclusion of
the Origins of the State 2 conference in Toulouse, France. As such,
this is a position paper or balance sheet rather than an abstract,
open to discussion and criticism during the Workshop’s first
formal meeting on Wednesday 30th July 2008 in London.
To begin with, we may ask: what progress, real or
perceived, has been made since Origins 2 in the realm of
potmarks research, be it related or unrelated to the present
Workshop?
First, two potmark corpora, collated from recent
excavations in the Nile Delta and presented in poster form in
2005 in Toulouse, are about to appear in print. They include the
corpus from the Early Dynastic cemetery at Kafr Hassan
Dawood where excavations have concluded (Hassan et al. 2008),
with a second and final installment to be presented during the
London session by Geoffrey Tassie et al. (2008). Shortly to
appear is the provisional corpus from the Early Dynastic
cemetery at Tell el-Farkha, where excavations are still ongoing
(Jucha 2008). A third corpus of c. 2,000 additional, thus far
unpublished, potmarks deriving from the Early Dynastic royal
cemetery at Umm el-Qa‘ab, Abydos, is being prepared for final
publication by Eva M. Engel (2008). In addition, a fourth
corpus, not of Early Dynastic but of Old Kingdom potmarks,
collated from the ceramic assemblage of the Old Kingdom
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

settlement at Giza by Anna Wodzinska (2008), will be of interest


as a study in comparison and contrast.
Second, at least two dissertations pertaining to potmark
corpora are in progress: Gaëlle Bréand (2005) is working on the
final corpus collated from both the Late Predynastic and Early
Dynastic settlement and cemetery sites at Adaïma, while Lisa
Mawdsley (2006a,b, 2008a) is re-examining the potmarks from
the Early Dynastic cemeteries at Tarkhan. Aspects of both
corpora will be discussed during the upcoming session (Bréand
2008; Mawdsley 2008b).
Third, a website (htpp://www.potmark-Egypt.com) was
launched in early 2007 (van den Brink 2007), with the intention
of facilitating shared potmark research by storing in one place all
potmarks and available pertinent data concerning both
published and unpublished potmarks together with their
relevant publications. Though most of the presently published
potmarks have now been uploaded, it is still a (time-consuming)
work-in-progress. A number of recent papers concerning
potmarks (Mawsdley 2008a; Bréand 2008a; Anselin 2008a) were
recently uploaded on this website as downloadable .pdf files prior
to their actual publication in Cahiers Caribéeens d’Egyptologie 11, to
the benefit of all of the workshop’s participants. The driving
force behind this stimulating cooperation is Alain Anselin who,
inspired by the potential of the Workshop cum website, has
written two potmark-related papers especially for publication on
the website only (Anselin 2007a, 2007b). A synopsis of his
findings will be presented in the Script as material culture
workgroup in London on Thursday 31st July (Anselin 2008b).
The website is, moreover, also intended to facilitate
communication between the Workshop’s participants through
an e-Forum, intentionally restricted and accessible only to the
Workshop’s participants in order to guarantee safety in the free
flow of ideas and (un)published information. Unfortunately the
beneficial potential of fostering discussions and collective
brainstorming via the Forum has not yet been fully exploited.
To date, only a few of the Workshop’s members are actively

28
WORKSHOPS

engaging in the Forum and writing and reacting to postings.


‘Non-communication’ rather than ‘communication’ springs to
mind when reflecting on the e-Forum at this point in time,
something we aim to rectify during the London workshop.
This brings me back to my initial question concerning
‘progress, real or perceived’. Clearly there is a lot of activity at
the moment, with new, often site-specific materials being
studied and published. But how much closer are we now to a
better understanding of the intriguing Early Dynastic potmark
system per se since, say, Helck’s 1990 publication, or for that
matter, the 2005 establishment of the Workshop?
The latest research has resulted in a higher awareness of,
for example, different sets of potmarks having been applied to
different pottery types (foremost on wine jars, beer jars and
bread moulds), of a possible relation between a certain pottery
fabric (marl clays) and specific potmark signs (the floral sign or
sm¢.w) within a single class of pottery vessels (wine jars), and of
a notable change in the type of potmarks applied to wine jars at
the end of Naqada IIID/the First Dynasty (something I hope to
demonstrate during the upcoming session based on new data
deriving from the Early Dynastic cemetery at Helwan).
Thus, although there is certainly a better understanding of
some of the mechanisms at work behind the application of
potmarks, we still have not moved much closer to an
understanding of what the potmarks actually mean. A concerted
effort by all of the Workshop's participants will be required if we
are to attain our stated goals. We certainly have our work cut out
for us in London!

Bibliography

ANSELIN, A., 2007a. L'intention phonétique. L'âme jambeé des


potmarks de la Ie Dynastie. http://www.potmark-
egypt.com/Articles.asp
ANSELIN. A., 2007b. L'intention phonétique II. Meret et le pot-
au-feu. http://www.potmark-egypt.com/Articles.asp

29
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

ANSELIN, A., 2008a. L'intention phonétique III. Le scribe et le


potier. Potmarks and powermarks prédynastiques: du côté
des auteurs. CCdE 11: 83-102.
ANSELIN, A., 2008b. The phonetic Intention. Ideograms and
Phonograms in Potmarks of Dynasties 0, I and II.
http://www.origins3.org.uk/abstracts.html
BREAND, G., 2005. Les marques et graffiti sur poteries de
l'Egypte pré- et protodynastique. Perspectives de
recherches à partir de l'exemple d'Adaïma. Archéo-Nil 15:
17-30.
BREAND, G., 2008a. Signes sur poteries et enregistrement
comptable en Égypte pré et protodynastique. L'exemple
du signe des "bâtons brisés". CCdE 11: 37-81.
BRÉAND, G., 2008b. Pre-firing Potmark Corpus from Adaïma,
Upper Egypt (3700–2700 BC).
http://www.origins3.org.uk/abstracts.html
ENGEL, E.M., 2008. Early Dynastic Potmarks: A View from
Umm el-Qa‘ab, Abydos.
http://www.origins3.org.uk/abstracts.html
HASSAN, F.A.; TASSIE, G.; VAN WETERING, J. & C ALCOEN, B.,
2008. Corpus of Potmarks from the Proto/Early
Dynastic Cemetery at Kafr Hassan Dawood, Wadi
Tumilat, East Delta [in:] MIDANT-REYNES, B.;
TRISTANT, Y. (eds.); ROWLAND, J. & HENDRICKX, S.
(coll.), Egypt at its Origins 2. Proceedings of the International
Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic
Egypt”, Toulouse (France), 5th-8th September 2005. OLA.
Leuven / Paris / Dudley (forthcoming).
HELCK, W., 1990. Thinitische Topfmarken. ÄA 50. Wiesbaden.
JUCHA, M.A., 2008. The Corpus of "Potmarks" from the Graves
at Tell el-Farkha [in:] M IDANT-REYNES, B.; TRISTANT, Y.
(eds.); ROWLAND, J. & HENDRICKX, S. (coll.), Egypt at its
Origins 2. Proceedings of the International Conference “Origin of
the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt”, Toulouse
(France), 5th-8th September 2005. OLA. Leuven / Paris /
Dudley (forthcoming).

30
WORKSHOPS

MAWDSLEY, L., 2006a. The Potmarks from Tarkhan: An


Examination of the administrative Function of First Dynasty
Potmarks from Egypt. Unpubl. B. Litt. Thesis, Centre of
Archaeology and Ancient History, Monash University.
MAWDSLEY, L., 2006b. A First Dynasty Egyptian Wine Jar with
a Potmark in the Collection of the Australian Institute of
Archaeology. Buried History 42: 11-16.
MAWDSLEY, L., 2008a. Unprovenanced and provenanced
Potmarks from Tarkhan. CCdE 11: 19-36.
MAWDSLEY, L., 2008b. The Corpus of Potmarks from Tarkhan.
http://www.origins3.org.uk/abstracts.html
TASSIE, G.; HASSAN, F.A.; CALCOEN, B. & VAN WETERING. J.,
2008. More Potmarks from the Protodynastic-Early
Dynastic Site of Kafr Hassan Dawood, Wadi Tumilat,
East Delta, Egypt. http://www.origins3.org.uk/abstracts.html
VAN DEN B RINK, E.C.M., 2007. Potmark-Egypt.com. CCdE 10:
5-8.
WODZINSKA, A., 2008. Potmarks of Early Dynastic Buto and
Old Kingdom Giza. Their Occurrence and Economic
Significance. http://www.origins3.org.uk/abstracts.html

The chronology workshop


Stan HENDRICKX
Provinciale Hogeschool Limburg, Hasselt, Belgium

The chronological backbone necessary for the study of


Predynastic Egypt continues to present problems. The terms
‘Kaiser chronology’ and ‘Hendrickx chronology’ are now used
rather frequently in the literature, which is not a very satisfactory
situation, particularly as neither Kaiser (1956) nor myself
(Hendrickx 2006) have published the results of our research in
detail. I considered my work essentially as an update and

31
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

elaboration (with criticisms and suggested corrections) of


Kaiser’s work and would prefer the term ‘Naqada chronology’.
Despite the great importance of local and regional
chronological sequences such as those developed for the recent
excavations at Abydos (presented by Rita Hartmann), Adaïma
(presented by Nathalie Buchez), Tell el-Farkha (Jucha 2005: 63-
78), Helwan (Köhler 2004), as well as the earlier excavations at
Gerzeh (Stevenson 2006) and Naq’ ed-Deir (Friedman 1987), it
should nevertheless be possible to develop an overall relative
chronological framework for the Naqada period, which – in its
archaeological definition – also includes the Early Dynastic
period.
The phases of the Naqada culture that (in my opinion) are
the most problematic and deserving of special attention are the
early Naqada I period (Naqada IA–B) and the Naqada IIIC–D
period (end of the First Dynasty and Second Dynasty). For the
Naqada I period, it remains to be seen if the tombs with a
specific ceramic assemblage (consisting mainly of simple,
straight-sided black-topped bowls and cups) have been
considered correctly as a separate chronological group. For the
Naqada IIIC–D period, the results of recent work at Helwan,
Adaïma, Abydos and Tell el-Farkha should allow for a more
detailed picture than was previously possible. Furthermore, it
remains to be seen whether the difference presently accepted
between Naqada IID1 and IID2 is relevant or not.
The aims of the workshop on Wednesday 30th July 2008
are to discuss these thorny issues of the Naqada chronology and
the possibilities for creating a uniform relative chronological
framework and terminology. The ultimate goal should be to
connect the local chronological sequences within this overall
framework.

Bibliography

FRIEDMAN, R.F., 1987. Spatial Distribution in a Predynastic


Cemetery: Naga ed Dër 7000. Berkeley, rev. MA thesis.

32
WORKSHOPS

JUCHA, M., 2005. The Pottery of the Predynastic Settlement. Tell el-
Farkha II. Kraków/Poznan.
KAISER, W., 1957. Zur inneren Chronologie der Naqadakultur.
Archaeologia Geographica 6: 69-77.
HENDRICKX, S., 2006. Predynastic – Early Dynastic Chronology
[in:] HORNUNG, E.; KRAUSS, R. & WARBURTON, D.A.,
(eds.), Ancient Egyptian Chronology. Handbook of Oriental
Studies. Section One. The Near and Middle East, vol. 83.
Leiden/Boston: 55–93, 487–488.
KÖHLER, E.C., 2004. On the Origins of Memphis [in:]
HENDRICKX, S.; FRIEDMAN, R.F.; CIAŁOWICZ, K.M. &
CHŁODNICKI, M. (eds.), Egypt at its Origins. Studies in
Memory of Barbara Adams. Proceedings of the international
Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic
Egypt”, Kraków, 28th August - 1st September 2002. Orientalia
Lovaniensia Analecta 138. Leuven/Paris/Dudley: 295-
315.
STEVENSON, A., 2006. An Analysis of the Predynastic Cemetery of el-
Gerzeh: Social Identities and Mortuary Practices during the Spread
of the ‘Naqada Culture’. Cambridge, PhD.

‘Script as Material Culture’ working lunch


Kathryn E. PIQUETTE
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK

Often included within the category of ‘material culture’ are pots,


stelae, figurines, and other objects, but ‘writing’ and other forms
of ‘visual culture’ are typically treated apart from past material
worlds and human experience. The aim of this workshop is to
examine inscriptional evidence from an explicitly materials
perspective. Workshop contributions, in the form of pre-
circulated papers, will deal with a range of script-related topics,
but it is intended that discussion of these will focus on the

33
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

impact of material and archaeological contexts – both in terms


of analytical methods and how we interpret past function and
meaning.
A particular concern that we hope to address is the
relationship between philology and archaeology in the study of
early scripts in the Nile Valley. Similarly, we hope to re-evaluate
the common perception that inscriptions are important primarily
for the evidence they provide about the past by also
considering the subject matter in terms its efficacy and meaning
as material culture in relation to past people’s lives (and
afterlives) in their present.
In establishing what material concerns are most relevant
to our respective research topics, we seek to investigate the
interrelation of symbolic and material meanings. Thus we need
to interrogate the following, and see how these and other
material factors might impinge upon the content meaning of the
inscriptional evidence:

• Material concerns: materials of manufacture; techniques;


dimensions; scale; colour, texture; portability; etc.
• Material practice concerns: making / re-making /
maintenance; use / re-use; audiencing / visibility /
invisibility; deposition / discard.

Related questions include:

• How can our recording methods in the field, in


publication and by other methods, better convey the
scriptorial and material aspects of the evidence?
• How can we better relate our terminology such as
‘writing’, ‘inscription’, ‘script’, ‘document’,
‘text’, ‘proto-writing’, ‘true writing’, etc., and the
other types of graphical evidence we often distinguish
(e.g., geometric imagery, figural depictions, art,
representation, potmarks) to past categories, concepts
and meanings?

34
WORKSHOPS

• Can (and should) we avoid anachronistic or hind-


sighted interpretive strategies? For example, where there
is morphological similarity across time and space, on
what basis can we justify inferring similarity in meaning?
How can a materials-centred approach aid a more
contexual understanding of script?

Eight pre-papers dealing with written and other graphical


evidence will be discussed during the workshop, which will take
place on Thursday 31st July 2008 (available for downloading at
http://groups.google.com/group/egyptian_scripts or in hard
copy at the registration desk).
All conference delegates with an interest in early scripts of
the Nile Valley are warmly invited to attend; however, space is
limited. Please note that attendees are expected to read the pre-
circulated workshop papers beforehand and general participants
will need to bring their own lunch!

35
The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation
Distinguished Lecture in Egyptology 2008

Ivory and gold in the Delta: excavations at Tell el-Farkha


Krzysztof C IAŁOWICZ
Institute of Archaeology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland

The site of Tell el-Farkha, adjacent to the village of Ghazala,


120km north-east of Cairo, is composed of three mounds or
‘koms’ (designated Western, Central and Eastern). Excavations
on each of these koms have revealed the 1,000-year-long history
of the site, which began many centuries before the foundation
of the pharaonic state, and provide the best view to date of the
momentous developments that occurred during this formative
period in Egyptian history. Several distinct phases have been
identified. The oldest phase contains a settlement of the so-
called Lower Egyptian culture, providing important information
on the distinctive lifestyle of the native inhabitants of the Delta
who lived at Tell el-Farkha from c. 3600–3300 BC. Soon
thereafter, the first settlers from the south arrived, bringing with
them the Upper Egyptian Naqada culture and many profound
changes in the nature of the settlement. The apogee of Tell el-
Farkha’s history occurred during the Protodynastic period
(Dynasty ‘0’ and the First Dynasty, c. 3200–2950 BC), when the
site played a major role in international trade. Its prosperity was
short-lived, however, and by the middle of the First Dynasty, it
began to decline until the site was finally abandoned in the early
Fourth Dynasty (Old Kingdom, c. 2600 BC).
The state of preservation at Tell el-Farkha is exceptional,
and the organization of the site into three main spheres is clearly
evident: residential and cultic on the Western Kom, habitation
and utility on the Central Kom, and cemetery and settlement on
the Eastern Kom. Discoveries on the Western Kom include the
ABSTRACTS

remains of one of the world’s oldest brewing centres and a


monumental mud brick building, so far the largest known in
Egypt from the period of c. 3300–3200 BC. In addition, an
administrative-cultic centre from the beginning of the Egyptian
state contained votive deposits composed of intriguing,
intricately carved ivory figurines depicting human, animal and
divine subjects. Many of them are unparalleled. Equally
interesting results were obtained from the Eastern Kom, where
mud brick-lined graves of Protodynastic date were investigated.
For their time, all were very wealthy and furnished with large
numbers of pottery and stone vessels, ornaments of semi-
precious stones and gold, cosmetic palettes and tools. Also on
the Eastern Kom, a rather non-descript settlement gave rise to
some extraordinary discoveries that presently have no
counterpart in Egypt. In one of the many small rooms within
the settlement, two remarkable gold-plated statues depicting
standing men (60 and 30 cm high respectively) were found. They
were recovered from a context dating about 100 years before the
beginning of the Egyptian state, but may be far older, and
possibly represent an early ruler and his son or successor.

37
The Annual Egyptological Colloquium 2008
‘Egypt at its Origins’
Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt: Recent Discoveries

Monuments of Egypt’s early kings at Abydos


Matthew D. ADAMS & David O’CONNOR
Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, USA

As the location of the first royal necropolis, the site of Abydos


has a particular significance in the history of ancient Egypt. All
of the kings of the First Dynasty, and two of the Second, were
buried in subterranean tombs at the site. Some 1.5km north of
the tombs are the remains of a group of contemporary
structures, namely, a series of enigmatic mud brick enclosures.
Given the remote location of the tombs and the likely modest
character of the tomb superstructures, the enclosures, which
were built overlooking the ancient town of Abydos, are likely to
have represented the primary monumental statement of royal
presence and power for each king at the site. The Abydos
enclosures also appear to comprise the earliest tradition of
monumental royal funerary building in Egypt.
Excavations in recent years have revealed the existence of
a number of previously unknown royal enclosures at Abydos, as
well as significant new information about those already known
and intriguing evidence about their use. The earliest of the
securely dated enclosures belong to the reign of King Aha at the
beginning of the First Dynasty, when significant increases in
scale and complexity also characterize the royal tomb. Most
enclosures of the First Dynasty were surrounded by the tombs
of courtiers, and recent excavations have resulted in the
discovery of a number of new tombs from the reign of Aha.
Although most had been looted, much remained of the tomb
assemblages and of the occupants themselves, providing
ABSTRACTS

information about the status and identity of the individuals


buried around the enclosures. Evidence from these tombs, as
well as re-examination of some of those adjacent to the
enclosure of King Djer, which were excavated many years ago
by Petrie, has also shed important new light on the question of
human sacrifice in Early Dynastic Egypt. Another previously
unknown large enclosure has been discovered that appears to
date to the beginning of the First Dynasty, or possibly to the
end of Dynasty ‘0’. This enclosure also had associated graves,
but these contained the remains of 10 much-worked donkeys.
Another of the enclosures featured a group of 14 large boat
graves adjacent to it, each comprised of a boat-shaped mud
brick grave structure that contained an actual wooden boat.
Evidence for cultic practice has been found in several of
the enclosures, and each ruler’s enclosure may have represented
the primary setting for the performance of rituals associated
with the royal funerary cult. With one exception, each of the
known enclosures appears to have existed as a standing
monument for only a short time, perhaps the duration of the
reign of the ruler for which it was built. Most significantly,
evidence has been found to suggest that the enclosures may
have been ritually demolished, undergoing a form of symbolic
burial, such that it would be available to the king in the next
world along with his interred courtiers. The only one of the
Abydos enclosures still standing today was the last and largest,
built for King Khasekhemwy at the end of the Second Dynasty.
It, too, has produced significant evidence for its use in
connection with the funerary cult of the king, as well as for how
it was revered and reused by later generations. For several years,
a comprehensive large-scale program of architectural
conservation has been underway at this enclosure, with the aim
of preserving the single surviving representative of the early
royal monumental building tradition at Abydos.

39
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

The Rayayna Crossroads: life, death and the divine in the


Upper Egyptian Desert
Deborah DARNELL
Yale University, USA

During the past ten field seasons, the Theban Desert Road
Survey has identified and recorded the remains of an important
and distinctive Predynastic culture in the broad desert bay and
the deep wadis west of modern Rayayna and Rizeiqat. The
people of this area – the Rayayna Desert – appear to have had
connections with Western Desert and Nubian/Sudanese
Neolithic cultures, their distinctive ceramic fabrics and forms
being most closely associated with the elusive Tasian culture.
The Rayayna Culture was later increasingly interconnected and
perhaps ultimately integrated with the Predynastic cultures of
the Nile Valley (D. Darnell 2002).
Four major sites in the area preserve important remains
of the Rayayna Culture: 1) a cave with important botanical,
faunal, lithic and ceramic assemblages in the far west (the ‘Cave
of the Wooden Pegs’); 2) a decorated cave of apparent religious
significance in the north-west (the ‘Cave of the Hands’); 3) a
burial feature in the north-east (the ‘Rayayna Burial Feature’);
and 4) a probable campsite in the south-east (the ‘Beaker
Feature’). The ceramic and lithic remains at these sites link them
all temporally and culturally and reveal what may best be
characterized as an eclectic branch of the Tasian culture.

The Cave of the Wooden Pegs


The cave in the far west of the area preserves considerable
quantities of ash, with botanical, faunal, ceramic and lithic
remains interspersed. The botanical remains include a number of
non-food plants that most likely represent animal fodder as well
as starters for cooking fires (Acacia ssp., Grewia, Citrullus
colocynthus, and Zilla spinosa). Other botanical evidence reveals
elements of the Rayaynan diet, such as Sorgum halipense, Moringa

40
ABSTRACTS

peregrina, carob (Ceratonia siliqua), and Ziziphus spina-christi (Jajube,


the nabq eaten in Egypt today). Only a few domesticated plants
appear in the undisturbed, earliest layers (corresponding to the
early phase of the Rayaynan Culture, prior to the presence of
imported Nile Valley ceramics). These include six-rowed hulled
barley (Hordeum vulgare ssp. vulgare), hulled emmer (Triticum
turgidum ssp. dicoccon) and a group that is either emmer or einkorn
(Triticum dicoccon/monicoccon). The small amounts of these grains
do not suggest use on a large scale.
Although ongoing botanical analysis may provide
additional information, the Predynastic people using the Cave of
the Wooden Pegs appear to have had a relatively limited range
of edible plant resources. In contrast, the considerable remains
of flint tools, debitage, animal hair and bones from the cave
indicate that the diet of the Rayaynans was based more on
animal resources, including those gained through hunting, than
on agriculture or plant gathering. The relative paucity of barley
and emmer suggests that the people were careful not to lose any
of what, to them, must have been very precious grains.

The Cave of the Hands


The decorated rock shelter in the north-western part of the
Rayayna Desert, with minimal evidence of habitation outside it,
reveals definite patterns in the layout of Predynastic art. The
principal areas are: 1) large rocks facing the entrance to the cave;
2) several large crevices leading a short distance into the gebel to
the left of the main cave entrance; and 3) the ceiling of the cave
proper. The images on the rocks facing the cave (area 1) are
almost exclusively giraffes, other quadrupeds – principally desert
animals – and boats. In the large crevices (area 2) are some
quadrupeds as well as human figures. A number of the latter
figures are strangely stylized – some elongated, others with
enormous hands. A number of images of fish also appear, along
with curious abstract designs. On the ceiling of the cave (area 3)
are negative prints of hands, outlined in red; a few prints were
made by dipping the hand in red pigment. The ceiling also

41
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

preserves a single large figure in red depicting what appears to


be a running man with an elaborate headdress. The outermost
areas depict the terrestrial world (area 1); the gaps leading into
the rock seem to show those animals yielding to fish, inorganic
designs and strangely made human figures. Thus, the natural
world (area 1) becomes a world of somehow unnatural humans,
the terrestrial becomes aquatic, and the organic becomes
inorganic as one literally progresses into the hillside (area 2).
Finally, within the cave (area 3), attention is focused on the
ceiling. Apparently the rock art shows a progression from the
diurnal world outside to some transformed space within the cave
– the natural gives way to the supernatural. The significance of
the Cave of the Hands for potential understanding of the
religious beliefs of the Rayaynan people is, therefore,
considerable.

The Burial Feature


In the north-eastern portion of the Rayayna Desert, a large stone
enclosure surrounds a series of superimposed burials. Several
belong to newborns, who despite their young age received burial
goods. A number of the burials indicate the reuse of earlier
graves. One intact burial pit contained three bodies, with an
initial interment still present at the bottom, its burial goods in
place, but the head had been removed and set in the far north of
the pit. Two additional bodies were added later as collections of
bones, with the heads stacked atop the head of the initial burial.
Similar to the ossuary burials at Gebel Ramlah in the Nabta
Playa region (Kobusiewicz et al. 2004), the Rayayna burials
suggest a possibly transhumant lifestyle for the Rayaynan
culture, with bodies later retrieved for final interment at one or
more burial sites.
Decorated boulders bearing pecked images surround the
burial feature. The figures are principally abstract designs and
animals, including horned quadrupeds, ostriches and giraffes as
well as dogs, elephants and possibly the earliest depiction of a
hyena. The closest parallels for the designs and the pecked

42
ABSTRACTS

execution thereof – and to some extent the location of the art


on boulders – come from the region of Abka in Nubia. As with
certain of the ceramic fabrics attested in the Rayayna Desert,
also in the rock art are connections with Abka in Nubia. Our
location plan of these boulders reveals that their spatial
distribution has the burial feature as its focus, and probably
relates to the significance of that feature as a burial place and a
site of religious importance. Again we have in the Rayayna
Desert unparalleled evidence for the religious beliefs of the
earliest Predynastic cultures.

The Beaker Feature


In the south-eastern corner of the great desert bay are the sand-
covered remains of a dry-stone structure of early Predynastic
date, with a fragmentary but varied set of remains. The ceramic
assemblage includes not only a variety of vessels of more
utilitarian type, but also ripple burnished, black-topped vessels
with restricted necks, and sherds of elaborately decorated
versions of classic Tasian beakers. The ceramic assemblage is
strikingly similar – in forms and fabrics – to a Tasian burial
feature from the Eastern Desert (Wadi Atulla; Friedman &
Hobbs 2002). The fabric of the Tasian beaker sherds from the
Rayayna Beaker Feature is similar to Abkan sand tempered silt, a
Nubian fabric we have also identified on the Kurkur to Dunqul
route atop the Sinn el-Kiddab plateau (and also attested from
the Catfish Cave site in Lower Nubia, now in the Yale Peabody
Museum). Some of the fabrics and forms in the Rayayna Beaker
Feature find close parallels in the remains we discovered in the
Tasian cave near the Wadi el-Hôl (D. Darnell 2002), and in the
burial feature discussed above.
The Tasian ceramics from the Rayayna Desert – with the
Tasian material from the Wadi el-Hôl site – are the first direct
links between the Tasian vessels of the Deir Tasa region in
Middle Egypt, those of Gebel Ramlah in the south (not far from
the Sinn el-Kiddab escarpment in the region of Nabta Playa),
and the Tasian material from the Eastern Desert. Like the

43
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Tasian material from the Wadi el-Hôl, that at the Beaker Feature
is directly associated with a major desert road. Both of the
Tasian assemblages we have discovered in the Western Desert
suggest that the Tasians of the Theban Desert were closely
associated with desert routes, and perhaps with desert travel and
commerce. Just as the Wadi el-Hôl Tasians were active on a
major Western Desert road leading north and west out of the
Thebaid, so the Rayayna Tasians were active on the Darb
Gallaba, a major route leading south out of the Thebaid.
Although the Tasian culture was first identified at Deir
Tasa, near Badari in southern Middle Egypt (Brunton 1937), the
people of that culture buried near Deir Tasa were probably
desert Tasians who were interacting intensively with the Nile
Valley Egyptians, and were perhaps already semi-sedentary,
‘Niloticized’ versions of the Tasians. The earliest elements of the
Rayayna group appear to be living and working exclusively in
what is now arid desert, and only later do they begin to interact
with the Nilotic cultures. The ceramic fabrics from the Rayayna
Desert reveal affinities with other Saharan ceramic material, and
with the Abkan and Early A-Group traditions of Nubia,
suggesting that the desert Tasians have their earliest associations
with the far west and south. The Rayayna Tasian culture appears
to be one of a number of intermediary groups who blended
Saharan, Nubian, and nascent Nilotic cultures.

Bibliography

BRUNTON, G., 1937. Mostagedda and the Tasian Culture. London.


DARNELL, D., 2002. Gravel of the Desert and broken Pots in
the Road: Ceramic Evidence from the Routes between
the Nile and Kharga Oasis [in:] FRIEDMAN, R.F. (ed.),
Egypt and Nubia. Gifts of the Desert. London: 156-177.
FRIEDMAN, R.F. & HOBBS, J., 2002. A ‘Tasian’ Tomb in Egypt’s
Eastern Desert [in:] FRIEDMAN, R.F. (ed.), Egypt and
Nubia. Gifts of the Desert. London: 178-191.

44
ABSTRACTS

KOBUSIEWICZ, M.; KABACINSKI, J.; SCHILD, R.; IRISH, J.D. &


WENDORF, F., 2004. Discovery of the first Neolithic
Cemetery in Egypt’s Western Desert. Antiquity 78: 566-
578.

Origins of monumental architecture: investigations at


Hierakonpolis HK6 in 2008
Renée FRIEDMAN
Hierakonpolis Expedition/British Museum, London, UK

Recent investigations in the elite predynastic cemetery, Locality


HK6, at Hierakonpolis have revealed the largest tomb of this
time period yet known (Tomb 23), and one outfitted with the
earliest evidence for above-ground architecture in Egypt.
Undoubtedly the tomb of an early king, excavations in 2008
have revealed that it was only one part of a larger precinct
reserved for the construction of multi-columned wooden
buildings, or hypostyle halls, an architectural form hypothetically
postulated for this period, but never before actually found.
These remarkable above-ground structures have no tomb
in clear association with them, and the entire precinct, at least in
its earliest phases, appears to be free of human burials. Given
their location within a cemetery and the ritual and prestige
objects found within them, these buildings may have been
erected for the performance of funerary rites and as such, appear
to be Egypt’s earliest funerary temples.
The superimposed walls of several structures indicate that
demolition and new construction stretches back for many
generations prior to the building of Tomb 23. At least three
phases of construction can be detected, and within each phase,
growing levels of effort and elaboration are evident. Although
built entirely of wood, these funerary temples were not meant to
be ephemeral. Nearly 1,000 years after they were built and more

45
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

than 300 years after the cemetery was abandoned, offerings of


bread and beer dating to the early Third Dynasty indicate that
some of them (i.e., the final phase buildings) were still present
and the object of veneration. This unanticipated activity at this
time presents the intriguing possibility that parts of the stone-
built Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara were deliberately
modeled on the ancient wooden architecture observed in the
cemetery precinct at HK6.

Recent investigations at Tell el-Fara‘in (Buto) in the


western Nile Delta
Ulrich HARTUNG
German Archaeological Institute, Cairo, Egypt

The settlement mound of Buto (modern Tell el-Fara‘in) is


situated in the north-west Nile Delta and features mud brick
ruins rising up to 18m above the surrounding cultivation. Buto
is already mentioned on Early Dynastic labels and seal
impressions and seems to have played an important role during
the Old Kingdom and throughout Pharaonic times as a
counterpart to Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt, both in religious
belief and in cultic life. However, until today, rather little is
known archaeologically about the history of the site. The visible
ruins mostly date to the Ptolemaic/Roman periods, while others
are perhaps of Late Dynastic date. Even the first excavations,
conducted at the beginning of the 20th century and during the
1960s on behalf of the EES, revealed only Late Period remains.
Therefore, during the 1980s the German Archaeological
Institute, Cairo, began investigations which focused on the early
history of the site. During this work, conducted by T. von der
Way, a Predynastic occupation with a material culture similar to
that of Maadi was found for the first time within the Nile Delta
proper. Early Dynastic layers were also detected which yielded

46
ABSTRACTS

remains of a large administrative building. The work highlighted


the problems of excavating such early layers at Buto: all early
remains are covered by thick later deposits, and the Predynastic
layers are found below the modern water table and may be
reached only by means of pumping equipment. These difficulties
considerably restrict the size and scope of excavations at the site.
Besides ongoing excavations, a systematic survey was
started in 1999, combining auger drillings and geophysical
survey in order to build a more complete understanding of the
site’s history. Comparison of the results obtained by both
methods allows the reconstruction of the general development
of the settlement in connection with the surrounding landscape
and is also of great help in selecting distinctive areas for further
excavation. Recent work has focussed mainly on two areas at
Buto. The investigation of the Early Dynastic administrative
building complex was continued and revealed its palace-like
character which seems to confirm the assumption that it might
be the so-called ‘Palace of the harpooning Horus’. This royal
estate is well-known from seal impressions during the First and
Second Dynasties and is thought by scholars to be situated at
Buto. The second excavation area was chosen after drillings had
indicated Old Kingdom and Early Dynastic deposits relatively
close to the surface, and magnetic measurements had provided
the outlines of unusual structures. Although only Late Dynastic
and Old Kingdom structural remains have come to light so far,
some of the finds and other evidence point to a special cultic
function for the place. Perhaps it is to be identified with the holy
district where the pr-nw sanctuaries were situated – another
landmark of Buto, depicted already on Early Dynastic labels, in
Old Kingdom tombs and still represented on the doorjambs of
the palace of Apries at Memphis. This paper will present the
results of the latest work at the site.

47
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Origins of monumental architecture: recent excavations at


Hierakonpolis HK29B and HK25
Thomas HIKADE
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Michael Hoffman’s work at HK29A in the 1980s, resumed by


Renée Friedman in 2002 and 2008, revealed an early ceremonial
complex and possibly Egypt’s earliest temple. This complex
included an oval, mud-plastered courtyard floor surrounded by a
phased series of post- and mud brick walls as well as four large
postholes believed to support the façade of the main shrine.
New excavations north of HK29A were begun in autumn 2005
by the University of British Columbia, with the aim of exploring
how the monumental precinct may have interacted with the
Predynastic settlement. The two areas explored, HK29B and
HK25, have already revealed a substantial amount of new data
relating to the architecture of the 4th millennium BC.
At HK29B the foundation trench of a palisade at least 50
meters long has been uncovered. More than 20 large postholes,
up to 140cm in depth, were found to the north of the palisade
trench. Remains of wood indicate that large posts, or,
hypothetically, carved wooden statues, were placed inside the
large holes. The orientation of the palisade indicated a strong
relationship with the temple structure at HK29A. In 2008,
evidence was uncovered for at least two phases of construction:
an older phase that comprised a line of the larger holes running
south-east to north-west and a second phase that involves the
palisade trench. Based on ceramic evidence, the area at HK29B
was in use during the Naqada IIB–D period. Large body sherds
and small rim sherds of tall, slender black-topped beakers, egg-
shaped hole-mouth jars and matt red collared jars were found
associated with the foundation trench. These rather unusual
forms were also found in large numbers in association with the
HK29A temple and in deposits within the elite cemetery at

48
ABSTRACTS

HK6, indicating a special, possibly cultic function for these


vessels.
In the area of HK25, the remains of a large columned hall
were unearthed. A layer of clean sand, the early precursor of the
‘High Sand’ of Dynastic Egypt, had been placed on top of the
Pleistocene Nile formation and then covered with a thick mud
floor. The hall consists of at least five rows of 10 columns and
measures at least 20 x 8m. The lack of finds directly associated
with the building makes it difficult to date. Most of the ceramic
and lithic material is similar to the Naqada II assemblages at
HK29B, but there are also some differences.
The intriguing remains of a possible deposit of precious
stone tools can be linked to the building at HK25. This included
objects such as fragments of bifacial flint knives, projectile
points and mace-heads, dating to Naqada I–IIA, and several
hundred ‘flint-rings’. These stone objects were all deliberately
burnt and may have been placed as a foundation deposit for the
columned hall at HK25. The structures at both HK29B and
HK25 have a similar orientation to the precinct at HK29A, and
thus they may all belong to a monumental architectural complex
created by the people of Hierakonpolis during the second half of
the 4th millennium BC.

Upper Nubia before the emergence of Kerma: a fortified


settlement from the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC
Matthieu HONNEGGER
Laténium, Hauterive, Switzerland

Over the past 10 years, research on the prehistory of the Kerma


region has focused on the period preceding the kingdom of
Kerma, from the first sedentary settlements (c. 8000 BC) to the
development of the Pre-Kerma culture (c. 3500–2500 BC). The
archaeological discoveries demonstrate that the region was very

49
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

dynamic, especially during the Neolithic period, and contained


huge settlements and numerous cemeteries. The conditions that
led to the emergence of the Kerma civilisation are still difficult
to reconstruct due to the scarcity of sites dated before 2500 BC;
however, the excavation of a large Pre-Kerma settlement
agglomeration, south of the Third Cataract, provides crucial
information on the process of proto-urbanisation and the
organisation of a protohistoric settlement in this area at c. 3000
BC. Covering a surface of approximately two hectares, the
agglomeration is composed of huts, rectangular buildings,
numerous pits, fences and fortifications. These fortifications
have been traced for a distance of 160m and were composed of
six parallel palisades forming a unit 8m wide. Comparisons with
other archaeological fortifications in the Nile Valley and with
ethnographic data can help us to better understand the
architectural tradition and the importance of this defensive
system.

‘Lascaux along the Nile’: Late Pleistocene rock art in


Egypt
Dirk HUYGE
Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels, Belgium

In March–April 2004, a survey of rock art in the el-Hosh area on


the west bank of the Nile, about 30km south of Edfu in Upper
Egypt, led to the discovery of a hitherto unknown petroglyph
locality on the southernmost tip of a Nubian sandstone hill
called Abu Tanqura Bahari, about 4km south of the modern
village of el-Hosh. This locality (designated ATB11) shows,
among other things, several images of bovids executed in a
vigorous naturalistic ‘Franco-Cantabrian, Lascaux-like’ style that
are quite different from the stylised cattle representations in the
‘classical’ Predynastic iconography of the 4th millennium BC.

50
ABSTRACTS

On the basis of patination and weathering, these bovid


representations are extremely old. They most probably predate
the fish-trap representations and associated scenery previously
documented at several locations in the el-Hosh area and AMS
14C dated to >7000 BP. As these el-Hosh bovid images are

similar to cattle representations discovered in the Gebel Silsila


region on the east bank of the Nile by the Canadian Prehistoric
Expedition in 1962–1963, the Belgian mission attempted to
retrace the latter images. The attempt was successful and the
sites were recovered in October–November 2005 near the
modern village of Qurta, along the northern edge of the Kom
Ombo Plain, about 40km south of Edfu and 15km north of
Kom Ombo. As far as is known, these sites, which are still in
pristine condition, have not been visited by archaeologists since
the time of their discovery in 1962–1963. There are at least 160
individual images in total.
The rock art of Qurta consists mainly of naturalistically
drawn animal figures, none of which show any evidence for
domestication. These naturalistic images of animals are often
combined with highly schematic human figures. The dimensions
of the drawings are exceptional: often the bovids are larger than
0.80m; the largest example measures over 1.80m. In this respect,
the Qurta rock art is quite unlike the rock art of the Predynastic
period, in which animal figures are only exceptionally over 0.40–
0.50m in size. Based on nearby archaeology, a stratigraphic
position immediately below the ‘Wild Nile’ silts, and stylistic
comparisons, we propose an attribution of this Qurta rock art to
the Late Pleistocene Ballanan-Silsilian culture or a Late
Palaeolithic culture of similar nature and age, thus about 15,000
years BP.

51
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Memphis at the dawn of history: recent excavations in the


Early Dynastic necropolis at Helwan
E. Christiana KÖHLER
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

The recent excavations of the Australian mission to Helwan


have uncovered more than 140 tombs dating from the First to
the Fourth Dynasty. The current project’s main objectives are to
examine the social organization, architecture, chronology,
material culture, funerary rituals and bio-archaeology of Early
Dynastic society in the Memphite region, in order to elucidate a
range of concepts relevant to the more advanced stages within
the process of state formation in Egypt.
One of the very notable characteristics of this cemetery is
the mortuary variability within each chronological stage. In part,
this can be explained by the presence of several distinct social
classes who chose tomb size, construction materials and
architecture according to their economic means. This evidence
assists in the reconstruction of the social organization and, in
particular, the definition of the social complexity and vertical
differentiation of early Egyptian society at the capital city
Memphis. On the other hand, variations in the orientation and
furnishings of the burials also suggest that within each period
there may have been a degree of horizontal differentiation
indicating the existence of different social groupings whose
distinction is not necessarily affected by social stratification.
This paper will summarize and discuss the latest results of
ongoing excavations at Helwan in light of the current
understanding of the emergence of Memphis as the primary
urban centre of early historic Egypt.

52
ABSTRACTS

A tale of two funerary traditions: the Predynastic cemetery


at Kom el-Khilgan (East Delta)
Béatrix MIDANT-REYNES
CNRS, Centre d’Anthropologie de Toulouse, France

The Predynastic cemetery of Kom el-Khilgan is located in the


eastern Delta, approximately 40km from the modern city of el-
Mansoura. The site was identified in the 1980s by the Egyptian
Antiquities Organization as containing Predynastic and Early
Dynastic remains. It is a flattened residual mound, longer than it
is wide (measuring approximately 130m north–south by 70m
east–west, and covering an area of 8,600m2) with a gentle slope
from south to north of about 1cm per metre, and surrounded by
a number of small pockets of cultivated land. The modern
landscape is completely flat, but this was certainly not the case
during the Predynastic period. Thousands of years of flooding
and the extensive agricultural work which commenced during
the 19th century and continues today, have completely changed
the environment and the original topography of the site.
Excavations began in 2002 under the aegis of the French
Institute of Archaeology in Cairo (IFAO) and continued until
2005. A total of 35 test trenches were opened in order to
determine the total extent of the site. They revealed that the
entire area of occupation has been totally destroyed by the
activity of modern farmers. Kom el-Khilgan is just a small part
of an occupation that was originally much larger, but whose full
extent is now impossible to determine. The only archaeological
remains preserved are exclusively situated on the kom itself,
namely an area of 1,860m2 in the north-eastern part of the site.
In 2005 a small area of 200m2 was chosen for excavation
down to sterile soil in order to obtain a spatial view of the
remains and to compile a complete stratigraphic sequence. The
stratigraphy of the site shows seven phases of occupation, which
can be summarised as belonging to two main periods: in the
upper levels, the Dynastic period is represented mainly by the

53
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Second Intermediate Period settlement and cemetery (phase 5 =


Fifteenth Dynasty); in the lower level, within the light coloured
sand of the gezira, the Predynastic period is represented by a
necropolis. This large cemetery contains burials from the two
main cultural components of Predynastic Egypt: phases 1 and 2
belong to the Lower Egyptian culture (Buto-Maadi), and phase 3
to the Naqada culture (Naqada IIIA–C). A total of 217 graves
were excavated. This paper will present the main results of the
study of the cemetery, which is vital for a better understanding
of the phenomena that led to the unification of the ‘Two Lands’
at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC.

Released from the sand: new insights into the royal


necropolis at Abydos Umm el-Qa‘ab
Vera MÜLLER
Commission of Egypt and the Levant, Austrian Academy of Sciences,
Vienna, Austria

During re-investigation of the Early Dynastic royal cemetery in


Abydos Umm el-Qa‘ab, ongoing since 1977, the German
Archaeological Institute Cairo (DAIK) has fully cleared six of
the ten royal tomb complexes: those of Aha, Den, Semerkhet,
Qaa, Peribsen and Khasekhemwy. Clearance of the tomb of
Djer, the largest tomb complex with over 300 subsidiary burials,
was begun in autumn 2005 and will continue for several more
years.
In contrast to the earlier excavations by Amélineau, Petrie
and Naville, undertaken at the turn of the 20th century, the
DAIK is investigating both the tomb architecture and the
surrounding excavation spoil heaps, which is a very time-
consuming task. These dumps not only contain vast amounts of
the original tomb equipment but also enormous quantities of
offerings – mainly pottery vessels – from later periods, resulting

54
ABSTRACTS

from pilgrimage to the cult of Osiris, which probably


commenced during the Middle Kingdom. The cultic activities at
this time were not only focussed on the tomb of Djer, which
was later considered to be the tomb of Osiris, but all of the
other royal tombs were also integrated into the cult.
The vast number of pottery vessels produced by the new
excavations of the Early Dynastic royal tombs will help to create
a distinct relative chronology, dated according to the reigns of
individual kings, which will serve as a foundation for other areas
in Egypt where no inscribed materials have been found.
The removal of the spoil heaps has not only provided
much clearer insight into the variations and amount of the
original tomb equipment, but has also revealed architectural
details which were not observed by our predecessors working in
this area, especially with regard to the covering of the tombs. It
has also become clear that the royal tombs were not delimited
by enclosure walls that separated them from each other, as for
instance is the case for the contemporary tombs at Saqqara. In
addition, there can no longer be any doubt that every king
enlarged and changed his tomb in the course of its construction
– a practice that was later followed by their successors during
the more prominent eras of Egyptian history. This is especially
true for the tomb of Khasekhemwy, which was the immediate
forerunner of the (often-changed) Step pyramid of Djoser.

55
‘Egypt at its Origins’
The Third International Colloquium on
Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt

Factors of state formation in Protodynastic Egypt


Branislav ANĐELKOVIĆ
University of Belgrade, Serbia

State formation in Protodynastic Egypt seems to have been the


synergistic result of a number of factors; however, those
mutually interacting components did not all affect the state
formation process at the same time, in the same way or in equal
proportion. The formative environment should rather be
perceived as a matrix of factors, each of which may have been of
crucial importance at a certain point. Nevertheless, only the
factor(s) which directly brought the state formation process to
its successful completion should be considered predominant.
Amongst these are: the natural annual fertility, and the high solar
insolation level, both of which created the ideal conditions for
fruitful agriculture; the subsistence-friendly combination of the
river, flood plain and low desert ecosystems, including
economically favourable biodiversity; and the stimulatory
possibilities of low-cost riverine transport, to mention but a few.
Although these factors are present to some degree along
the entire 3,000km stretch of the Nile, from Khartoum to the
Mediterranean, notably the only area where a state was
conceived extends to the north and south of the Qena bend in
the Naqada heartland. In other words, it seems that the driving
forces, i.e., the predominant factors in this particular case,
should rather be seen in certain features of the Naqada culture
itself – particularly in the domain of social, ideological, religious,
symbolic and mythological values – and in how this value system
was organised.
ABSTRACTS

Judging from the omnipresent motifs of conflict and


domination, power was a leading concern to the Naqada elite.
The territorial and cultural expansion of the Naqada culture as
well as internal conflict over power, aside from their pragmatic
meaning, might have had an additional ideological and religious
dimension, introducing and maintaining the divine order and
ultimate harmony symbolised by the Divine King.
Among the important characteristics of the Naqada
culture was also its entrepreneurial and exploitative ‘foreign
policy’, ranging from iconographic ‘creative borrowing’ via
warfare, to colonization. The consideration of these elements,
along with some others, is of great importance for our
understanding of the state formation process in Protodynastic
Egypt.

Evidence for early ritual activity in the Predynastic


settlement at el-Mahâsna
David A. ANDERSON
Dept. of Sociology and Archaeology, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse,
USA

In the autumn of 2000, the el-Mahâsna Archaeological Project


(working under the aegis of the University of Pennsylvania, Yale
University, and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Expedition to Abydos) conducted large-scale excavations at the
Predynastic settlement of el-Mahâsna, located approximately
10km north of the Abydos core area. These excavations
uncovered Predynastic habitation remains dating from the
Naqada Ic–IIcd period, including the remnants of a large, more
substantially constructed structure. This paper will present
information on this structure and its associated artifact
assemblages. Specifically, data suggesting early ritual activity will
be discussed, including the presence of a large assemblage of

57
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

anthropomorphic and zoomorphic clay figurines, as well as


observed differences in recovered faunal remains from the
structure. This paper concludes by suggesting that the structure
at el-Mahâsna may be the remains of an early cultic/ritual
building dating to the Naqada Ic-IIab period.

The phonetic intention. Ideograms and phonograms in


potmarks of Dynasties 0, I and II
Alain ANSELIN
Université des Antilles-Guyane, Martinique

Undeniably, Egyptian predynastic potmarks require diachronic


and diastratic approaches. Their authors, be they potters or
owners, developed an ideographic system with many original
signs before the proto-hieroglyphic system appeared with
meanings that perhaps refer to the names of gods, persons, or
products (Bréand 2005). As we may assume that potters worked
for the elite, beginning in Dynasty I, an interaction between
potmarks and powermarks emerged. The two types begin to share a
few groups of ideograms, as nwt and nÚr (van den Brink 1992),
perhaps in reference to the names of domains, as current on
seals.
The author here wishes to remind the reader of the
characteristics of iconographic systems. First, any iconic sign
refers to an object and not the reverse. Secondly, the
ideographic sign is characterized by a double articulation:
semantic and phonetic. Thirdly, this double value makes it
available for the invention of ideographic codes based on
semantic articulation, and of phonographic codes based on
phonetic articulation. Fourthly, any iconic sign can be associated
with other signs, with which it forms iconographic texts. The
identification of the system of signs used in an inscription by

58
ABSTRACTS

identification of the semantic or phonetic articulation which


regulates it constitutes an essential condition to its reading.
The complexity of inscriptions, potmarks and powermarks
of the first dynasties makes them outstanding. The author
studied two phenomena in correlation with the semographic and
phonographic bivalence of ideograms. The first, of synthetic
nature, combines two ideograms into a unique one, in reference
to conceptual models belonging to Egyptian culture. The
second, of analytic nature, uses logograms as a contiguous
feature of what they represent and their phonetic value. For
instance, the bigram (N13) of the lunar month, t “bd (moon,
N11 + star, N14), associated with monograms, nÚr, mr, appears
on potmarks. The bigram (W25) of tribute (a bowl, W24, and
legs, D54), uniting a gesture and a container on the basis of a
cultural pattern, c , 1tc µnµ, herbeibringen, holen (Wb I 90) abound
on powermarks. The synthetic activity which characterises all
bigrams couples with intense analytical activity. The bigram of
µnw supports the commutation of two elements, bowl and fish,
b p
without affecting its significance: c 5 , b µn.w, herbeigebrachte
Gaben, Geschenke, Produkte (Wb I 91).
For example, analytical activity affects the group µn
k“(.µ) on a Den powerfact label (Dynasty I), which cuts off the
word into phonetic units, and powermarks of Dynasty II supply
the bigram µnw with a phonetic complement, n, as a guide for
reading and indicator of system . These are the same signs as
those of the ideographic wording, but it is no longer the same
system of signs.
The rise of the phonetisation of hieroglyphs is supported
by the sociological extension of the writing and the royal
ideology to elites during Dynasty I, e.g., the tablet of Hemaka
and label of Houba spell out anthroponyms.
It is the time of the apogee of the potmarks. The author
analyses some groups of ideograms ruled out by the syntax of
the Egyptian language, all devoid of the grammatical elements

59
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

and phonetic complements of classic writing, identifying limits


and obstacles of early phonetic strategy.
A relatively ideographic autonomous system linked with a
professional group, whose function and relationship to power
are still to be determined (van den Brink 1992), potmarks of the
first dynasties are more a reflection of the state of the hieroglyphy
of their time than a benchmark of its phonographisation.
T
Although they share a few combinations of signs, for instance w
mr.k“, with powermarks of Dynasty I, a comparison shows that
those, such as mr(r) k“ and mr.t k“ write phonetic complement
and morphemes (Kahl 2002–4), and suggests that powermarks
provide the best examples of phonetic intention, extending the
economy of the hieroglyphic system to the grammatical
elements – a definitive step toward the writing of complete royal
texts.

Bibliography

BRÉAND, G. 2005. Les marques et graffiti sur poteries de


l'Egypte pré- et protodynastique. Perspectives de
recherches à partir de l'exemple d'Adaïma. Archéo-Nil 15:
17-30.
VAN DEN B RINK, E.C.M., 1992. Corpus and Numerical
Evaluation of the ‘Thinite’ Potmarks [in:] FRIEDMAN, R.
& ADAMS, B. (eds.), The Followers of Horus. Studies Dedicated
to Michael Allen Hoffman. Oxbow Monograph 20. Oxford:
265-296.
KAHL, J.; Mitarbeit BRETSCHNEIDER, M. & KNEISSLER, B.,
2002. Frühägyptisches Wörterbuch. Erste Lieferung. 3 - f.
Wiesbaden.
KAHL, J.; Mitarbeit BRETSCHNEIDER, M. & KNEISSLER, B.,
2003. Frühägyptisches Wörterbuch. Zweite Lieferung m - h.
Wiesbaden.
KAHL, J.; Mitarbeit BRETSCHNEIDER, M. & KNEISSLER, B.,
2004. Frühägyptisches Wörterbuch. Dritte Lieferung h - H.
Wiesbaden.

60
ABSTRACTS

Pottery production at Hierakonpolis during the Naqada II


period
Masahiro BABA
Cardiff School of History and Archaeology, Cardiff University, Wales, UK
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan

In the study of Predynastic pottery, aspects of the production


technique have remained obscure, mainly because there has
been relatively little archaeological data on which to base
discussion. At Hierakonpolis, however, kilns and other evidence
for pottery manufacture have been identified. Recent
excavations at HK11C have revealed the remains of pottery
kilns and large quantities of sherds deriving from straw-
tempered jars dated to Naqada II (Friedman 2004; Baba 2006).
These materials allow observations to be made on the
techniques of pottery production. Generally, the sequence of
pottery-making consists of the acquisition of raw materials, its
preparation, forming, and firing. The techniques chosen by the
ancient potters and used at each stage are currently being
investigated and integrated into a technological sequence as part
of my PhD research (Baba 2008). In this paper the focus is on
firing technique as deduced from the structural remains of kilns
discovered at HK11C.
HK11C is situated on the wadi terrace flanking the south
side of the Wadi Abu Suffian. Since 2004, ongoing excavations
have revealed at least five pit-kiln features in the area thus far
examined. Each kiln was placed beside a segment of wall
approximately 30cm high made of stone and mud. The pits
average 60–70cm in diameter and were found filled with kiln
debris, including charcoal, ash and sherds. The best-preserved
kiln retained a composition of three rocks and a large sherd set
around the edge of a pit. Over the top of the pit was a stone
slab.
From this evidence, it is likely that the kilns were
constructed of four parts: pit, slab, covering and wall. The pit

61
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

served as a chamber to hold the fuel. The slab placed above the
pit served to protect the pots from direct contact with the fire.
The covering of sherds and mud over the pots served to fire
them efficiently by retaining the heat. The wall segment was
used to support the covering. Although there were no in situ
remains of this covering, debris found around the kilns
contained a large number of sherds with burnt mud adhering to
them. Experimental firings attest that this method works
successfully (Baba 2005).
While these pit-kilns were primitive and may be classified
as a bonfire type, they were technologically advanced. The
covering allowed the temperature to rise gradually and the heat
to be retained inside. In addition to these advantages, the
arrangement of the slab above the fuel pit could have functioned
in a way similar to the floor in an updraft kiln, separating the
pots from direct fire and creating an even flame around the
vessels. Indeed, the straw-tempered jars from this site are well
fired and seldom show distinct and large stains caused by an
uneven exposure to fire and low temperature, i.e., features which
are familiar from bonfire firings (Baba & Saito 2004). In
addition, this method needs little adjustment after ignition and
requires less fuel than a bonfire.
The kilns from HK11C date to the Naqada II period
when the mass production of pottery is becoming evident, and
this easy and economical method would have been welcomed, if
not crucial, for the success of this industry.

Bibliography

BABA, M., 2005. Understanding the HK Potters: Experimental


Firings. Nekhen News 17: 20-21.
BABA, M., 2006. The Pottery Kilns at HK11C Revisited. Nekhen
News 18: 19.
BABA, M., 2008. Pottery Making Tools-Worked Sherds from
HK11C B4, Hierakonpolis [in:] MIDANT-REYNES, B.;
TRISTANT, Y. (eds.); ROWLAND, J. & HENDRICKX, S.

62
ABSTRACTS

(coll.), Egypt at its Origins 2. Proceedings of the International


Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic
Egypt”, Toulouse (France), 5th-8th September 2005. OLA.
Leuven / Paris / Dudley (forthcoming).
BABA, M. & SAITO, M., 2004. Experimental Studies on the
Firing Methods of the Black-topped Pottery in
Predynastic Egypt [in:] HENDRICKX, S.; FRIEDMAN, R.F.;
CIAŁOWICZ, K.M. & CHŁODNICKI, M. (eds.), Egypt at its
Origins. Studies in Memory of Barbara Adams. Proceedings of the
International Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and
Early Dynastic Egypt”, Kraków, 28th August-1st September
2002. OLA 138. Leuven / Paris / Dudley: 575-589.
FRIEDMAN, R., 2004. Predynastic Kilns at HK11C: One Side of
the Story. Nekhen News 16: 18-19.

Suggestions for revised chronological correlations of South


Levantine sites and the reign of Horus Narmer
Eliot BRAUN
W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeology
Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Ever since the first Narmer serekh from the southern Levant was
discovered at Tel Erani, scholars have been trying to identify
which occupations in that region were contemporary with this
king’s reign. In a series of earlier publications, the serekh was
assigned to Tel Erani Stratum IV and subsequently was
considered a chronological peg for south Levantine-Egyptian
correlations at the end of the 4th millennium BC. The
unearthing of a second Narmer serekh at Arad, assigned to the
Stratum IV occupation there, added another chronological peg,
which is now generally accepted.
Despite a more recent spate of additional discoveries of
serekhs bearing this king’s name, none of those additional

63
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

occurrences was discovered in situ, in sound stratigraphic


context. Thus, the absolute chronological correlations between
these regions for this time span rests on the evidence of only the
first two serekhs from Tel Erani and Arad, both purportedly
recovered from archaeologically significant find spots. However,
research into the find spot of the serekh from Tel Erani
questions its stratigraphic ascription, while a consideration of the
find spot of the Arad serekh also questions its stratigraphic
ascription.
This paper presents a review of the relevant data on the
archaeological provenance of these two objects, including some
previously unpublished information from the excavation records
of Tel Erani. Also considered are the Strata IV and III
occupations at Arad, in light of what is understood of Egyptian
activity in the southern Levant at the end of Dynasty ‘0’. The
paper offers a slightly refined scheme for the chronological
correlation of South Levantine occupations with the reign of
King Narmer. While these observations are particularly relevant
to the study of the Early Bronze Age in the southern Levant,
they also offer some evidence of tangential importance to the
beginnings of the Egyptian state by identifying neighboring
polities with which it came into contact on the very eve of the
First Dynasty.

Pre-firing potmarks corpus from Adaïma, Upper Egypt


(3700–2700 BC)
Gaëlle BRÉAND
CRPPM, CNRS-EHESS, UMR 5608 ‘TRACES’, Université Paul
Sabatier Toulouse III, Toulouse, France

In light of a renewed interest in Early Dynastic potmarks at the


Second International Conference on Predynastic and Early Dynastic
Egypt: Origin of the State (5th–8th of September 2005 in Toulouse,

64
ABSTRACTS

France), an international potmark forum and workshop was


initiated to discuss the role and function of this material in the
context of state formation (van den Brink 2007). This poster
presents unique data available from the study of pre-firing
potmarks found at the Predynastic site of Adaïma (Upper
Egypt).
The excavations at Adaïma were completed in 2005. A
total of 638 pre-firing potmarks was recovered from the two
cemeteries and the settlement; of these, 124 potmarks were
found in tombs and 514 in the settlement areas, with 480 pre-
firing marks concentrated in the larger and temporally most
recent domestic area.
The signs were placed on different types of pots, such as
jars, bowls, bread moulds, etc. The vessels are generally
complete in the cemeteries, but only fragments remain in the
settlement areas. The pots supporting these signs are made of
various fabrics that derive either from local alluvial soils or
limestone (marl). The latter type presumably comes from
specialized workshops, due to the quality of fabrication and
firing.
The marks were classified according to their formal
appearance. Some of the signs show a similarity with
hieroglyphs, like the signs Ìwt or nÚr. Others display various
geometric shapes. In contrast to many corpora from other sites,
which are more important in terms of size and centralisation
(van den Brink 1992), the combination of two or three signs on
the same pot is very rare at Adaïma.
The oldest mark – a cross-like shape – was found on the
interior rim of a jar recovered in a grave dated to Naqada IID,
excavated in the eastern cemetery. The presence of various
marks continues to be observed until the end of the utilisation
of the eastern cemetery (Naqada IIIC2-D, Third Dynasty).
The study of the material reveals different marking
systems correlating with the type of fabric and to the
form/function of the pot (transport/storage or food
preparation/cooking). Indeed, some signs appear primarily on

65
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

bread moulds made of alluvial fabric, while others are specific to


jars and bowls of limestone fabric. The messages embedded in
the signs are not ‘readable’ as writing, but the potmarks played
an active part in the economic sphere. This phenomenon is
attested at Tell el-Farkha, situated in the eastern Delta (Jucha
2008), where the same signs are found on the same types of pots
as in Adaïma, distinguished accordingly on alluvial or limestone
fabrics. Therefore, the question of the existence of workshops
distributing vessels on a large scale may be raised. In the same
way, the simultaneous presence of the same signs on bread
moulds manufactured locally in Upper and Lower Egypt allows
us to ponder the organisation of pottery production at the local
level.

Bibliography

JUCHA, M.A., 2005. Tell el-Farkha II. The Pottery of the Predynastic
Settlement (Phases 2 to 5). Kraków / Poznan.
JUCHA, M.A., 2008. The Corpus of “Potmarks” from the Graves
at Tell el-Farkha [in:] M IDANT-REYNES, B.; TRISTANT, Y.
(eds.); ROWLAND, J. & HENDRICKX, S. (coll.), Egypt at its
Origins 2. Proceedings of the International Conference “Origin of
the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt”, Toulouse
(France), 5th-8th September 2005. OLA. Leuven / Paris /
Dudley (forthcoming).
VAN DEN B RINK, E.C.M., 1992. Corpus and Numerical
Evaluation of the ‘Thinite’ Potmarks [in:] FRIEDMAN, R.
& ADAMS, B. (eds.), The Followers of Horus. Studies Dedicated
to Michael Allen Hoffman. Oxbow Monograph 20. Oxford:
265-296.
VAN DEN BRINK, E.C.M., 2007. Potmark-Egypt.com. Cahiers
Caribéens d’Egyptologie 10: 5-8.

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ABSTRACTS

Structural transformations of the Adaïma settlement during


the Predynastic period or reconstructing the history of a
village community
Nathalie BUCHEZ
CRPPM-Archéologie, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France

The site of Adaïma in Upper Egypt, comprising various


domestic and funerary areas, was excavated between 1989 and
2005. Occupied from 3700–2600 BC, i.e., during the Predynastic
period and the first dynasties, Adaïma represents a remarkable
research area from which to approach the question of the socio-
economic and cultural changes which marked the period before
pharaonic Egypt. For example, examining all the ceramic
materials collected from the settlement as well as from the
cemeteries with a topo-chronological perspective has led to a
reconsideration of the organisation and evolution of the
settlement and its link with concomitant changes in climate and
history. By studying ceramic material – the most abundant
remains on Pre- and Protodynastic sites – and by analysing the
structural transformation of the settlement and cemeteries
within the context of its time-scale, this presentation re-evaluates
the developmental stages of the state from the point of view of a
‘village’ community.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

A reconsideration of predynastic chronology: the


contribution of Adaïma
Nathalie BUCHEZ
CRPPM-Archéologie, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France

The necropoleis of Adaïma (Upper Egypt), excavated between


1989 and 2005, were in use from the end of Naqada I into the
Third Dynasty. When establishing the chronological sequence of
these cemeteries, the technique used was based on the seriation
process, with a view toward providing both new insights into
current relative chronologies which are based upon spatial
distribution analysis and also a new outlook on predynastic
necropoleis and their development. Seriation has already been
applied to predynastic cemeteries, but early studies have been
confronted by major methodological problems which derive
from the validity of the typologies employed.
Dealing with old data, with no possibility of recourse to
the original material, these studies were based on typologies
distorted by the heterogeneity and lack of rigour of the first
classification established by Petrie. The main feature of the
approach undertaken in Adaïma is that it was built upon a totally
new corpus based on first-hand material.
As a result, the Adaïma data appear partly discordant
when compared with the existing chronology established by W.
Kaiser’s important work and refined by Hendrickx. For
example, at the turning-point of the Naqada IIC and IID period,
no consistent group of tombs could be found which would
justify the existence of the sub-stage that appears in the
traditional chronology (IID1). The original hypothesis – that
burials of this period would be located in areas yet unexplored –
can no longer be accepted since full investigation of the site has
now been completed.
A new critical survey of other cemeteries indicates that
stage IID1 has no substance but is a construction resulting from
a methodological flaw.

68
ABSTRACTS

Nekhen: island origins and the migrating Nile


Judith BUNBURY
University of Cambridge, UK
Angus GRAHAM
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK

The town mound of Nekhen (Kom el-Gemuwia) stands in the


alluvial river valley isolated from the rest of the Predynastic
settlements and cemeteries that line the desert edge and
continue up to the ‘Great wadi’ to the south-west. It has been
suggested that the Nile may once have run between the kom and
the desert. Our understanding of the migration of the Nile
within the river valley from work at Karnak (Bunbury et al.
2008), Memphis (Jeffreys 1985, 2008; Jeffreys and Tavares 1994)
and Giza (Bunbury et al. in press; Lutley and Bunbury 2008)
suggested that this is a very plausible scenario.
To test this hypothesis we undertook a preliminary
landscape analysis of the Hierakonpolis region and made an
exploratory auger core near the kom under the auspices of the
Hierakonpolis Expedition. The location of the borehole (just off
the southern flank of the town mound) was chosen from
observations of satellite images, which suggested that it may lie
at the edge of a potential former island where we hoped to find
a silted channel and recover from it information on the time at
which it was active. Our method, developed at Karnak (Bunbury
et al. 2008), uses an Eijkelkamp hand auger to extract sediment
from a core located on the flank of the proposed island in a
minor channel since this is where the best preservation of
deposits occurs.
The interpretation of the satellite images using the
methods of Hillier et al. (2007) and Lutley and Bunbury (2008)
proved robust and the core retrieved water-lain sediments
typical of minor channels of the Nile. A complex set of deposits
was recovered from the borehole. The channel deposits at the
base of the core dated to the Predynastic and Early Dynastic

69
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

periods, suggesting that the town site in the alluvium had been
an island in the Nile during these times. However, during the in-
filling of this channel there were incursions of a yellow clay, un-
typical of the Nile valley but matching the clays of the desert in
the wadi. These clay deposits were also rich in pale angular clasts
and we interpret them as the products of wadi outwash from the
desert. Of the episodes of this clay deposition, the final one was
the most pronounced (~ 20 cm thick) suggesting increasingly
violent wash-outs. Following this, it appears that the Nile
migrated northwards away from Nekhen, returning close to the
site in the New Kingdom.
Were the wash-outs the product of increased rainfall in
the desert, desertification of a formerly vegetated hinterland or
both? We hope to explore the environmental implications of our
results further in future seasons.

Bibliography

BUNBURY, J. M.; GRAHAM, A.; HUNTER, M., 2008. Stratigraphic


landscape analysis: charting the Holocene movements of
the Nile at Karnak through ancient Egyptian time.
Geoarchaeology 23: 351-373.
BUNBURY, J. M.; LUTLEY, C.; GRAHAM, A., in press. Giza
Geomorphological Report [in:] LEHNER, M.; KAMEL, M.;
TAVARES, A. (eds), Giza Occasional Papers 3, Giza Plateau
Mapping Project Seasons 2006-07 Preliminary Report. Boston.
HILLIER, J. K.; BUNBURY, J. M.; GRAHAM, A., 2007.
Monuments on a Migrating Nile. Journal of Archaeological
Science 34: 1011-1015.
JEFFREYS, D. G., 1985. The Survey of Memphis I: The Archaeological
Report. EES Occasional Publications 3. London.
JEFFREYS, D. G., 2008. Archaeological implications of
the moving Nile. Egyptian Archaeology 32: 6-7.
JEFFREYS, D. G.; TAVARES, A., 1994. The Historic Landscape
of Early Dynastic Memphis. MDAIK 50: 143-173.

70
ABSTRACTS

LUTLEY, C.; BUNBURY, J. M., 2008. The Nile on the move.


Egyptian Archaeology 32: 3-5.

Local traditions in early Egyptian temples


Richard BUSSMANN
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Since Barry Kemp’s characterisation of Egypt as a ‘country of


two cultures’, the early temples of Egypt have been produced as
witnesses for local traditions in provincial Egypt during the 3rd
millennium BC. This paper picks up this discussion by looking
more closely at the histories of different temples and their
material cultures. The votives, as one of the major sources for
distinguishing early temples, will play a major role in this review.
The identification of the finds from Abydos and Hierakonpolis
in various museums over the last three years gives insight into
their morphological variation and makes comparison with other
votive corpora possible. Starting from this empirical basis, the
question of local traditions will be discussed and the temples
located within this discussion.

Kinship, concentration of population and the emergence of


the State in the Nile Valley
Marcelo CAMPAGNO
University of Buenos Aires, CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Current research on the emergence of the State – in Egypt as


well as in other contexts – generally pays scant attention to the
importance of kinship as the main axis for organization in non-
state communities However, the rules of kinship and the rules of

71
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

the State lead to radically different situations because the norms


of reciprocity on which kinship is based prove to be
incompatible with the relationships of domination sustained by
the monopoly of force inherent in state links. Where kinship
rules, there are limits to the possibilities of social differentiation
and to the emergence of the State within the society. Because of
this, it is most plausible that practices leading to a state society
derive from a relationship between strangers, that is, state
practices emerged in contexts of interaction between people
who are not related by kinship ties.
What kinds of practices between strangers might lead to a
state society? Conflict between communities in pre-state times
that impel wars of conquest is one to be considered, provided
that the conflicts transform the transitory link between the
conquerors and the conquered into a permanent condition of
‘dominators’ and ‘dominated’, which defines a state-type
situation. In the Nile Valley, these conflicts could have existed
from the end of Naqada II onwards as, for example, a
consequence of intercommunity struggles unleashed in Upper
Egypt by the attempts to control the trade networks linking the
Nile with distant regions such as Mesopotamia, the Levant and
Nubia.
Another context must also be considered: the formation
of urban centers as a result of the processes leading to the
concentration of population. In these processes, population
growth is not just the result of the natural increase of a single
group, but the consequence of the arrival of migrants from
different places. This social heterogeneity implies that early
urban contexts may be seen as realms for the convergence of
distinct kinship groups. And between them, other practices –
such as factional competition – could take place, different from
the ones expected within a community ruled by kinship logic.
An early urban center might be interpreted as an initial
agglomeration of different groups only a posteriori unified by state
ties, and not as a simple quantitative expansion of a single village
community.

72
ABSTRACTS

If the situation of Upper Egypt in mid-Naqada II is


considered, the urban phenomenon seems modest compared
with the contemporaneous processes in Lower Mesopotamia.
However, a certain tendency toward the concentration of
population can be recognized. At this point, the information
coming from Hierakonpolis indicates the existence of an
extensive settlement, in which a 40m-long ceremonial complex
is reported, as well as specific places for the production of beer
and pottery, implying a remarkable level of craft specialization.
Although accurate population estimates are difficult to achieve,
it has been suggested that the population of Predynastic
Hierakonpolis was somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000
inhabitants, indicating a very significant concentration, hardly
produced through natural increase alone.
Various reasons for such a concentration of population at
Hierakonpolis have been proposed, including: climatic
conditions (increasing aridity), economy (emphasis on alluvium-
based activities and riverine trade), wars (quest for security) and
religion (the attraction of a local shrine). In this paper, all these
reasons will be considered, as well as the impact of such an
agglomeration of population on the emergence of the State, and
the possible feedback between these dynamics and the
intercommunity conflicts unleashed in the region from the
second half of Naqada II onward.

The development and nature of inequality in early Egypt


Juan José C ASTILLOS
Uruguayan Institute of Egyptology, Montevideo, Uruguay

How, when and why complexity arose in early Egypt is still a


subject of debate and has brought forward widely different and
often contradictory views that, rather than improving our
perceptions of social conditions at the time, rather tend to

73
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

obscure them and make our understanding of the origins of


social stratification in Upper Egypt more difficult.
Kinship played a very important role in early communities
everywhere and no doubt in predynastic Egypt as well. Even in
later pharaonic times, it was a force that shaped people’s social,
economic and political life to a considerable extent and was
reflected in their literature and religious beliefs.
But to the emerging predynastic Upper Egyptian chiefs
on their way to becoming regional kings and then pharaohs,
kinship was also a hindrance that made securing wider
allegiances difficult as their power, and the communities and the
territory under their control, increased.
Recent research by the author suggests that aggrandizers
were the agents who introduced hereditary inequality in early
Egypt in Naqada I, a process which continued during later
periods through the stages of regional kingdoms and finally a
unified Egypt under the rule of a single king. This paper
considers case studies from other parts of the world which could
suggest future lines of research to test these interpretations in
the archaeology of Predynastic Egypt.
We should perhaps shift somewhat the emphasis from
how nature was exploited by these predynastic communities to
how human beings were organized to suit the requirements of
the emerging elites and the chief or king who represented the
changed social organization and who were responsible for
preserving and expanding it.

74
ABSTRACTS

The Sun-religion in the Thinite Age: evidence and political


meaning
Josep C ERVELLÓ-AUTUORI
Institut d’Estudis del Pròxim Orient Antic, Universitat Autònoma de
Barcelona, Spain

As the historian of religions, Mircea Eliade (1949), states, sun-


religions are much less common than one would imagine in the
spiritual history of mankind. Except for ancient Egypt, the Inca
Empire, the Japanese Empire and some cultures in Asia and
proto-historic Europe, the Sun is almost never the central
element of a religious system. Even in these cases, the Sun is
raised to a pre-eminent position because of its link with the
political power of the State. In Egypt, if the sun-cult of
Heliopolis had not been associated with pharaonic kingship, it
probably would have been only a minor local cult.
In the Old Kingdom, the royal funerary cult is solar in
essence (Quirke 2001). The Pyramid Texts show the dead king
rising to the solar sky to join the boat or the places of his father
Re. Usually, the process of ‘solarization’ of pharaonic kingship is
believed to be an Old Kingdom phenomenon. But this process
cannot have been a complete novelty by the beginning of the
Third Dynasty, and there is some evidence for its emergence
and timid but steady development from halfway through the
First Dynasty (Sayed 2005).
In this communication I will discuss this evidence (the
Djet comb, the name of king Nebre, the title Set-Re of Peribsen,
the priestly title wr m“.w) from the perspective of my study of
some of the determinatives in the Pyramid Texts, including that of
the pyramid-trunk and the niched mastaba (Cervelló-Autuori
2006). The rising and solar meaning of these determinatives
must be taken back to the Thinite Age. They cannot date from
the Pyramid Age because, as Bernard Mathieu (2004) states, in
this period, the rising and solar monument was the pyramid
itself. In fact, one of these signs, that of the pyramid-trunk, is

75
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

attested in some inscriptions of King Anedjib, probably


referring to his tomb. Some scholars, such as Bernard Mathieu
(2004) and John Baines (2004), who have recently discussed the
problem of the date of the Pyramid Texts, agree that some
passages must go back to the First or Second Dynasty for
cultural reasons.
This will also allow us to review the question of the
ownership of the First Dynasty niched mastabas at Saqqara,
which in recent years have been re-investigated, although with
different approaches (Cervelló-Autuori 2002; O’Connor 2005;
Wengrow 2006; Morris 2007). In fact, we may see these
mastabas as royal and rising monuments in a new architectonic
and symbolic tradition already related to the sun-cult.

Bibliography

BAINES, J., 2004. Modelling Sources, Processes and Locations of


Early Mortuary Texts [in:] BICKEL, S. & MATHIEU, B.
(eds.), D’un monde à l’autre. Textes des Pyramides et Textes des
Sarcophages. BdE 139. Le Caire: 15-41.
CERVELLÓ AUTUORI, J., 2003. Back to the Mastaba Tombs of
the First Dynasty at Saqqara. Officials or Kings? [in:]
PIRELLI, R. (ed.), Egyptological Essays on State and Society.
Napoli: 27-61.
CERVELLO AUTUORI, J., 2006. Les déterminatifs d’édifices
funéraires royaux dans les Textes des Pyramides et leur
signification sémantique, rituelle et historique. BIFAO
106: 1-19.
ELIADE, M., 1949. Traité d’histoire des religions. Paris.
MATHIEU, B., 2004. La distinction entre Textes des Pyramides
et Textes des Sarcophages est-elle légitime? [in:] BICKEL,
S. & MATHIEU, B. (eds.), D’un monde à l’autre. Textes des
Pyramides et Textes des Sarcophages. BdE 139. Le Caire: 247-
262.
MORRIS, E.F., 2007. On the Ownership of the Saqqara
Mastabas and the Allotment of Political and Ideological

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ABSTRACTS

Power at the Dawn of the State [in:] HAWASS, Z.A. &


RICHARDS, J. (eds.), The Archaeology and Art of Ancient
Egypt. Essays in Honor of David B. O’Connor. CASAE 36,
vol. II. Cairo: 171-190.
O’CONNOR, D., 2005. The Ownership of Elite Tombs at
Saqqara in the First Dynasty [in:] DAOUD, K.; BEDIER, S.
& ABD EL-FATAH, S. (eds.), Studies in Honor of Ali Radwan.
Suppl. ASAE 34.2. Cairo: 223-231.
QUIRKE, S., 2001. The Cult of Ra. Sun-worship in Ancient Egypt.
London.
SAYED, A., 2005. Der Sonnenkult und der Sonnengott in der
Vor- und Frühgeschichte Ägyptens [in:] DAOUD, K.;
BEDIER, S. & ABD EL-FATAH, S. (eds.), Studies in Honor of
Ali Radwan. Suppl. ASAE 34.2. Cairo: 287-294.
WENGROW, D., 2006. The Archaeology of Early Egypt. Cambridge.

The Central Kom of Tell el-Farkha: 1,000 years of history


(c. 3600–2600 BC)
Marek C HŁODNICKI
Poznan Archaeological Museum, Poznan, Poland

The Central Kom is the greatest of the three mounds that make
up the site of Tell el-Farkha, and it accounts for more than half
of the site’s area. It is here that the gezira is the highest, and it is
the location of the first settlement of the Lower Egyptian
culture. The Central Kom was also the place where the
inhabitants of the village remained until the end of the site’s
occupation at the beginning of the Old Kingdom. At that time,
the Western Kom was deserted, and on the Eastern Kom there
was a cemetery.
During its history, the Central Kom was a settlement
where the farmers, fishermen, craftsmen and traders of Tell el-
Farkha lived. No monumental buildings, such as those found on

77
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

the Western or Eastern Koms, were discovered, but we obtained


much information about everyday life. We have data concerning
architectural change and the spatial organization of the
settlement, with buildings made of organic materials belonging
to the Lower Egyptian culture, along with breweries, houses
made of mud brick, workshops, kilns of various types, and a silo
for storing grain. We also have new information on the flint-
knapping industry, revealing its traditional elements and
innovations, and new data on copper tools. The excavations
have provided much data for investigating exchange and
commerce, with finds such as seals and tokens, and for
examining artistic forms, visible from human and animal
figurines as well as jewellery. With this wealth of material we can
trace changes in the standard of living from the establishment of
the settlement through its prosperity in late Predynastic and
Early Dynastic times, until its fall at the beginning of the Old
Kingdom.

Raw materials supply and technological analysis of


knapped lithic tools in Naqadan contexts: a new look at
De Morgan’s collection from Hierakonpolis in Saint
Germain-en-Laye Museum, France
Emmanuelle COURBOIN
ESEP-University of Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France

Over a century of surveys and fieldwork on sites of the


Predynastic period in Upper Egypt have produced a large
quantity of knapped stone artefacts. Most published studies
dealing with Predynastic lithic industries take a typological
approach to these artefacts. Only a few works provide
technological insights into lithic production.
The technological approach to knapped lithic industries is
rooted in the concept of the chaîne opératoire (cf. Marcel Mauss,

78
ABSTRACTS

André Leroi-Gourhan, Pierre Lemonnier), from which two


kinds of data are constituted. Firstly, technological analysis is
concerned with raw material availability and supply (geological
characterization, procurement processes, patterns of transport
and discard). Secondly, this approach investigates the traditional
actions performed during the knapping activities: the methods
and techniques for flaking stone, shaping and curating tools. The
combination of both types of data allows us to decipher the
technical processes displayed by Naqadan knappers. ‘Know-
how’ is identified in this way as technical practices perceptible
through intentions and through technical choices made by the
knappers during the production of lithic tools.
The highly informative potential of this type of approach
offers us a reliable and innovative way to look at the production
and consumption of stone tools discovered in Naqadan
contexts. As a preliminary analysis, we chose Henri de Morgan’s
collection from Hierakonpolis in the Saint Germain-en-Laye
Museum, France. First, we focussed on raw materials
identification: 24 raw materials were identified, underlining the
great diversity in raw material supply. Among them, three kinds
of flint (A, C, D) are over-represented, composing up to 78
percent of the collection. The analysis also concentrated on the
study of the technical processes. The different items stemming
from the chaîne opératoire are classified into different kinds of
blanks. These products are classified both on technical criteria
and morphological and metrical criteria and display every stage
of the chaîne opératoire. Thus, it enabled us to distinguish artefacts
created by the shaping out of raw blocks, chips, blanks from the
full production phase, by-products from maintenance phases or
technical requirements (i.e., rejuvenation flakes), rough-out
shaping, by-products of tools curation and resharpening, etc. A
more detailed study of the technical processes undertaken on
raw material C revealed a wealth of information as well as the
‘know-how’ displayed by Naqadan knappers.
Two important and new observations were revealed by
the combination of data stemming from the study of the raw

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

materials and from the analysis of the technical processes. The


first observation shows a differentiated supply of raw materials.
For example, different forms of raw material C were used by
knappers to set up distinct chaînes opératoires, illustrating different
technical practices and different production goals. The second
observation concerns the scarcity of particular items from the
lithic collection. This under-representation cannot be attributed
to survey bias alone.
Two main working hypotheses can be presented. A
spatial segmentation of lithic production would explain the
under-representation in the collection of shaping out elements,
cortical items and cores. From this hypothesis, one may suggest
a spatially divided technical process designed by a socially
differentiated organization of production.

The wadi of the Horus Qa-a


John Coleman DARNELL
Yale University, USA

In a deep wadi between the Wadi Alamat Road leading west out
of northern Thebes and the Arqub Baghla track from southern
Naqada, the Theban Desert Road Survey has discovered a
concentration of rock inscription sites of late Predynastic
through Early Dynastic date. The sites are particularly
informative due to their restricted period of use, associated
ceramic remains, and unique nautical imagery. They complement
other sites in the Theban Western Desert, particularly the
expansive rock inscription site of ‘Dominion Behind Thebes’.
At the head of the wadi are five rock inscription sites.
Iconographic parallels – supported by associated ceramic
material – date the majority of their predominately nautical
images to the Naqada II and Naqada III periods, a temporal
restriction heightening the interest of the differentiation of boat

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ABSTRACTS

typologies amongst the sites. Though each is within a stone’s


throw of the other, one particular hull and cabin combination
dominates the boat images of each individual site and is all but
absent at the other sites, strongly implying an ideological and
functional interdependence of the rock art concentrations.
We have named the wadi after an inscription at Site No.
2, which includes the serekh of the late First Dynasty ruler Horus
Qa-a. Serekhs of Qa-a are known from other desert sites, such as
El Kab and probably Kharga Oasis, and his presence in this
deep Theban wadi is consistent with the apparent desert
interests of that ruler and in keeping with his nebty name. The
location of Qa-a’s serekh, at the head of a wadi that saw
considerable traffic during the late Predynastic and Early
Dynastic periods, accessing the juncture of the Wadi Alamat and
Arqub Baghla roads, reveals that Qa-a’s Saharan interests
extended to access corridors between the Nile Valley and the
surrounding deserts. Considering the dynastic change and
apparent confusion and possible internecine strife at the
juncture between the First and Second Dynasties, the locations
of Qa-a’s serekhs allow for informed speculation regarding the
pharaonic state’s response to its first serious internal threat
following the subjugation of the Delta.
Site No. 2 also contains two depictions with
comparatively lengthy early hieroglyphic texts. The two
inscriptions are almost mirror images of each other and face in
towards a natural rock overhang, revealing an interplay of early
inscription, depiction, and site geology that may prove
instructive for the interpretation of these early inscriptions.
Each image shows a large figure steering a vessel with multiple
rowers, within which sits a small vessel with a sickle-shaped
stern. The annotations appear to refer to a nautical festival and
may relate to such a celebration already known from the reign of
Qa-a.
An additional site near the mouth of the wadi contains a
large tableau of late Naqada II date, with motifs paralleling the
decoration in Hierakonpolis Tomb 100. The boat and animal

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

images contain a number of features unknown from other rock


inscriptions, and the scene of four canids attacking a Barbary
sheep is a masterpiece of Predynastic art.

Rock inscriptions and the origin of Egyptian writing


John Coleman DARNELL
Yale University, USA

During more than twelve years of work in the Egyptian


Western Desert, the Theban Desert Road Survey has
discovered many predynastic rock art and inscription sites
on the ancient routes of the south-western desert of Egypt.
At a number of these sites, inscriptions are in clear
association with other remains of human activity and
occupation. Although many of the dating techniques for
rock art are at best of uncertain value (Bednarik 2002), the
sites in the Theban Western Desert that occur in
conjunction with archaeological remains allow a cultural
attribution. The interrelationships of rock art, habitation,
ritual, and burial sites within the Rayayna desert provide an
important template and test model for those attempting to
understand similar assemblages of petroglyphs and
archaeological material within an extensive landscape (cf.
essays in David & Wilson 2002). The area also provides an
excellent opportunity to relate models of archaeological
site formation with models of rock art site development,
and the interrelationships between such sites and the
landscape in which they are located.
The early sites in the Rayayna desert allow one in
turn to test the reliability of models proposed for other
cultures in an attempt to use formal methods to “provide a
structure for the placement and nature of this imagery on
the landscape” (Hartley & Vawser 2000). Hartley and

82
ABSTRACTS

Vawser describe “places with rock-art that … serve as


‘check-points during movements across the desert terrain’
as assisting in orientation to locales of water or other
necessary resources,” a possibility that the work of the
Theban Desert Road Survey has specifically addressed.
The Rayayna material places us in the unique
position of being able to grasp at least a portion of the
‘emic’ significance of the rock art through diachronic
evidence. The later developments of some of the motifs
into pharaonic iconographic elements, which are explicitly
explained in later textual material, provides an opportunity
to avoid some of the pitfalls of subjective ‘etic’
interpretation which are otherwise inevitable when one is
dealing with pre-literate societies. The use of rock art in
Upper Egypt as a means of marking places and
commenting upon terrestrial and cosmic processes and
events appears to have led to the increasing ‘symbolic’
nature of Upper Egyptian cultures, a necessary precursor,
if not direct antecedent, to the development of true writing
in Egypt.
The motifs and use of rock inscriptions in the
Theban Western Desert reveal the development of a
complex repertoire of religious symbols. These symbols
and the more abstract concepts they could communicate
allowed the individual artist/communicator to comment
on the terrain, to communicate with future visitors, to
participate with those who have gone before in an ongoing
interpretation of the terrain (cf. Huyge 2002); they also
allowed for personal commentary on the more generally
understood motifs. On these routes we see the
development of a symbolic communication that linked
people, habitation and burial sites, routes and landscape,
and that led ultimately to the development of true writing
in Egypt around 3250 BC. The hieroglyphic script
originated in the glyphic symbols of Upper Egyptian rock
art.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Bibliography

BEDNARIK, R. G., 2002. The Dating of Rock Art: a Critique.


Journal of Archaeological Science 29: 1213-1233.
DAVID, B. & WILSON, M. (eds), 2002. Inscribed Landscapes:
Marking and Making Place. Honolulu HARTLEY, R. &
VAWSER, A. M. W., 2000. Spatial Behaviour and Learning
in the Prehistoric Environment of the Colorado River
Drainage (south-Eastern Utah), Western North America
[in:] CHIPPINDALE, C. & T AÇON, P.S.C. (eds), The
Archaeology of Rock-Art. Cambridge: 185-211
HUYGE, D., 2002. Cosmology, Ideology and Personal Religious
Practice in Ancient Egyptian Rock Art [in:] FRIEDMAN,
R. (ed), Egypt and Nubia: Gifts of the Desert. London: 192-
206.

Sepulchral architecture in details: new data from Tell


el-Farkha
Joanna DĘBOWSKA-LUDWIN
Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland

Over 50 fully excavated graves from Tell el-Farkha, a site


located in the eastern Nile Delta (fieldwork still in progress),
shed new light on sepulchral architecture in Pre- and Early
Dynastic Lower Egypt. Thanks to modern excavation
techniques and precise documentation, we have unearthed many
interesting and often puzzling details that have never before
been observed.
The graves from Tell el-Farkha are divided into four
categories, which represent changes in terms not only of
chronology, but also adapted technology. All of the burials from
the necropolis can be dated from Dynasty ‘0’ into early Old
Kingdom times, and provide a variety of data with which to

84
ABSTRACTS

work. A significant number of the registered burials are simple


pit graves; others, however, contain a number of interesting
features. Especially noteworthy are: the use of diverse materials
(mud, sand, mats, wood and other presently unidentified,
perishable materials) for constructing superstructures; the variety
of forms in which superstructures in particular were built; the
building sequence of substructure and superstructure; the
coexistence of respective sub- and superstructure types; and the
unusual – for Lower Egypt – shape and size of some of the
tombs.
The number of graves with preserved superstructures
enables us to take a closer look at their structural details.
Furthermore, clear differences can be noted in the building
strategies used for the distinct types of burials – from quite
simple brick-lined graves to complex tombs (even imitating
sepulchral enclosures) belonging to the richest representatives of
Tell el-Farkha’s middle class.
The wide variety of data collected during years of work
on the site allows us to resume an old but still open discussion
about the way burials were marked above ground. It seems that
some types of burial structures were hidden while others were
quite visible, as confirmed by preserved traces of rituals
celebrated on the spot, which appear to be unconnected to
looting or other unauthorized disturbance.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Rescue excavation of a Predynastic site in Nag el-Qarmila


(Kubbaniya)
Morgan DE DAPPER, Merel E YCKERMAN, Maria Carmela
GATTO, Rainer GERISCH, Elizabeth HART, Stan HENDRICKX,
Tomasz HERBICH, Hannah JORIS, Hans-Åke NORDSTRÖM,
Mindy PITRE, Sara ROMA, Dawid S WIECH, Donatella USAI
The British Museum/University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ Archaeological
Project in the Aswan-Kom Ombo Region

A Predynastic settlement and two associated cemeteries were


found during the 2006 and 2008 survey seasons of the Aswan-
Kom Ombo Project in Nag el-Qarmila, a small valley just to the
north of Wadi Kubbaniya. Under serious threat from building
activities, a rescue operation was undertaken in 2007, and is
ongoing.
In order to detect the extent of the settlement and the
visibility of possible features within it, a magnetic survey was
conducted. Unfortunately, due to the mud sediment where the
settlement is located, no features were clearly recorded.
Nevertheless, a clear boundary between a mud zone to the east
and a sand zone to the west and north was detected.
Based on the pottery, the settlement and the cemeteries
date to Naqada IC, probably continuing into Naqada IIA, with a
younger phase dated to Naqada IIC-IIIA2 recorded only on the
surface.
Two test areas were excavated in one of the cemeteries
and in the settlement. While the funerary context turned out to
be highly disturbed and only one grave was found intact, the
settlement is much better preserved. Postholes and plastered pits
were detected in two main occupation layers, in which hearths
and pots were still in place.
The geo-morphological study made possible the
reconstruction of the paleo-environment, bringing to light the
different geological locations of the three sites and their
relationship to Nile flooding. Interesting to note is the

86
ABSTRACTS

contrasting position of the two cemeteries, with one located on


top of a Middle Pleistocene sand terrace and the other placed on
the lower terrace of the gebel with the shafts cut into the
sandstone.
Charcoal finds were analysed to study the use of fuel and
the ancient arboreal environment. Mainly represented were
Acacia, Tamarix and Ziziphus spina-christi.
Both pottery and lithic analyses show evidence of a scanty
but consistent Nubian component within the cultural material.
This Nubian component is to be expected due to the location of
the sites at the historic border zone between Egypt and Nubia.

Bibliography

GATTO, M.C., in press. Late Prehistoric Sites in the Area


between Aswan and Kom Ombo [in:] RAUE,
D.; SEIDLMAYER, S.J. & SPEISER, P. (eds.), Proceedings of
the Workshop “The First Cataract of the Nile: One Region -
Various Perspectives”, Berlin, 2-5 September 2007.
GATTO, M.C. & GIULIANI, S., 2006-2007. Nubians in Upper
Egypt: Results of the Survey in the Aswan-Kom Ombo
Region (2005-2006). CRIPEL 26: 121-130.
GATTO, M.C. & GIULIANI, S., 2007. Survey between Aswan and
Kom Ombo. Egyptian Archaeology 29: 6-9.
PITRE, M.C.; GATTO, M.C. & GIULIANI, S., 2007. Nag el-
Qarmila, Aswan (Egypt), Season 2007. Bioarchaeology of the
Near East 1: 59-72.

87
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Clay sealings: tools of communication systems among


different cultures in the 4th millennium BC?
Rita DI MARIA
Museo Archeologico Nazionale/AIPEAVN ONLUS, Naples, Italy

From the first appearance of early polities up to state formation


during the 4th millennium BC, seals and clay sealings were used
in Egypt to identify the owner of, or the administration
responsible for, sealed objects as well as for distinguishing the
institutions, provenance or kinds of goods stored and shipped.
Their usage indicates a centralization of goods and work under
the control of a bureaucratic class which also administered their
redistribution.
Clay sealings can bear the impressions of one or more
seal, and generally, on the reverse, have the negative impressions
of what the sealing had been applied to. These impressions
reveal their purpose and provide implicit evidence for
administrative procedures, different types of closing systems,
and for a tentative reconstruction of institutional organization
systems and management. Sealings functioned as a means of
securing goods and providing a receipt of the operations and
services involved in the opening and closing of rooms and
containers in order to control the movement of goods, especially
in contexts where the goods were destined for withdrawal and
distribution.
Generally, sealings were affixed to the following broad
classes of objects: storeroom doors, both refined and coarse
boxes and chests, door and box knobs, door and box pegs,
baskets, vessels and jars, cloth and leather sacks, bundles, and
papyrus rolls. Finally, they could also be applied to doors of
enclosure fences that sheltered the herds belonging to an
institution or the community.
Recent research points to a direct relationship between
the seal image and its specific function within the administrative
system. Different qualitative sets of variables characterize seals

88
ABSTRACTS

and clay sealings and can be external (e.g., region and site of
origin, context of finding, support, use dating, etc.) and internal
(shape, dimension, material, image/reverse impression,
presence/absence of iconographic/typologic/stylistic aspects,
position, order, relative distance between compositional
elements, image syntactical structure, etc.). All of these variables
form a kind of protocol of standardized rules, allowing
communication between peoples who did not necessarily speak
the same languages. In other words, seals and clay sealings were
a common exchange code functioning as the synthesis of
abstract concepts within a widely distributed communication
and trade network.
This paper presents the results of a methodological study
which is an extension of our work on the corpus of seals and
clay sealings found at Naqada (Petrie’s ‘South Town’), by the
Italian Archaeological Expedition of the Istituto Universitario
Orientale of Naples (IUON, now the Università degli Studi di
Napoli ‘L’Orientale’) between 1977 and 1986.
The aim of the study is to develop standard criteria for
the recording and cataloguing of seals and sealings, which may
then be used in multivariate analysis of the type applied to the
exploratory analyses of complex data sets, such as that exhibited
on the seals and sealing, in order to investigate the different
qualitative variables (both iconographic and otherwise) which
characterize these intriguing objects.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Miscellaneous artefacts from Zawaydah (Petrie’s Naqada


‘South Town’)
Grazia Antonella DI PIETRO
University ‘L’Orientale’, Naples, Italy

From 1977 to 1986 the Italian Archaeological Expedition in


Upper Egypt (Naqada) of the Instituto Universitario Orientale
(today University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’) conducted six
excavation seasons at the Predynastic site of Zawaydah (Petrie’s
Naqada ‘South Town’). The excavations were supervised by the
late Prof. Claudio Barocas, with Prof. Rodolfo Fattovich (UNO,
Italy) and Prof. Maurizio Tosi (University of Bologna, Italy) as
co-principal investigators. Recently the materials from these
investigations, presently kept in the Supreme Council of
Antiquities’ storerooms at Qift, have been re-examined by the
author as a part of her PhD research. The first study season has
focussed on a coherent ensemble of small finds, the so-called
‘miscellaneous objects’, which are the artefacts that are not
pottery vessels or lithic tools.
The preliminary results of this work will be presented.
The discussion will focus on the different classes of artefacts,
amongst which are a conspicuous number of anthropomorphic
and zoomorphic figurines, and miniature boats and vessels.
Their intra-site distribution and association with the structural
remains will also be presented in an attempt to generate some
hypotheses about the function of the excavated area and
suggestions about some of the activities performed at the site,
which may have contributed to the central role assumed by
‘South Town’ during certain stages of the Predynastic period.

90
ABSTRACTS

Two tombs from el-Mahâsna in the Egyptian collection of


the Royal Museums for Art and History, Brussels
Merel EYCKERMAN
Dept. of Architecture and Fine Arts, Provinciale Hogeschool Limburg,
Hasselt, Belgium

When working at Abydos during the last months of 1908, E.R.


Ayrton and W.L.S. Loat heard about a cemetery being looted at
nearby el-Mahâsna. They visited the site and identified it as a
Predynastic cemetery, which they subsequently excavated in
January 1909 (Ayrton & Loat 1911). As usual for the time, only
the most important finds were described or illustrated in the
excavation report. The objects themselves were distributed
between a number of museums, among them the Egyptian
collection of the Royal Museums for Art and History in
Brussels. Fortunately, the contents of individual tombs seem to
have been kept together during the distribution, and the Brussels
museum received (nearly) all of the objects from tombs H17 and
H41. Tomb H41 was one of the richest in the cemetery (Ayrton
& Loat 1911: 16, pl. V.22, XVI-XVII; Thomas 2004: 1048),
containing among other things, a very particular figurine and the
earliest known gaming table. The objects from tomb H17
(Ayrton & Loat 1911: 10-11, pl. I.5, XIII.3) include a palette
with lightly engraved decoration, which remained unnoticed by
the excavators.
The inventory of the two tombs will be discussed, with
particular attention to their visual presentation. For this purpose,
(parts of) the tombs are reconstructed in drawing, using the
published photographs in combination with the actual objects in
Brussels. The reconstruction of the figurine from tomb H41 is
of particular interest in the context of the recent discoveries by
David A. Anderson of a number of (fragmentary) figurines in
the settlement of el-Mahâsna (Anderson 2006: 216-230).

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Bibliography

ANDERSON, D.A., 2006. Power and competition in the Upper Egyptian


Predynastic: A view from the Predynastic settlement at el-Mahâsna,
Egypt. UMI/Pittsburgh.
AYRTON, E.R. & LOAT, W.L.S., 1911. Pre-dynastic Cemetery at El-
Mahasna. EEF 31. London.
THOMAS, A.P., 2004. Some comments on the Predynastic
cemetery at El Mahasna [in:] HENDRICKX, S.;
FRIEDMAN, R.F.; CIAŁOWICZ, K.M. & CHŁODNICKI, M.
(eds.), Egypt at its Origins. Studies in Memory of Barbara
Adams. Proceedings of the International Conference “Origin of the
State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt”, Kraków, 28th
August-1st September 2002. OLA 138. Leuven / Paris /
Dudley: 1041-1054.

Archaeobotany of food production at Predynastic


Hierakonpolis
Ahmed G. FAHMY
Helwan University, Egypt
Linda PERRY
Smithsonian Institution, USA
Renée FRIEDMAN
Hierakonpolis Expedition/British Museum, UK

A number of installations in which the remains of grains-based


food was cooked/brewed, apparently on a community or
industrial scale, have been recently identified within the
Predynastic settlement (Naqada IIA-C) at Hierakonpolis. These
installations appear in two basic types, both involving from 4 to
possibly up to 10 large ceramic vats, set in two rows. The
distinguishing features are the structures surrounding the vats
and the method in which they were supported, which in turn

92
ABSTRACTS

appears to be related to the differing levels and types of heat


required by the contents.
A multiproxy archaeobotanical analysis of organic
residues from some of the vats suggests that the brewing of beer
was the main purpose of these installations. The residue
indicates a two-step process involving two separate, dedicated
industrial areas for wort production and subsequent
fermentation. Morphological investigations of ash, soil and
charcoal samples collected from around the vats evidently used
in the preparation of the wort, reveal the dominance of emmer
wheat grains over hulled barley and free-threshing wheat.
The current integrated archaeobotanical approach to the
analyses of plant macro-remains (seeds, etc.) and plant micro-
remains (phytolith and starch) is providing ample evidence for
the ingredients as well as the steps taken in wort preparation and
fermentation.

The new Archaic period cemetery at Abydos: an


osteological report
Ahmed Mohamed GABR
Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt

Around the mud brick-lined tombs recently discovered at


Abydos by an Egyptian team (see Yasser Mahmoud Hossein
herein) were 13 additional burials, most of which were intact.
These graves were simple pits in the sand, but due to the dry
nature of the sand and the arid climate, the bodies, wrapped
with linen, were well preserved.
The osteological material from these graves was examined
by the author, Sameh Abd el Wahed and Mahmoud Ali. The
graves contained the burials of men, women and children and
were placed around the brick-lined Tombs I, II and IV, tombs
with which they apparently wished to be associated. They appear

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

to have respected the brick-lined tombs, placing the burials


beside the walls but never within the tomb itself. Later than the
mud brick tombs they surround, they all appear to date to the
same period with the exception of burial no. 12, which we found
within brick-lined Tomb II and may belong to the original
owner of that archaic tomb. The skeleton from Tomb II was
incomplete and was found disturbed with most of the long
bones and the skull placed in the ‘storage room’, apparently in
an intentional way. Of the 13 burials, eight of them were around
Tomb I and belonged to people who, during their lifetimes, had
suffered from a variety of diseases and had undertaken hard
work.

Egypt and Nubia in the 5th–4th millennia BC: a view from


the First Cataract and surroundings
Maria Carmela GATTO
The British Museum/University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ Archaeological
Project in the Aswan-Kom Ombo Region

It has generally been held that there was a geographical, cultural


and political boundary between Egypt and Nubia in the
Predynastic/Early Dynastic period and that it was located
between Gebel es Silsila and Aswan. Any Egyptian evidence in
Nubia was seen as an import or cultural influence, while any
Nubian evidence in Upper Egypt was viewed as the sporadic
presence of foreign people within Egyptian territory. As a
consequence, the cemeteries located from Kubbaniya
southwards were assigned to the A-Group culture.
In recent years, new research on the subject shows that
the interaction between the two cultures was much more
complex than previously thought, affecting the time, space and
nature of the interaction. As a result, the Aswan area probably
never was a real borderline. The two regions, and so their

94
ABSTRACTS

cultural entities, are not antithetical to one another, but in


prehistoric times were still the expression of the same cultural
tradition, with strong regional variations, particularly in the last
part of the 4th millennium BC.
Unique cultural features, unknown elsewhere, have been
recorded in the area surrounding the First Cataract, and from
there northward to Hierakonpolis and probably even Armant,
and southward to Dehmit. The data recorded in this area always
show a preponderance of Naqadan elements, while the Nubian
component, although consistent, is definitely in the minority,
disproving an A-Group affiliation. These features may indicate
the presence of a regional variant of the Naqada culture
combining, particularly during the first half of the 4th
millennium BC, both Egyptian and Nubian traditions.
Despite what was long thought, the deserts surrounding
the Nile Valley were important components of the Egyptian and
Nubian territories. In part because the Nile cataracts were not
easy to cross, most of the main desert routes connecting with
the south reached the Egyptian Nile Valley in the
Hierakonpolis/Elkab area and, farther to the north, in the Qena
bend region. Discoveries of Predynastic/Nubian sites in the
deserts are confirming this (Darnell 2002).
The paper will present the results of the current research,
proposing a preliminary definition of this southern variant of the
Naqada culture, as well as its Nubian counterpart. The latter
shows many traits which are dissimilar in relation to the
Abkan/A-Group archaeological record from the Wadi Halfa
reach and the Second Cataract (Nordström 1972).

Bibliography

DARNELL, D., 2002. Gravel of the Desert and broken Pots in


the Road: Ceramic Evidence from the Routes between
the Nile and Kharga Oasis [in:] FRIEDMAN, R.F. (ed.),
Egypt and Nubia: Gifts of the Desert. London: 156-177.

95
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

GATTO, M.C., 2005. Nubians in Egypt: Survey in the Aswan-


Kom Ombo Region. Sudan & Nubia 9: 73-76.
GATTO M.C., 2006a. The Nubian A-Group: A Reassessment.
Archéo-Nil 16: 61-76.
GATTO M.C., 2006b. The Early A-Group in Upper Lower
Nubia, Upper Egypt and the surrounding Deserts [in:].
KOBUSIEWICZ, M.; KROEPER, K. & C HŁODNICKI, M.,
(eds.), Archaeology of early Northeastern Africa. In Memory of
Lech Krzyżaniak. Poznan: 223-234.
GATTO, M.C. & GIULIANI, S., 2006-2007. Nubians in Upper
Egypt: Results of the Survey in the Aswan-Kom Ombo
Region (2005-2006). CRIPEL 26: 121-130.
NORDSTRÖM, H-Å., 1972. Neolithic and A-Group Sites. SJE 3.
Uppsala.

Local adaptation and intracultural variability in the


Western Delta: a view from Predynastic Saïs (Sa el-Hagar)
Gregory P. GILBERT
Durham University, UK/Australian National University, Canberra,
Australia
Tonny J. DE WIT
Durham University, UK/Leiden University, The Netherlands

This paper examines the Neolithic and Lower Egyptian cultural


material from recent excavations at Saïs (Sa el-Hagar) in order to
improve our understanding of Western Delta life-ways prior to
the so-called cultural unification.
Using agricultural and animal husbandry practices
adjusted to the specific surroundings, the Western Delta peoples
would have lived in environmentally sustainable communities
rich with long-held complex cultural traditions. In contrast to
what has often been assumed, prior to the unification, the
Western Delta appears not to have been a regional backwater.

96
ABSTRACTS

On the one hand, results of current fieldwork in Saïs shed new


light on the early adoption of elements from the Neolithic
repertoire. Simultaneously, they enable a more thorough
investigation of the processes of continuity and change during
the transition of the Neolithic to the Lower Egyptian
Predynastic and the subsequent Naqadan Überlagerung.
This paper seeks to give a diachronical overview of the
development of Sa el-Hagar from the early Neolithic until the
late Predynastic with special attention to the interrelations
between agricultural, animal husbandry and cultural practices
and the specific local surroundings. As such, the authors hope
this paper will contribute to the ongoing deconstruction of the
assumed monothetic character of complexes of material culture
and to an increasing emphasis on intracultural variability.
This paper was developed as part of the humanities
engagement programme forming part of the University of
Durham and Egypt Exploration Society's archaeological project
in Saïs. The ongoing support of the Director of the
EES/Durham Saïs Mission, Dr Penelope Wilson, is appreciated.

Bibliography

WILSON, P., 2006. Prehistoric Settlement in the Western Delta:


A regional and local View from Saïs (Sa el-Hagar). JEA
92: 75-126.
WILSON, P. & GILBERT, G., 2003: The Prehistoric Period at
Saïs. Archéo-Nil 13: 65-72.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Center and periphery: the diffusion of Egyptian


merchandise in Israel’s Central Coastal Plain and
Shephelah during Naqada IIIB/C1.
A settlement-map update
Ram GOPHNA
Tel Aviv University, Israel

Azor, Tel Lod and Maghar are three sites in Israel’s Central
Coastal Plain which demonstrate a strong component of local,
late EB I Canaanite material culture interspersed with some
elements of Early Dynastic Egyptian material culture. The latter
is attested, for example, by ceramic imports and their local
‘imitations’, including bread moulds, bifacial flint tools and stone
palettes. They indicate the likely presence of Egyptian
immigrants at these three sites during late EB I/Naqada IIIB-
C1. From these places Egyptian commodities/ceramics were
dispersed through local trade to other late EB I Canaanite sites
which had no ‘Egyptian presence’ in this region, as well as in
parts of the Shephelah. Lately, an accumulation of both old (but
still unpublished) and new finds uncovered in the Central
Coastal Plain and Shephelah is gradually enabling us to present a
more complex picture of the Egyptian presence in late EB I
Canaan, clarifying some of the problems encountered in the
past.
The pattern that emerges from this updated map is one of
few late EB I Canaanite settlements in which Egyptian
immigrants apparently settled down on the one hand, and on the
other, many other local late EB I settlements without clear
evidence of an ‘Egyptian presence’ where Egyptian merchandise,
partly imported and partly locally produced, was diffused by
trade. The observed pattern may be typical for the Coastal Plain
at large and the country as a whole, as seemingly indicated by
recent finds from sites such as Assawir, Megiddo and Tell Abu
al-Kharaz.

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ABSTRACTS

Architectural representations on D-ware: identification and


comparison with archaeological data
Gwenola GRAFF
Laboratoire ESEP, Aix-en-Provence, France
Stan HENDRICKX
Dept. of Architecture and Fine Arts, Provinciale Hogeschool Limburg,
Hasselt, Belgium

The work undertaken by G. Graff on painted Naqadan vases


resulted in the creation of a complete list of the motifs that
compose the decoration of C- and D-ware (Graff in press).
Some motifs are at once recognizable, others are not. Among
those that one cannot identify at first sight is a design painted on
a Naqada II vase kept in the Ägyptische Sammlung der Universität
Tübingen, which drew the attention of both authors of this
communication. It is a motif composed of two vertical ‘fence-
like’ rectangles, connected at the top and base by a straight line,
which is sometimes spiked with small lines. Similar patterns have
also been found on other D-ware vessels.
The motif seems to evoke an architectural construction
made of perishable materials (mats, reeds, small posts), as was
the common building practice at this time (Badawy 1951; Kemp
1975; Porta 1989). We investigate these representations in order
to connect them with what is known of Naqadan construction
techniques based on vestiges unearthed to date (Weeks 1971-
1972; Adams 2002; Friedman et al. 2002; Friedman 2008). The
techniques suggested by the painted motifs were used in
predynastic architecture and basketwork, plentiful testimonies
for which have been found; they apply to daily life constructions
as well as to palatial, funerary or ritual architecture.
We also consider the context in which these patterns
appear on D-ware. As it was found that ritual situations were
being evoked on these vessels, especially indicated by the
presence of addax representations (Graff 2003), we
consequently studied what is known about ritual buildings and

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

early temples (Wilkinson 2000; Hendrickx 2001), such as they


are represented on Naqada III documents. It is indeed during
this period that the first representations of the so-called ‘South’
and ‘North’ chapels and of temples dedicated to divinities can be
detected.
The identification of architectural representations on D-
ware, along with their context of use, is an important step
toward the understanding of the appearance and function of
structures in the Naqada II period, such as they are found
during excavations.

Bibliography

ADAMS, B., 2002. Seeking the Roots of Ancient Egypt. A unique


Cemetery reveals Monuments and Rituals from before the
Pharaohs. Archéo-Nil 12: 11-28.
BADAWY, A., 1951. La première architecture en Egypte. ASAE
51: 1-28.
FRIEDMAN, R.F, 2008. Excavating Egypt’s early kings: Recent
discoveries in the elite cemetery at Hierakonpolis, [in:]
MIDANT-REYNES, B.; T RISTANT, Y. (eds.); ROWLAND, J.
& HENDRICKX, S. (coll.), Egypt at its Origins 2. Proceedings of
the International Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and
Early Dynastic Egypt”, Toulouse (France), 5th-8th September
2005. OLA. Leuven / Paris / Dudley (forthcoming).
FRIEDMAN, R.F.; WATRALL, E.; JONES, J.; FAHMY, A.G.; VAN
NEER, W. & LINSEELE, V., 2002. Excavations at
Hierakonpolis. Archéo-Nil 12: 55-68.
GRAFF, G., 2003. Les vases naqadiens comportant des
représentations d’addax. Cahiers Caribéens d’Egyptologie 5:
35-58.
GRAFF, G., in press. Les peintures sur vase de Naqada I-Naqada II.
Nouvelle approche sémiologique de l’iconographie prédynastique.
Egyptian Prehistory Monographs. Leuven.

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ABSTRACTS

HENDRICKX, S., 2001. Arguments for an Upper Egyptian


Origin of the Palace-façade and the Serekh during Late
Predynastic-Early Dynastic Times. GM 184: 85-110.
KEMP, B., 1975. Architektur der Frühzeit [in:] VANDERSLEYEN,
C., Das Alte Ägypten. Propyläen Kunstgeschichte 15.
Berlin: 99-112.
PORTA, G., 1989. L’architettura egizia delle origini in legno e materiali
leggeri. Milano.
WEEKS, K.R., 1971-1972. Preliminary Report on the First Two
Seasons at Hierakonpolis. Part II. The Early Dynastic
Palace. JARCE 9: 29-33.
WILKINSON, R.H., 2000. Temple Origins [in:] WILKINSON,
R.H. (ed.), The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. London:
16-19.

Some proposals for reconsidering the social dynamics of


Predynastic Lower Egypt and its neighbours
Frédéric GUYOT
Centre de Recherche sur la Préhistoire et la Protohistoire de la Méditerranée
(CRPPM), Toulouse, France; CNRS UMR 7041. Du village à l’Etat
au Proche et au Moyen Orient, Nanterre, France

The growing amount of data from the recent excavations of


Predynastic sites of the Nile Delta today offer the opportunity to
reconsider somewhat the understanding that we have of these
communities with regard to their social organization, the
modalities of exchange that proceed from it, and in more general
terms, the great processes of social change observable in the
south-eastern Mediterranean during the second half of the 4th
millennium.
Now, many anthropological concepts usually quoted for
the sake of argument in this approach have not been precisely
defined when they have been applied to Predynastic societies.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

The consequence of this is to complicate, indeed to warp, the


characterization of each of the Predynastic cultural groups with
regard to their different stages of evolution. This is especially
perceptible when the latter are compared to one another, more
particularly during the study of exchange or intercultural
emulation. The purpose of the present paper is not to present a
definitive classification of these societies but to propose some
elements for reflection, in particular concerning the so-called
Naqadan expansion and contacts with the South Levant.
The Naqadan expansion theory presupposes the existence
of chiefdoms or proto-kingdoms in Upper Egypt that, from the
Naqada II period, would have gained ascendancy over the
northern populations, which are usually qualified as ‘rather
egalitarian’. But, in fact, much recent research challenges this
view: first, because a large part of the ceramic types supposed to
be Naqadan in tradition and thus considered as proof of such an
expansion are already present in the local assemblages during the
previous period. Second, because the first manifestations of
differentiation in production modes as well as in social status did
not appear before the second part of Naqada II. Considering
this, it seems unlikely that the Naqadan expansion occurred in a
context of strong opposition between conquering hierarchical
systems and less integrated small communities. Thus it is
necessary to reconsider all of these technical terms which have
not been precisely defined.
Similar care must be applied to the analysis of the
contacts that the Lower Egyptian cultures had with those in the
South Levant. First, because many works still mention the
Chalcolithic chiefdoms of the Beersheba-Ghassul culture when it
was far more probably agro-pastoral population groups living in
different places at different times. Second, because the
disappearance of the ‘Chalcolithic way of life’ did not provoke
the collapse of any social organization but only the migration of
human settlement to the coastal plain where they maintained a
mode of production, certainly different from those of the
previous period, but very well structured. It goes without saying

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ABSTRACTS

that this view of the south Levantine communities has


important consequences for the reconstruction of contacts
between them and Lower Egypt.

The chronology of Naqada I tombs in the Predynastic


Cemetery U at Abydos
Rita HARTMANN
German Archaeological Institute, Cairo, Egypt

During the last 15 years, as part of the German Archaeological


Institute’s work at Abydos/Umm el-Qa‘ab, the Predynastic
Cemetery U was re-investigated and completely excavated. The
cemetery was already known from the excavations of E.
Amélineau and T.E. Peet who worked there at the end of the
19th and the beginning of the 20th century.
Although most of the approximately 680 tombs
belonging to the cemetery were found badly damaged by
plunderers and previous excavators, the recent work yielded
surprising results concerning the development of writing and
administration as well as the emergence of kingship in
Predynastic Egypt. From Naqada IID, Cemetery U seems to
have been a burial place exclusively for the elite, a tradition
which led ultimately to the Early Dynastic Royal necropolis at
Umm el-Qa‘ab.
As Cemetery U covers the entire Predynastic period, from
Naqada I to the beginning of the First Dynasty, it not only
provides an opportunity to study the development of tomb
architecture and other aspects of the material culture of the 4th
millennium BC, but also allows us to re-examine the
chronological framework of the Predynastic period established
previously by Petrie and Kaiser. Of special interest is the fact
that Cemetery U was already in use during the earliest stages of
the Naqada culture (early Naqada I) which are not, or only

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

rarely, represented in other recently investigated cemeteries, like


those at Hierakonpolis or Adaïma.
This paper presents the results of an examination and
seriation of the pottery inventories of more than 150 tombs of
Naqada I and early Naqada II date from Cemetery U. According
to these investigations, on the basis of the occurrence and
development of different pottery types and fabrics, it seems
possible to establish distinct chronological phases for the
Naqada I period, which confirm, at least partly, Kaiser’s former
division of Naqada I. The results yielded from Cemetery U are
compared with other Predynastic cemeteries, such as Amrah,
Mahasna and Naga ed-Der.

Tusks and tags


Stan HENDRICKX
Dept. of Architecture and Fine Arts, Provinciale Hogeschool Limburg,
Hasselt, Belgium

Besides pottery and palettes, tusks and tags are among the most
commonly known Predynastic objects. Several aspects of these
particular objects have already been discussed (Baumgartel 1955:
35-36, 1960: 57, 60-65; Finkenstaedt 1979; Nowak 2001, 2004),
but generally featured have been the more remarkable examples
with human representations. Tusks, made from this dental
defence mechanism of the hippopotamus, or imitations thereof
in other materials, may be worked and decorated or not, while
tags are generally smaller, always worked, and mainly flat or oval
in cross-section. Tags can be made of hippopotamus ivory but
also of bone and different types of stone. Tags and tusks have
been found in an important number of Predynastic tombs,
dating from at the least Naqada IB onward, but they seem to
disappear by the beginning of Naqada IID. Generally, two or
three examples are found together in a tomb, but they also occur

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ABSTRACTS

in settlements. The meaning of these objects has never been


explained in a satisfactory way.
Although fashioned from a number of materials, tusks
obviously originate from and are meant to evoke the actual tusks
of a hippopotamus, and therefore must be considered in the
broader context of hippopotamus representations during the
Naqada I-II period. Baumgartel (1955: 35-36, 1960: 60)
considered pairs of tusks to represent male and female, referring
to fertility rites, but this interpretation, most probably, should be
rejected. The documentation available at present indicates that
the human-headed tusks exclusively refer to symbolism related
to masculinity and not to fertility rites including a female
element.
Tusks and tags do not have specific funerary
connotations but were objects used in daily life, as is shown, for
example, by their presence in the so-called ‘town groups’ at
Badari (Brunton & Caton Thompson 1928). This also suggests,
in a general way, an apotropaic, magical function for the tags,
which we will try to define in more detail. For this, formal
similarities will be sought among figurines and flint knives.
Furthermore, the decoration of a number of tusks and tags with
human heads, birds or bird heads and finally bovine horns
allows a discussion within the context of Predynastic
iconography. The combination of male heads with highly
stylised bull horns indicates an exclusively male aspect for a part
of the tusks. But the shape of the tusks and tags can also be
linked to female representations, referring most probably to
religious forces supporting a positive afterlife. Both meanings
can be related on a more abstract level, indicating that the visual
element of the tusks and tags as a ‘cone’ has a semiotic meaning
of protective power that only obtains its specific meaning
through the context in which it is used (Hendrickx in press).

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Bibliography

BAUMGARTEL, E.J., 1955. The Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt I. (2nd.


rev. ed.) London.
BAUMGARTEL, E.J., 1960. The Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt II.
London.
BRUNTON, G. & CATON THOMPSON, G., 1928. The Badarian
Civlization and the Predynastic Remains near Badari. BSAE &
ERA 46, London.
FINKENSTAEDT, E., 1979. Egyptian Ivory Tusks and Tubes.
ZÄS 106: 51-59.
HENDRICKX, S., in press. Visual Representation and State
Development in Egypt [in:] S EIDLMAYER, S.J.,
Grenzbereiche der Schrift. Berichte und Abhandlungen der
Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.
Berlin.
NOWAK, E., 2001. Egyptian Predynastic Tusks decorated with
anthropomorphic Motifs [in:] PAPUCI-WŁADYKA, E. &
ŚLIWA, J. (eds.), Studia Archaeologica. Liber Amicorum
Ianussio A. Ostrowski ab amicis et discipulis oblatus. Kraków:
339-348.
NOWAK, E.M., 2004. Egyptian Predynastic Ivories decorated
with anthropomorphic Motifs [in:] HENDRICKX, S.;
FRIEDMAN, R.F.; CIAŁOWICZ, K.M. & CHŁODNICKI, M.
(eds.), Egypt at its Origins. Studies in Memory of Barbara
Adams. Proceedings of the International Conference “Origin of the
State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt”, Kraków, 28th
August-1st September 2002. OLA 138. Leuven / Paris /
Dudley: 891-904.

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ABSTRACTS

The magnetic method in the investigation of early


cemeteries: the case study of Cemetery U at Abydos
Tomasz HERBICH
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences,
Warsaw, Poland

The objectives of the geophysical prospection in Cemetery U at


Abydos were to verify earlier excavations carried out at the site
by the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) and to confirm
that all of the tombs with mud brick chambers had been
discovered in the southern part of the burial ground (and the
adjoining northern edge of Cemetery B). The choice of magnetic
method used for the prospection was dictated by the strong
magnetic properties of Nile mud employed in brick production.
The survey was conducted with a Geoscan Research FM 36
gradiometer, taking measurements in parallel mode on a grid of
0.25 x 0.50m (8 measurements per sq.m).
No unknown and unexcavated tombs were noted on the
magnetic map when compared to the archaeological plan of the
cemetery; however, analysis of the magnetic imaging of
particular tombs, which were well known with regard to their
spatial plan, construction and degree of preservation, produced
extremely interesting data on the potential of the magnetic
method for the investigation of cemeteries with similarly
constructed tombs erected in analogous terrain (desert plateau
sediments).
The analysis has led to a specification of architectural and
preservation parameters that allow tombs of this variety to be
traced by the magnetic method, i.e., the required mass of the
chamber walls, and depth of wall tops below the surface. This
knowledge will give archaeologists (as well as the consulted
geophysicist) a tool for determining whether magnetic
prospection would be useful as one of an array of methods for
investigating specific cemeteries.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Living and dying at el-Amra: discovering settlement


through geophysical and surface survey
Jane A. HILL
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Egyptian
Section, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Tomasz HERBICH
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences,
Warsaw, Poland

In the fall of 2007, a project sponsored by the University of


Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and
funded through a National Science Foundation grant conducted
a detailed survey of the Predynastic-Early Dynastic cemetery site
of el-Amra in the Qena district of Upper Egypt. The site was
last investigated in 1983 by Diana Craig Patch (1991) as part of a
general survey of Predynastic sites in the Thinite region. El-
Amra was excavated in the winter of 1900-1901 by David
Randall MacIver (1902) and Anthony Wilkin as part of a multi-
year investigation of the Abydos area by the Egypt Exploration
Society. The 1,000 graves they excavated produced
archaeological deposits ranging from the Naqada Ic period (c.
4000 BC) to the Second Dynasty (c. 2890 BC). Petrie (1920)
chose el-Amra as a type site and gave its name – Amratian – to
the first phase of Upper Egyptian Predynastic culture in his early
synthesis of prehistoric materials.
Many interesting aspects of the cemetery in relation to the
other great Upper Egyptian centers such as Naqada and
Hierakonpolis have remained understudied. The cemetery was
identified in Patch’s regional survey as being the largest, most
stable population center for the Abydene/Thinite region in the
Predynastic period, though its use appeared to have ceased in
the Early Dynastic period. In order to examine the Predynastic-
Early Dynastic transition at this key non-royal site, the el-Amra
Survey Year 2007 (EASY 2007) project, led by field director
Jane A. Hill, set out to map the physical and cultural aspects of

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ABSTRACTS

the site through topographic survey, magnetic survey, and


controlled surface collection of artifacts.
The project’s findings included evidence for a prolonged
use of the burial ground extending through the Middle and New
Kingdoms. Most interesting was the discovery of two distinct
settlement areas surrounded by mud and cobble walls on low
desert escarpments above the cultivation and at the edge of a
large desert wadi which divides the site. These habitation areas,
defined through geophysical survey conducted by Dr. Tomasz
Herbich of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish
Academy of Sciences, appear to have been used in the late
Predynastic/Early Dynastic period. Evidence of mud brick
architecture, mud plaster floors, and hearths were recorded.
Outside the settlement walls, surface collection retrieved mud
sealing fragments with impressions demonstrating that they were
used on doors, boxes, baskets, and bags.
These preliminary findings suggest that the site of el-
Amra has much more to teach us about the dynamics of state
formation in Upper Egypt and how the people who lived,
worked, and were buried at this site were affected by Egypt’s
transition to territorial statehood.
The EASY 2007 project was made possible through the
permission and assistance of the Republic of Egypt’s Supreme
Council of Antiquities, the cooperation of the Qena District
Inspectorate’s office, and with the administrative support of the
American Research Center in Egypt’s Cairo office.

Bibliography

PATCH, D.C., 1991. The Origin and Early Development of Urbanism


in Ancient Egypt: A Regional Study. U.M.I. / Philadelphia.
PETRIE, W.M.F., 1920. Prehistoric Egypt. BSAE & ERA 31.
London.
RANDALL-MACIVER, D. & MACE, A.C., 1902. El Amrah and
Abydos 1899-1901. EEF 23. London.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Shells in Neolithic and Predynastic Egypt


Maarten HORN
University of Leiden, The Netherlands

In graves dated to the Neolithic and, to a lesser degree, the


Predynastic period, the physical remains of the deceased often
show themselves to be ‘adorned’ with necklaces, armlets and
anklets. The materials that form part of these adornments
(although questioning their ornamental value) are the main
object of interest. As it would go too far to discuss all materials
here, we will mainly focus on one in particular, namely shells.
Shells have so far received little attention from archaeologists
working in the prehistoric period of Egypt, and their genera and
species are often the only things mentioned about them in
archaeological reports. However, it is precisely the genera and
species of these shells that can tell us a great deal about their
past movements in the landscape.
In Egypt, shells can be directly procured from three main
locations: the Nile, the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. As
most of the excavated Neolithic and Predynastic cemetery sites
are located near or in the Nile valley, the presence of shells
coming from as far away as the Red Sea is intriguing. Were these
shells procured by the people with whom they were buried or
were other processes going on, such as possible gift exchanges
or even dangerous conceptual processes like trade? Besides these
important questions, we may also ask why people chose to
adorn themselves with these shells: did their far away place of
origin have something to do with it? Did these shells have
particular meanings or symbolic values?
These questions may never be fully answered; however,
we can gain some insight by first looking at their exact find
contexts and by comparing these to ethnohistorical and
ethnographic case studies. Finally, it is interesting to compare
the use of specific shells from specific locales at different

110
ABSTRACTS

prehistoric sites in space and time. Why were certain shells


selected and others not?

Bibliography

MIDANT-REYNES, B., 2000. The Prehistory of Egypt. From the First


Egyptians to the First Pharaohs. Oxford / Malden.
WENGROW, D., 2006. The Archaeology of Early Egypt. Cambridge.

A new Archaic period cemetery at Abydos


Yasser Mahmoud HOSSEIN
Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt

Beginning in February–March 2007, an expedition of the


Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) initiated excavations at a
previously unknown cemetery of the Archaic period at Abydos.
The excavation is located about 435m to the south of the temple
of Seti I and about 1,146m to the south-east of the Umm el-
Qa‘ab. This expedition marks the first occasion on which the
SCA has brought together young inspectors who had received
their training from the Giza Field School 2006 to conduct
independent excavations. The team consisted of ceramicists,
draftsmen, excavators, and osteologists.
The excavations have revealed mud brick tombs of
different sizes and shapes, which may be dated by the pottery
and other objects to the Archaic period. In the first season 13
tombs were found, of which three, Tombs I, II, IV, were
cleared. Tomb I measures 10.87m long and 4m wide; Tomb II,
3.15m long and 2.20m wide; and Tomb IV, 4.90m long and
3.75m wide.
In Tomb I, we found one dish of alabaster and four of
pottery in situ with the remains of organic material, possibly a
funerary repast. The main brick walls of this tomb were built in

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

alternating courses of headers and stretchers and were covered


with sand plaster. No reed matting was observed. In Tomb II
we found the bottom part of a coffin in poor condition and the
remains of the tomb owner’s skeleton. Tomb IV contained three
complete vessels and the remains of the bottom part of the
tomb owner’s coffin, an animal skeleton, a gazelle skull, and the
foreleg of an animal in a wooden box. In addition we found a
partial seal impression with part of a ka sign and many pot
sherds dating to different periods. All of the tombs were roofed
by means of beams and wooden boards, except for Tomb IV
which had a roofing of wooden beams and marsh reeds.
In addition, we found 13 pit burials scattered around the
tombs, the majority of which were concentrated around Tomb I.
Most of these burials were in good condition and had the same
orientation. These burials are discussed in more detail by my
colleague, osteologist Ahmed Gabr.

Nabta Playa during the last few years


Heba Tallah A. A. IBRAHIM
Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt

This paper presents an overview of the recent fieldwork by the


Combined Prehistoric Expedition at Nabta Playa, located in the
south-western part of Egypt about 170km south-west of Abu
Simbel. Since 2003, several new projects have been initiated and
have resulted in many interesting discoveries. These include:

• The Nabta Megaliths Mapping project (2003-2005): this


project mapped the four unique fields of megalithic
stelae and megalithic alignments (lines of menhirs).
• The Tumulus of the Lord of Nabta (2004-2005): in the
western part of the Nabta Basin on a small hill was a

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ABSTRACTS

stone structure which covered a shaft. Although robbed


later, it contained the skull of a young boy.
• The discovery of the Sacred Mountain Area (2006-
2007): an area 1km² in the north section of the Nabta
Basin has been called the Sacred Mountain area, as it
contains many cult features dating from about 8,000 to
6,200 radiocarbon years BP. Several rock tumuli and
small offering shafts, each covered by stone slabs, were
found.
• An interesting association between 14C dates and lithic
typology within the Early Neolithic El Nabta Humid
Interphase has also been investigated.

New predynastic graffiti from Qubbet el-Hawa South,


Aswan
Alejandro JIMÉNEZ-S ERRANO
Universidad de Jaén, Spain

As result of a survey done by an Italian mission (Istituto Superiore


per le Tecniche di Conservazione dei Beni Culturali dell’Ambiente
‘Antoninio de Stefano’) – in which I took part as Egyptologist –
and the Supreme Council of Antiquities in November 2005, new
graffiti dated to the Predynastic period were found between
Qubbet el-Hawa and the Monastery of Saint Simeon. The new
material is heterogeneous, containing barques, gazelles and other
unidentified representations that will be discussed. All of the
identified motifs correspond to representations found previously
at other sites in Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia. These graffiti
confirm the great importance of the region during the
Predynastic period.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

The development of pottery production during the Early


Dynastic period and the beginning of the Old Kingdom: a
view from Tell el-Farkha
Mariusz JUCHA
Institute of Archaeology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland

The site of Tell el-Farkha (Eastern Nile Delta) has been the
focus of excavation by the Polish archaeological expedition since
1998. Until 2000, the work was mainly concentrated on the
Western and Central Koms, where settlement remains were
discovered. As a result of this work, the chronology of the site
was established and divided into seven main occupation phases
dating from the Predynastic Lower Egyptian culture to the
beginning of the Old Kingdom.
In 2001, work was started on the Eastern Kom, where the
first graves were discovered. During the following seasons,
investigation of this cemetery has continued. Moreover,
settlement strata on the same kom were also explored. In this
paper I will focus on the pottery found in the graves and
settlement strata of the Eastern Kom.
The chronological position of the graves (with pottery
assemblages) spans a period of time contemporary with the end
of the period of state formation in Egypt and the beginning of
its existence as an organized state after the unification. Most of
them date to the First Dynasty, although a few probably belong
to the Second Dynasty. Similarly, among the settlement strata of
the Eastern Kom, there are also layers dated to the Early
Dynastic period and the beginning of the Old Kingdom.
Several types of pottery were found in the graves, among
them: jars decorated with a single rope band; jars with three
rope-bands; jars decorated with lightly impressed half-bows
around the shoulder; different types of small jars; cylindrical jars
with decoration beneath the rim; cylindrical jars without
decoration; and different types of bowls and trays.

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ABSTRACTS

The pottery assemblage of several graves consists mainly


of different types of beer jars. Such jars were found in graves
excavated during 2006-2007 and date to the Early Dynastic
period (First/Second Dynasty). The evolution of beer jars is well
known in the Old Kingdom, but little attention has been given
to their earlier presence in the Naqada III period or even earlier.
The beer jars from Tell el-Farkha found in the graves, as well as
the fragments found in the settlement, may add new data useful
for establishing the typological development of this type of
vessel during the First and Second Dynasties as well as at the
beginning of the Old Kingdom.
Fragments of vessel types mentioned above were also
found in the settlement, although forms which do not occur in
the graves were also attested. A comparison of the pottery from
the settlement with that from the graves (situated in the same
area) allows us to trace the development of pottery production
and changes in the pottery shapes during the periods in
question, and adds new data important for understanding the
evolution of pottery, especially during the Second Dynasty and
the beginning of the Third Dynasty.

An early cult center at Abusir-Saqqara? Recent discoveries


at a rocky outcrop in north-west Saqqara
Nozomu KAWAI
Waseda University, Japan

Since 1991, a Japanese expedition from the Waseda University


Institute of Egyptology has been excavating at a rocky outcrop
in the desert approximately 1.5km to the north of the Serapeum.
Excavations on the summit of the outcrop have revealed a
monument of Khaemwaset and a mud brick structure belonging
to Amenhotep II and Thutmose IV.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Since 2001, work has focused on the south-eastern slope


of the outcrop where we have exposed a Middle Kingdom rock-
cut chamber, an early Old Kingdom layered stone structure, and
its subterranean chamber. This paper focuses on the layered
stone structure, the subterranean chamber, and its contents
which date from the Early Dynastic period to the early Old
Kingdom.
The layered stone structure was built in a wadi, which
runs down along the southeastern slope of the outcrop. It has a
slightly trapezoidal plan with its longer baseline running in an
east-west direction. The front façade, with a pronounced batter,
measures 34.3m wide, and 15 courses of stone remain, which
measure about 4.1m in height. The maximum length from the
corner of the façade to the northern edge of the visible area of
the structure is approximately 14m. The construction technique
is reminiscent of the Third Dynasty step or layered pyramids.
The slope of the frontal façade is at a 70 degree angle, leaning
against the hill behind, while the angles of the inner individual
layers of the stones were determined to be at about 20 degrees
inward with at least three internal accretion layers. A trench
made perpendicular to the façade of the layered stone structure
in the front area revealed the floor level at around the time of
the construction of the building and contained beer jar
fragments datable to the Third Dynasty, which is compatible
with the date for the layered stone structure.
Behind the structure on the slope, the subterranean
chamber, probably belonging to the layered structure, is hewn.
Although the shaft entrance was blocked by a stone portcullis
which usually indicates a burial, the subterranean chamber
contained a number of votive objects dating from the Early
Dynastic period to the early Old Kingdom, which are
comparable to the finds from early temple sites such as Abydos,
Hierakonpolis, Elephantine, and Tell Ibrahim Awad. It should
be noted that the chamber was reused in the Middle Kingdom
and cult debris from this period has been identified in front of
the layered stone structure.

116
ABSTRACTS

The evidence recovered to date permits a number of


important insights to be drawn about the significance of this
part of the vast Saqqara necropolis. The Early Dynastic to early
Old Kingdom material will be presented together with a
consideration of the nature of the site.

Situating the biocultural origins of ancient Egypt


Shomarka Omar KEITA
National Human Genome Center at Howard University
Dept. of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution, USA

The deep origins of culture along the Nile Valley have often
been discussed as though the Nile Valley and Egypt were an
island. Using aspects of the approach by historical
anthropologists working in other regions, Egyptian origins were
examined employing strong inference. Historical linguistics,
archaeology, aspects of culture (such as sources for symbols),
and human biology were used to examine old and new
hypotheses about the ‘origins’ of Egypt and its population. It is
to be noted that anthropologists interested in migration also
used linguistics, archaeology, and physical anthropology as
sources of independent data, but historical anthropologists have
used them to ‘triangulate’. The results will be discussed in light
of the history of ideas as well as recent discoveries.

117
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Lithic technology and production sequences: recent


investigations from Tell el-Fara‘in/Buto
Karin KINDERMANN
Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Cologne, Germany

The lithic artefacts from Buto (Tell el-Fara‘in) were intensively


analysed for many years by Klaus Schmidt, who developed a
compilation of typical stone tools as well as an analysis of
attributes for Buto. During the spring campaign of 2007, it was
possible to continue this work. More than 1,500 artefacts,
including tools and blanks, from the latest excavations in 2003–
2006 were recorded using the system established by Schmidt.
The majority of these knapped stone artefacts were retrieved
from the so-called ‘Labyrinthgebäude’ (E-sections) which,
according to the pottery evidence, seems to have been in use
from the early First to the middle of the Second Dynasty.
To supplement the work of Schmidt, attention was
turned to the reduction and production sequences (châine
opératoire), which gives evidence for the acquisition of raw
material and the preparation of stone tools. Four different
production sequences could be distinguished:
1. Production of blanks with an opportunistic strategy
2. Production of crescent drills
3. Serial production of regular sickle blades
4. Production of bi-facially retouched knives
Apart from the technical information that such
production sequences reveal, they also afford an insight into the
socio-economic situation at Buto during the Early Dynastic
period. Although no direct indications of workshops exist from
the excavations, it seems that all production processes took
place in Buto. Exceptional is a pit from the ‘Labyrinthgebäude’
where several thousand chips from the production of flint
knives were documented.

118
ABSTRACTS

Burial practices of the Final Neolithic pastoralists at Gebel


Ramlah, Western Desert of Egypt
Michał KOBUSIEWICZ
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences,
Poznan, Poland
Jacek KABACIŃSKI
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Science,
Poznan, Poland
Romuald SCHILD
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences,
Warsaw, Poland
Joel. D. IRISH
Dept. of Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA

During the winter seasons of 2000, 2001 and 2003, the team
from the Combined Prehistoric Expedition discovered and
investigated three separate clusters of burials along the western
edge of Gebel Ramlah Playa, some 130km west of Abu Simbel.
Each cluster represents an extended family burial ground
composed of richly furnished graves that, most likely, belonged
to individual families. Two types of burials were discovered:
single primary inhumations and multiple secondary burials. As a
rule, the bodies were committed to the earth within a plaitwork
container in a flexed position, with head to the west and facing
south. Great care was taken to restore burials disturbed during
successive interments. Among the grave goods were pottery and
stone vessels, toilet sets, colorants, palettes, abundant jewelry
and stone artifacts. Imported items from long distances prove
far-reaching cultural contacts. From the physical anthropological
point of view, the population exhibits evidence of North and
sub-Saharan African admixture. The three cemeteries belong to
the last Final Neolithic pastoralists who, during the second half
of the 5th millennium BC, inhabited the drying savanna in what
is today the Western Desert.

119
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Predynastic and Early Dynastic plant husbandry at


Tell el-Farkha as revealed by archaeobotanical evidence
Lucy KUBIAK-MARTENS
BIAX Consult, Research and Consultancy Service for Biological
Archaeology, The Netherlands

Analysis of plant remains, including cereals, seeds, tubers and


matting fragments, from diverse archaeological contexts at Tell
el-Farkha, has indicated complex patterns of plant production,
processing and use during the Predynastic and Early Dynastic
periods. They provide a significant source of information for a
better understanding of the site’s economy and the daily life (and
afterlife) of its inhabitants.
Two cereals – emmer wheat and barley – were cultivated
by the ancient Egyptians at Tell el-Farkha. Emmer wheat was
used to make bread but also was one of the ingredients in beer
production, while barley was presumably most suitable for
brewing. At least two pulses contributed to the diet of the site’s
inhabitants, namely pea and lentil. Other pulses, including grass
pea and bitter vetch, were cultivated presumably for human
consumption and as animal fodder. Cyperus esculentus (chufa), a
species of the sedge family, might have been cultivated for its
edible tubers. A number of wild plants were used for various
purposes. For example, stems and leaves of the common reed
(Phragmites australis) and possibly Arundo donax were used for
making mats.
A summary of the patterns observed in the botanical
samples with regard to the composition and species
representated in the Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods will
be outlined, together with a preliminary interpretation of the
results with respect to the history of agriculture in ancient Egypt.

120
ABSTRACTS

The tomb of King Ninetjer of the Second Dynasty at


Saqqara
Claudia LACHER
German Archaeological Institute, Cairo, Egypt

While the later dynasties with their pyramid-building projects


have been the focus of interest for a long time, the facts about
the Second Dynasty are just starting to emerge. Unlike the First
Dynasty kings’ tombs, which are located in Abydos, the early
kings of the Second Dynasty chose Saqqara for their afterlife
residence. They built their monumental gallery tombs next to a
wadi, which functioned as a natural causeway from the valley up
to the plateau. One or even more royal tombs are probably
situated south of these galleries, but the exact location of the
tombs of the mid-Second Dynasty kings is still obscure. The last
two kings, Peribsen and Khasekhemwy, went back to the
traditional necropolis of Abydos.
Since 2003 a re-examination of the tomb of Ninetjer, the
third king of the Second Dynasty, has been carried out by the
German Archaeological Institute (DAI) Cairo under the
directorship of G. Dreyer in cooperation with P. Munro (Dreyer
2007). Located beneath the Unas causeway, south of the
mastaba of Neb-Kau-Hor, the tomb was first discovered by S.
Hassan in 1938 (Hassan 1938). About 40 years later P. Munro
(TU-Hannover/FU-Berlin) started his work in the subterranean
system (Munro 1983: 278-282). In addition, he excavated some
areas above ground with the aim of investigating a possible
superstructure (Munro 1993: 50-54).
The tomb of Ninetjer may be described as a subterranean
paths or corridor-tomb, which is cut into the natural rock. Of
the formerly existing tumulus/mastaba above ground, no
remains could be found. The subterranean system extends over
an area of about 77 x 50m and is divided into 174 rooms,
running through the rock in a maze of winding paths. Originally
one could enter the tomb in the north via a rock-cut ramp,

121
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

which was subsequently blocked by two large porticulli stones;


because the Fifth/Sixth Dynasty mastaba of Neb-Kau-Hor is
built upon the original entrance, one now has to access the tomb
via the second porticullus shaft. To the south of the original
blockade, a 35m long main corridor leads to the burial chamber
at the southern end. Numerous narrow passages branch off east
and west of the main corridor and stretch out widely in a system
of small rooms. A rather different ground plan design is found
in the south-east side of the complex. Similar in shape to the
tomb of Ninetjer’s predecessor Hetepsekhemwy/Raneb, which
is situated 130m to the west, the rooms in the south complex are
organized in a more regular way, with two wide corridors leading
to large rooms with benches arranged along the sides.
This paper focuses on the architecture of Ninetjer’s tomb
and the historical development of tombs in the Second Dynasty.
With the aim of clarifying the labyrinth-like character, the
different architectonical elements will be discussed and
compared with contemporary private and royal corridor tombs
at Saqqara.

Bibliography

DREYER, G., 2007. Ein unterirdisches Labyrinth: Das Grab des


Königs Ninetjer [in:] DREYER, G. & POLZ, D. (eds.),
Begegnung mit der Vergangenheit. 100 Jahre in Ägypten.
Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Kairo 1907-2007. Mainz:
130-138.
HASSAN, S.A., 1938. Excavations at Saqqara 1937-1938. IV.
Underground cemetery of the IInd Dynasty. ASAE 38:
521.
MUNRO, P., 1983. Einige Bemerkungen zum Unas-Friedhof in
Saqqara. 3. Vorbericht über die Arbeiten der Gruppe
Hannover im Herbst 1978 und im Frühjahr 1980. SAK
10: 277-295.

122
ABSTRACTS

MUNRO, P., 1993. Report on the Work of the Joint


Archaeological Mission Free University of Berlin /
University of Hannover during their 12th Campaign (15th
March until 14th May, 1992) at Saqqâra. DE 26: 47-58.

Egyptian engineering in the Early Dynastic period: the


sites of Saqqara and Helwan
Angela LA LOGGIA
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Before the Pyramid Age, Egyptians were already building


monumental structures as is demonstrated by the massive mud
brick tombs and funerary palaces of the First and Second
Dynasty kings found at Abydos and in the elite cemetery at
Saqqara. In this early period timber was the material most often
used to roof the superstructures and substructures, whilst some
tomb owners also utilised this material to line their burial
chambers. A few of these tombs incorporated stone into their
structures, such as the granite pavement of King Den of the
First Dynasty, the limestone blocks lining the burial chamber of
King Khasekhemwy of the Second Dynasty and the stone
roofing in the First Dynasty Saqqara tombs 3507, 2185 and
3121.
The extensive burial site of the officials and lower classes
of the time, located on the east bank of the Nile at Helwan,
features monolithic limestone slabs used to line, pave and roof
some of these tombs. Whilst less than 0.5 percent of the more
than 10,000 tombs so far excavated contain stone, these Helwan
tombs stand out when it comes to the use of stone in the Early
Dynastic period. For example, stone slabs measuring 2.5 x 1.3 x
0.3m were used in Tomb Op. 1/1, whilst Tomb 385.H.4
contained slabs measuring 4.0 x 2.0 x 0.4m and weighing
approximately 7 tonnes.

123
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

It is, however, the humble mud brick that was the most
commonly used building material of the Early Dynastic period.
The massive mud brick structures built at this time not only
show impressive architectural skills, but also demonstrate the
high degree of proficiency of the builders. But how well
designed were these structures and why were they built this way?
Unlike modern buildings, built on engineered designs
centred on rational mathematical analysis of loads and strengths
of materials, the ancient Egyptians used an empirical design
based on practical and experimental limits of heights and wall
thicknesses.
This paper focuses on the Early Dynastic cemeteries at
Saqqara and Helwan, using modern engineering principles to
review the three main structural components of the tomb: the
retaining walls holding up the open cut in the substructure, the
freestanding walls used to separate the magazines in the
superstructures, and finally the roofing. The two sites will
initially be examined in isolation for visible chronological trends
and advancements in construction techniques, and then jointly
to establish if there are any discernible differences in the level of
construction between the elite tombs at Saqqara and the larger
mastaba tombs at Helwan.
The engineering analysis ultimately aims to demonstrate
that these structures were not built in an ad hoc manner, but were
constructed with a significant level of expertise, ingenuity and
resourcefulness at this early period in Egyptian history.

Bibliography

EMERY, W.B., 1938. The Tomb of Hemaka. Excavations at


Saqqara. Cairo.
EMERY, W.B., 1939. Hor-Aha. Excavations at Saqqara 1937–
1938. Cairo.
EMERY, W.B., 1949. Great Tombs of the First Dynasty I.
Excavations at Saqqara. Cairo.

124
ABSTRACTS

EMERY, W.B., 1954. Great Tombs of the First Dynasty II.


Excavations at Saqqara. London.
EMERY, W.B., 1958. Great Tombs of the First Dynasty III.
Excavations at Saqqara. London.
KÖHLER, E.C., 1998. Excavations at Helwan. New Insights into
Early Dynastic Stone Masonry. BACE 9: 65-72.
KÖHLER, E.C., 2000. Excavations in the Early Dynastic
Cemetery at Helwan. A Preliminary Report of the
1998/99 and 1999/2000 Seasons. BACE 11: 83-92.
KÖHLER, E.C., 2003. The New Excavations in the Early
Dynastic Necropolis at Helwan. Archéo-Nil 13: 16–27.
KÖHLER, E.C., 2004. On the Origins of Memphis–The new
Excavations in the Early Dynastic Necropolis at Helwan
[in:] HENDRICKX, S.; FRIEDMAN, R.F.; CIAŁOWICZ,
K.M. & C HŁODNICKI, M. (eds.), Egypt at its Origins. Studies
in Memory of Barbara Adams. Proceedings of the International
Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic
Egypt”, Kraków, 28th August-1st September 2002. OLA 138.
Leuven / Paris / Dudley: 295–315.
KÖHLER, E.C., 2005. Helwan I. Excavations in the Early Dynastic
Cemetery. Season 1997/98. SAGA 24. Heidelberg.
SAAD, Z.Y., 1947. Royal Excavations at Saqqara and Helwan (1941-
1945). Suppl. ASAE 3. Cairo: 1-25.
SAAD, Z.Y., 1951. Royal Excavations at Helwan (1945-1947).
Suppl. ASAE 14. Cairo: 1-52.
SAAD, Z.Y., 1969. The Excavations at Helwan. Art and Civilization
in the First and Second Egyptian Dynasties. Oklahoma.
WOOD, W., 1987. The Archaic Stone Tombs at Helwan. JEA
73: 59-70.

125
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Desert boats: rock art in Egypt’s Eastern Desert


Francis LANKESTER
Durham University, UK

Many boat petroglyphs have been recorded in the Nile Valley


(e.g., Berger 1992; Červíček 1974; Engelmayer 1989), but in
addition, nearly 800 boat motifs occur in Egypt’s Eastern Desert
in a roughly rectangular strip of 125 by 50km between the Nile
Valley and the Red Sea Hills. This area of 6,250 sq.km makes up
3 percent of the entire Eastern Desert, between 25° 00' to 26°
05' N and 33° 15' to 33° 45' E. Fifteen wadis have been
surveyed. Prior to 3500 BC, the climate of what is now the
Eastern Desert was moister, and depictions in the rock art show
a richer floral and faunal resource base.
The principle sources for this research are the Eastern
Desert Survey (EDS) (Rohl 2000) and Rock Art Topographical
Surveys (RATS) (Morrow & Morrow 2002) undertaken in 15 of
the Eastern Desert wadis. These projects were inspired by the
work of Weigall (1909), Fuchs (1989, 1991) and especially that
of Hans Winkler (1938) and the Robert Mond Expedition. EDS
and RATS recorded/re-recorded 220 sites, including 120 new
ones. On the basis of analogy with dated motifs from Nile
Valley contexts, petroglyphs from Predynastic, Pharaonic,
Greco-Roman, Blemmye and Arab times have been recorded.
Distribution of the rock art indicates a preference for low
and easily accessible locations. Eighty-five percent of sites are
found between 1-5 metres from the wadi floor. Motifs located
by the EDS and RATS can be broken down into approximately
2,000 animals, 800 anthropomorphs, and 770 boats. In general,
there are heavier concentrations of petroglyphs in the southern
wadis and lighter ones in the central wadis.
The main animal motifs are hippopotamus (29
depictions), crocodile (31), wild ass (44), elephant (59), giraffe
(83), dog, (277), ostrich (368), cattle (224) and ibex (1,000+)
(Judd 2006). It is clear that hunting scenes have continued to be

126
ABSTRACTS

depicted into modern times. Riverine animals are rarely depicted,


and there are few examples of herds of animals except ostriches,
which are shown in groups of up to 30.
Cattle are evenly distributed in the wadis. Forty-four
percent are individual depictions, and there are none of the large
herds attended by family groups as known in the Sahara. At
nineteen (21 percent) of the cattle sites, a human figure controls
an animal by a line attached to one horn. Two sites which are
very likely to have been water sources, Wadi Umm Salam-14 and
RME-26 in the Wadi Abu Wasil, have the largest number of
cattle depictions, with ten each. Cattle images are often shown
amongst hunting scenes and in association with boats. Packs of
dogs are common, and a significant motif involves the dogs
chasing down prey and grasping the animal by its snout and rear,
accompanied by bow- and stick-carrying hunters.
A feature of the Eastern Desert petroglyphs, not
commonly found in Nile Valley rock art, is that of the Arms
Raised Figure (ARF) where the arms are raised above the head
and curved inwards. They resemble figures on D-ware pottery
dated to the Naqada II C/D period. However, while these
figures are usually identified as female, those in the Eastern
Desert are either male or undetermined. There are 49 ARFs with
a distribution bias in the northern and southern wadis. There are
none in the central Wadi Iqaydi and perhaps only one in the
Wadi Shalul. Wadis Abbad and Baramiya have 17 or 40 percent
of the total. ARFs are strongly associated with boats. Twenty-
one (44 percent) stand in boats, and there is at least one in a
boat at 17 (55 percent) of the 33 sites at which there are ARF
motifs. There are only two sites with an ARF and no boats. In
both cases, the figures stand among ibexes. There is also an
association of the ARF figure with incurved boats.
Boats are present at 166 (82 percent) of the EDS/RATS
sites. Square-hulled boats make up two-thirds of the identified
motifs, in contrast to the Nile Valley rock art of Egypt and
Lower Nubia where sickle boats predominate. In addition, 75
percent of Eastern Desert boat petroglyphs are shown simply as

127
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

hulls and lack features such as oars and cabins. Whereas 36


sickle boats (14 percent) have oars, only a single square-hulled
boat does. Masts and sails are equally rare, with only 24 (9
percent) of sickle and 6 (1.5 percent) of square boats having one
or both. Crews are more prominent. Fifty-two (23 percent) of
the sickle and 101 (28 percent) of the square boats are shown
with crews, often indicated by simple lines. Significantly, 16 (45
percent) of the incurved square boats have a large human figure
amidships. This is the boat type most closely identified with the
ARFs, but only 10 percent and 11 percent of sickle and square
boats respectively possess a central figure. Boats being dragged,
37 from all boat types, constitute only 5 percent of boat motifs.

Bibliography

BERGER, M.A., 1992. Predynastic Animal-Headed Boats from


Hierakonpolis and Southern Egypt [in:] FRIEDMAN, R. &
ADAMS, B. (eds.), The Followers of Horus. Studies Dedicated to
Michael Allen Hoffman. Oxbow Monograph 20. Oxford:
107-120.
ČERVÍČEK, P., 1974. Felsbilder des Nord-Etbai, Oberägyptens und
Unternubiens. Ergebnisse der Frobenius-Expeditionen 16.
Wiesbaden.
ENGELMAYER, R., 1965. Die Felsgravierungen im Distrikt Sayala-
Nubien I: Die Schiffsdarstellungen. Österreichische Akademie
der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse,
Denkschriften 90. Wien.
FUCHS, G., 1989. Rock Engravings in the Wadi el-Barramiya,
Eastern Desert of Egypt. AAR 7: 127-153.
FUCHS, G., 1991. Petroglyphs in the Eastern Desert of Egypt:
New finds in the Wadi el-Barramiya. Sahara 4: 59-70.
JUDD, A., 2006. Presumed giraffe petroglyphs in the Eastern
Desert of Egypt. Rock Art Research 23: 59-70.
JUDD, A., 2007. Cattle petroglyphs in the Eastern Desert of
Egypt [in:] C ANNATA, M. (ed.), Current research in

128
ABSTRACTS

Egyptology 2006. Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Symposium.


University of Oxford 2006. Oxford: 120-138.
LANKESTER, F., Desert Boats. http://hometown.aol.co.uk
/lankester2/index.html
MORROW M. & MORROW T. (eds.), 2002. Desert RATS. Rock Art
Topographical Survey in Egypt's Eastern Desert. Site Catalogue.
London.
ROHL, D.M. (ed.), 2000. The Followers of Horus. Eastern Desert
Survey Report. Volume One. Abingdon.
WEIGALL, A.E.P., 1909. Travels in the Upper Egyptian Deserts.
Edinburgh / London.
WINKLER, H.A., 1938. Rock Drawings of Southern Upper Egypt. I.
Sir Robert Mond Desert Expedition. EES 26. London.

The evolution of s≈m-µ“≈ during Dynasties I-III


Alazne LEGARRETA HERNÁNDEZ
Institut d´Estudis del Pròxim Orient Antic, Universitat Autònoma de
Barcelona (IEPOA-UAB), Barcelona, Spain/Collège de France, Paris,
France

The aim of this communication is to analyze the evolution of


the s≈m-µ“≈ title during the three earliest dynasties of Egyptian
history and its relationship with other titles from the beginning
of the Old Kingdom.
The title s≈m-µ“≈ appears for the first time during
Dynasty I on seals from Saqqara (Tombs 3503, 3504 and 3506)
Abu Roash (Tomb VI) and Umm el-Qa‘ab (Tombs of Merneith,
Den, Qaa, etc.) as well as on some private funerary stelae from
Umm el-Qa‘ab from the reign of Den. It is also found on two
later stelae from Helwan (Dynasties II-III).
I would like to stress that many of these early objects
belonged to women (almost half of the stelae from Umm el-
Qa‘ab and one of the two stelae from Helwan). It is also striking

129
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

that many of the seals from Saqqara were found in the


subsidiary tombs around Tomb 3503, which belonged to a
woman named Merneith. Does this have bearing on the creation
of more female titles during Den’s reign?
As for the function of the s≈m.w-µ“≈.w, some authors
have suggested that they were funerary priests, but why then do
we find this title together with many other titles at the same
time? And how can we explain the disappearance of this title at a
time when many official titles in mortuary contexts were
proliferating? Does the appearance of this early title in the
Ramesseum Papyrus mean a re-appearance of this type of elite
official? As W.M.F. Petrie said in 1925, it could not be explained
at that time, but I hope to shed some new light on the
interpretation, translation and evolution of one of the first titles
to appear in the courtly environment of the kings of the first
dynasties.

Bibliography

AMELINEAU, É., 1899a. Les nouvelles fouilles d’Abydos I. (1895-


1896). Paris
AMELINEAU, É., 1899b. Le tombeau d’Osiris. Paris.
AMELINEAU, É., 1902. Les nouvelles fouilles d’Abydos II. (1896-
1897). Paris.
AMELINEAU, É., 1904. Les nouvelles fouilles d’Abydos III. (1897-
1898). Paris.
EMERY, W.B., 1949. Great Tombs of the First Dynasty I.
Excavations at Saqqara. Cairo.
EMERY, W.B., 1954. Great Tombs of the First Dynasty II.
Excavations at Saqqara. London.
EMERY, W.B., 1958. Great Tombs of the First Dynasty III.
Excavations at Saqqara. London.
KÖHLER, E.C. & JONES, J., in press. Helwan II. The Early
Dynastic and Old Kingdom funerary Relief Slabs. SAGA.
Heidelberg.

130
ABSTRACTS

LEGARRETA, A., 2006. La colección de estelas funerarias


privadas de Abido de las dinastías I y II en el Museo
Egipcio del Cairo. Letras de Deusto 36, n° 113: 9-68.
LEGARRETA, A., 2007. El título s≈m-µ“≈ durante las primeras
dinastías egipcias. Letras de Deusto 37, n° 117: 9-57.
PETRIE, W.M.F., 1900. The Royal Tombs of the First Dynasty. 1900.
Part I. EEF 18. London.
PETRIE, W.M.F., 1901. The Royal Tombs of the Earliest Dynasties.
1901. Part II. EEF 21. London.
PETRIE, W.M.F., 1902. Abydos. Part I. 1902. EEF 22. London.
PETRIE, W.M.F., 1925. Tombs of the Courtiers and Oxyrhynkhos.
BSAE & ERA 37. London.

Animal bones from ritual contexts at Hierakonpolis


Veerle LINSEELE
Center for Archaeological Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven,
Belgium
Wim VAN NEER
Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium

Faunal remains from the past four years of excavations at


Hierakonpolis have recently been studied. Together with results
obtained earlier, partly from re-analyses of previously studied
animal bones, a large archaeozoological dataset is now available
for the site. The data come from settlement contexts as well as
from the Predynastic temple (HK29A) and from several
cemeteries, including the elite cemetery at HK6. The major aim
of this paper is to highlight the peculiarities of the
archaeozoological assemblages from HK29A and HK6 by
comparing them with each other and with the fauna from other
localities at Hierakonpolis and other sites elsewhere in Upper
and Lower Egypt. The data throw light on the (ritual) activities
that were taking place at HK29A and HK6. The identified

131
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

species illustrate which animals were involved, and show that


different animals were used in different contexts. Through age
and sex distributions and size reconstructions, it may be
established whether all individuals from a species’ population
had equal importance for ritual activities or, instead, whether
there was a preference for animals with certain characteristics
(e.g., males, large individuals, etc.). Pathologies on the bones of
wild species are used as an indication that animals were held in
captivity prior to their slaughter during ritual activities. Animal
bones from HK29A seem to represent the remains of festivities
that were held there, possibly related to the anticipated arrival of
the annual flood of the Nile. At HK6 the faunal remains
represent food offerings as well as the burials of complete
individuals. The animals sacrificed at the cemetery may have
been an expression of the status or identity of the deceased
humans. In addition, they may have had a symbolic meaning or
have been part of one or more religious rituals.

Small artefacts made of clay and stone at Adaïma


Christine LORRE
Département d’archéologie comparée, Musée d’Archéologie nationale, Saint-
Germain-en-Laye, France

During the second part of the excavations at Adaïma (1997-


2005) under the supervision of B. Midant-Reynes and E.
Crubézy, numerous objects made of clay, such as disks,
anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines and pieces of boats,
and of stone, such as disks, maceheads and vases, were
recovered. Most were found in the settlement, but some of them
come from the eastern necropolis. With comparisons to similar
objects which are housed in museum collections, this
communication will try to show the chrono-typological context
of these finds as well as their relative topographical situation,

132
ABSTRACTS

which together may provide clues for understanding the socio-


economic organization of this predynastic site.

In search of the sƒm=f: the conception and development of


hieroglyphic writing through the reign of Aha
Elise V. MAC ARTHUR
Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, USA

The present state of scholarship treating early Egyptian writing


is unsatisfactory for two main reasons. First, the idea that
writing is intrinsically tied to spoken language has, until recently,
hindered the study of writing systems (Kahl 1994: 1). The
ongoing rejection of this concept is especially important for
Egyptology, as the Egyptian idiom exhibits a marked
disassociation between its spoken and written forms (Kahl 1994:
3). Secondly, due to the fragmentary nature of the evidence,
there is a general reluctance to speculate regarding the meaning
of early inscriptions. While this apprehension is understandable,
its extension to considerations of basic grammatical
components, which are both feasible and productive, is
unwarranted.
Addressing these problematic aspects of the study of the
early Egyptian writing system is important, as a better
understanding of the archaic script will allow for a more
complete appreciation of the language as a whole. This is
because, in considering the development of early writing, we can
observe the deliberate choices that were made regarding
morphology, semantics and syntax, which were crystallized in
the better known stages of the language.
Furthermore, an examination of writing at this stage is
particularly relevant to the study of the processes of cultural and
political unification. From the moment of its creation, the use of
the Egyptian script was restricted to the ruling elite, as its

133
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

application was limited to the expression of numbers, economic


goods, names, titles, and events (Kahl 1994: 11). Additionally,
within the system itself, a push towards standardization in sign
orientation, defective and complete writing, and sign inversion is
visible. Thus, written language offers another medium through
which we can view the socio-political landscape at this time in
Egyptian history.
Therefore, in considering the various stages of the
evolution of the Egyptian writing system, attested in epigraphic
material dating from the Predynastic period through the reign of
Aha, I attempt to determine the point at which discernable
forms of grammar emerged. I begin by defining each stage of
the development of written language in linguistic terms. Then, in
order to identify early attestations of grammatically meaningful
constructions, I analyze the transliterations and translations of
representative examples from Kahl’s Quellenliste (Kahl 1994: 171-
906). I conclude that, while very early inscriptions seem to
function as captions, stringing nouns together in genitival
relationships, slightly later epigraphic material appears to
demonstrate the first uses of modified verb forms, thus
indicating a deliberate drive towards standardization in
ceremonial and administrative uses of written language during
this formative stage.

Bibliography

KAHL, J., 1994. Das System der ägyptischen Hieroglyphenschrift in der


0.-3. Dynastie. Göttinger Orientforschungen IV.29.
Wiesbaden.

134
ABSTRACTS

Lower Egyptian–Naqadan transition: a view from Tell el-


Farkha
Agnieszka MĄCZYNSKA
Poznan Archaeological Museum, Poznan, Poland

The archaeological site at Tell el-Farkha provides a great


opportunity to study the transition between the Lower Egyptian
culture and the Naqada culture. Continuous occupation of the
site from the appearance of the first settlers of Lower Egyptian
culture to the so-called ‘cultural unification of Egypt’ has been
confirmed by excavations conducted by Polish Archaeological
Expedition to the eastern Nile Delta.
Tell el-Farkha is one of only a few sites where a
settlement of the Lower Egyptian culture has been uncovered.
Unfortunately, we still have not discovered a cemetery belonging
to this early settlement, but the results of research by the French
expedition at Kom el-Khilgan directed by B. Midant–Reynes
show very clearly that occupation of the eastern Nile Delta
during the early Predynastic period was denser than we had
previously supposed (Tristant & De Dapper 2008). Due to the
lack of data, there are many unanswered questions and some
uncertainty about the character of the Lower Egyptian culture
and the appearance of the Naqada culture in Lower Egypt.
Some of these issues were discussed by Christiana Köhler at the
last conference in Toulouse, France (Köhler 2008).
The reasons for the transitions in these two societies have
been explained variously by many authors as military conquest,
peaceful movement or migration related to demographic
pressures, the rise of trade and even as cultural evolution or the
mingling of ideas and materials (Bard & Carneiro 1989;
Campagno 2003; Köhler 1995a, 1995b, 2008; Midant-Reynes
1992, 2003; Perez-Largacha 1993, 1995, 1996; Trigger 1983;
Wildung 1984; van den Brink 1989). In most of these theories,
these two cultures are considered in opposition to each other.
Naqada culture is always seen as more developed and socially

135
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

stratified, even if this process had just begun. Lower Egyptian


culture appears fairly unspectacular in comparison to the
Naqada culture with its egalitarian social system, simple, poor
burials, and household production. The only advantage this
simple farming community society seemed to have had is an
existing exchange network with the South Levant. And,
according to many authors, this exchange is one of the most, if
not the most important, reasons for the Naqadan appearance in
Lower Egypt.
In this paper I compare the Lower Egyptian culture and
the Naqada culture as two equivalent communities. The results
of this comparison are a starting point for an analysis of the
Lower Egyptian-Naqadan transition on the basis of data
collected at Tell el-Farkha. Of the aspects taken into
consideration, stratigraphy, pottery tradition, architecture and
economy are the most important.

Bibliography

BARD, K.A. & CARNEIRO, R.L., 1989. Patterns of Predynastic


Settlement Location, Social Evolution, and the
Circumscription Theory. CRIPEL 11: 15-23.
CAMPAGNO, M., 2004. In the Beginning was the War. Conflicts
and the Emergence of the Egyptian State [in:]
HENDRICKX, S.; FRIEDMAN, R.F.; CIAŁOWICZ, K.M. &
CHŁODNICKI, M. (eds.), Egypt at its Origins. Studies in
Memory of Barbara Adams. Proceedings of the International
Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic
Egypt”, Kraków, 28th August-1st September 2002. OLA 138.
Leuven / Paris / Dudley: 689-703.
KÖHLER, E.C., 1995a. The State of Research on Late
Predynastic Egypt: New Evidence for the Development
of the Pharaonic State? GM 147: 79-92.
KÖHLER, E.C., 1995b. Evidence for interregional Contacts
between Late Prehistoric Lower and Upper Egypt-A
View from Buto [in:] KRZYŻANIAK, L.; KROEPER, K. &

136
ABSTRACTS

KOBUSIEWICZ, M. (eds.), Interregional Contacts in the Later


Prehistory of Northern Africa. Poznan: 215-226.
KÖHLER, E.C., 2008. The Interaction between and the Roles of
Upper and Lower Egypt in the Formation of the
Egyptian State-Another Review [in:] MIDANT-REYNES,
B.; TRISTANT, Y. (eds.); ROWLAND, J. & HENDRICKX, S.
(coll.), Egypt at its Origins 2. Proceedings of the International
Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic
Egypt”, Toulouse (France), 5th-8th September 2005. OLA.
Leuven / Paris / Dudley (forthcoming).
MIDANT-REYNES, B., 1992. Préhistoire de l’Égypte. Des premiers
hommes aux premiers pharaons. Paris.
MIDANT-REYNES, B., 2003. Aux origines de l’Égypte. Du
Néolithique à l’émergence de l’État. Paris.
PEREZ-LARGACHA, A., 1993. Some Suggestions and
Hypotheses concerning the Maadi Culture and the
Expansion of Upper Egypt. GM 135: 41-52.
PEREZ-LARGACHA, A., 1995. Chiefs & Chiefdoms in
Protodynastic Egypt. Journal of Ancient Civilizations 10: 101-
110.
PEREZ-LARGACHA, A., 1996. The Rise of Egyptian State and
Carneiro Circumscription Theory. CRIPEL 18: 107-118.
TRIGGER, B.G., 1983. The Rise of Egyptian Civilization [in:]
TRIGGER, B.G.; KEMP, B.J.; O’CONNOR, D. & LLOYD ,
A.B., Ancient Egypt: A Social History. Cambridge: 1-70.
TRISTANT, Y. & DE DAPPER, M., 2008. Human Occupation of
the Nile Delta during Pre- and Early Dynastic Times. A
View from Kom el-Khilgan [in:] M IDANT-REYNES, B.;
TRISTANT, Y. (eds.); ROWLAND, J. & HENDRICKX, S.
(coll.), Egypt at its Origins 2. Proceedings of the International
Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic
Egypt”, Toulouse (France), 5th-8th September 2005. OLA.
Leuven / Paris / Dudley (forthcoming).
VAN DEN BRINK, E.C.M., 1989. A Transitional Late
Predynastic–Early Dynastic Settlement Site in the
northeastern Nile Delta, Egypt. MDAIK 45: 55-108.

137
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

WILDUNG, D., 1984. Terminal Prehistory of the Nile Delta:


Theses [in:] KRZYŻANIAK, L. & KOBUSIEWICZ, M. (eds.),
Origin and Early Development of Food-Producing Cultures in
North-Eastern Africa. Poznan: 265-270.

Model formation of complex societies in Africa through


funerary evidence: the Upper Nile Valley as a case study.
The database
Sabina MALGORA
University of Bologna, Italy

This research concerns the study of social stratification and the


hierarchical differentiation of the people living in the Upper Nile
Valley in the areas known as Upper Egypt, Lower Nubia and
Upper Nubia. The analysis is based on the archaeologically
derived funerary evidence from selected cemeteries of the 4th
millennium BC: two at Hierakonpolis, localities HK6 and HK27;
one at Qustul, cemetery L; and the cemeteries of El-Kadada.
This is the subject of my PhD research, which was completed in
2006 at the Oriental Institute of Naples.
Several databases, created expressly to satisfy the
requirements of this research, such as a digital archive of the
cemeteries, will be presented. The database, with tables and
windows, can be a useful tool for the study of cemeteries thanks
to its capacity for collecting and storing data and the possibility
of continuous updating. All databases have been interfaced to
digital maps of the cemeteries for a deeper interpretation of the
archaeological situation in the organization of the graves in the
funerary area. The data processing takes into consideration
previous publications and the social and historical situations as a
background.

138
ABSTRACTS

The analyses allowed by the database enable the study of


the social evolution visible in these Upper Nile Valley sites
during the 4th millennium.

The corpus of potmarks from Tarkhan


Lisa MAWDSLEY
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

From January 1912 to early March 1913, Flinders Petrie and a


small team spent two short winter seasons at the site of Tarkhan
in the Memphite-Fayum region. The results of their
investigations were published in two excavation reports
commonly referred to as Tarkhan I (Petrie et al. 1913) and
Tarkhan II (Petrie 1914). The reports and accompanying tomb
cards provide a wealth of data on the site, particularly in relation
to a significant corpus of potmarks. Most of the marks date to
the First Dynasty, although the corpus does include marks on
pottery from the Late Predynastic period. The 282 potmarks
discovered upon complete vessels and fragments were illustrated
by Hilda Petrie and Gerald Wainwright and published in the
plates of both excavation reports. Some of the marks were
included in van den Brink’s (1992) corpus of published First
Dynasty potmarks and in the comparative tables of Helck’s
(1990) Thinitische Topfmarken, but had not been studied in any
detail since their original publication. This paper takes the
opportunity to report on the results of a recent unpublished
study of the potmarks of Tarkhan (Mawdsley 2006a).
One of the initial aims of the study was to reconcile the
282 published marks with their original pottery carriers in order
to draw more accurate conclusions regarding the possible
function and meaning of First Dynasty potmarks. Contact with
museum collections throughout the world, along with an
examination of the handwritten tomb cards, has resulted in the

139
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

identification of an additional 66 potmarks for the site, bringing


the total number of marks to 348. Of this number, the pottery
carriers for 102 marks have been identified in museum
collections, while 84 marks have been provisionally reconciled
with their pottery carriers (Mawdsley 2006b, forthcoming).
A further aim of the study was to assess the extent to
which the trends identified by van den Brink (1992) were
observable at Tarkhan. The major trend observed relates to the
appearance of potmarks on two principal carriers, namely wine
jars and ovoid-shaped storage vessels. This trend is observed at
Tarkhan where there are 65 examples of marked wine jars and
57 examples of marked ovoid-shaped storage vessels. Further
trends relating to the frequency of application of marks
comprising single or combination signs along with the
chronological application of marks during the First Dynasty will
also be examined in the light of evidence from the site. This
paper also takes the opportunity to discuss in more detail the
types of marks identified on wine jars at Tarkhan.

Bibliography

HELCK, W., 1990. Thinitische Topfmarken. Ägyptologische


Abhandlungen 50. Wiesbaden.
MAWDSLEY, L., 2006a. The Potmarks of Tarkhan: An Examination
of the Administrative Function of First Dynasty Potmarks from
Egypt. Unpubl. B.Litt. thesis, Monash University,
Melbourne.
MAWDSLEY, L., 2006b. A First Dynasty Egyptian Wine Jar with a
Potmark in the Collection of the Australian Institute of
Archaeology. Buried History 42: 11-16.
MAWDSLEY, L., forthcoming. Provenanced and unprovenanced
Potmarks from Tarkhan. Cahiers Caribéens d’Egyptologie 11.
PETRIE, W.M.F., 1914. Tarkhan II. BSAE & ERA 26. London.
PETRIE, W.M.F.; WAINWRIGHT, G.A. & GARDINER, A.H.,
1913. Tarkhan I and Memphis V. BSAE & ERA 23.
London.

140
ABSTRACTS

VAN DEN BRINK, E.C.M., 1992. Corpus and Numerical


Evaluation of the “Thinite” Potmarks [in:] FRIEDMAN, R.
& ADAMS, B. (eds.), The Followers of Horus. Studies Dedicated
to Michael Allen Hoffman. Oxbow Monograph 20. Oxford:
265-296.

Local versus national tradition: early shrines as


‘autonomous centres of culture’?
Liam MCNAMARA
St John’s College, University of Oxford, UK

In a forthcoming article (McNamara 2008) I re-evaluate the


archaeological record of excavations in the temple enclosure at
Hierakonpolis (Quibell 1900; Quibell & Green 1902), outlining a
new interpretation of the central revetted mound and an
alternative context for the Main Deposit. I propose that the
remains derive, not from the foundation of an Early Dynastic
temple, but from a royal ritual precinct – what Kemp (1989: 56,
fig. 18) terms a ‘court of royal appearance’ – or an arena for the
performance of ceremonies associated with kingship. I suggest
an original appearance for the enclosure and its uses by analogy
with the scenes on the Narmer mace-head (Oxford, Ash.
E.3631), and argue that the majority of artefacts from the Main
Deposit are more intelligible in relation to royal cultic activity
and ideology than to the cult of any single deity. Links can be
made between the objects and festivals of kingship, particularly
the sed-festival, and the prominence of royal iconography in the
assemblage exemplifies the importance of kingship and its
celebration during the late Predynastic and Early Dynastic
periods.
This paper poses some related questions about the
current identification of other ‘votive’ deposits and their
association with early temples. The standard interpretation of

141
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

the Hierakonpolis Main Deposit – that it represents discarded


temple furniture – has influenced the interpretation of
comparable deposits found at sites throughout Egypt. These
include objects discovered in buildings identified as early
temples at Elephantine (Dreyer 1986) and Tell Ibrahim Awad
(Eigner 2000), as well as the material excavated by Petrie (1902;
1903) in the ‘M Chambers’ at Abydos. Some typologically
comparable material from illicit excavations which appeared on
the antiquities market in the 1940s or 1950s (Müller 1964) has
also been used in the interpretation of the various deposits, but
cannot be associated with a single source. Most recently, a
spectacular find at Tell el-Farkha in the Nile Delta (Ciałowicz
2007) has increased the range of comparable pieces, but also
highlights some of the problems with the current interpretation
of all of this material.
In the case of Hierakonpolis, the standard argument is
somewhat circular: the interpretation of the revetted mound as
the foundation for an early temple has informed the
interpretation of the objects, and vice versa. Our understanding
of what constitutes an early temple cache is based upon such
deposits, but if the prime example of Hierakonpolis may not
originate from a temple context, the contexts of the other finds
might also bear re-examination. This paper briefly surveys the
sites where such deposits have been found and suggests
alternative ways in which they might be interpreted; I argue that
the evidence for early temples at each of the sites is equivocal,
and that their dedication to the gods or goddesses associated
with them in later times (where known) cannot be positively
asserted for the earliest periods.
These considerations lead me to challenge the influential
theory that such objects represent an indigenous artistic tradition
of the general population – what Kemp (2006: 134) terms ‘folk
culture’ – contrasted with the ‘official’ art introduced and
propagated by the State (cf. Capart 1905). The shrines
themselves have been described as ‘autonomous centres of
culture’ (Kemp 2006: 112) where distinctive artistic and

142
ABSTRACTS

iconographic traditions developed as a result of ‘local diversity’.


A study of the entire corpus, however, highlights striking
similarities between the various deposits, and this pattern of
distribution does not suggest a series of disparate local
traditions, but a common iconographic tradition that was spread
over the entire country. I argue that the objects are products of a
national elite culture and ideology, perhaps centred on the
institution of kingship; certain objects, common to the various
deposits, focus on the cults of kings rather than those of gods,
and this may reflect a reality of early cultic practice in Egypt.
Each of the sites could therefore represent a centre at which
kingship was ritually displayed and celebrated. Promotion of the
royal office was presumably vital to the ideology of the incipient
state, and such centres could have consolidated the king’s power
by distributing the ‘cult of kingship’ across the entire country.

Bibliography

CAPART, J., 1905. Primitive art in Egypt. London.


DREYER, G., 1986. Elephantine VIII. Der Tempel der Satet. Die
Funde der Frühzeit und des Alten Reiches. AV 39. Mainz.
EIGNER, D., 2000. Tell Ibrahim Awad: Divine Residence from
Dynasty 0 until Dynasty 11. Ägypten und Levante 10: 17-36.
CIAŁOWICZ, K.M., 2007. Ivory and Gold. Beginnings of the Egyptian
Art. Discoveries in Tell el-Farkha (the Nile Delta). Kraków.
KEMP, B.J., 1968. The Osiris Temple at Abydos. MDAIK 23:
138-155.
KEMP, B.J., 1989. Ancient Egypt. Anatomy of a Civilization.
London.
KEMP, B.J., 2006. Ancient Egypt. Anatomy of a Civilization. London
(2nd rev. ed.).
MCNAMARA, L., 2008. The Revetted Mound at Hierakonpolis
and Early Kingship: A re-interpretation [in:] MIDANT-
REYNES, B.; T RISTANT, Y. (eds.); ROWLAND, J. &
HENDRICKX, S. (coll.), Egypt at its Origins 2. Proceedings of
the International Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and

143
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Early Dynastic Egypt”, Toulouse (France), 5th-8th September


2005. OLA. Leuven / Paris / Dudley (forthcoming).
MÜLLER, H.W., 1964. Ägyptische Kunstwerke, Kleinfunde und Glas in
der Sammlung E. und M. Kofler-Truniger, Luzern. MÄS 5.
Berlin.
PETRIE, W.M.F., 1902. Abydos. Part I. 1902. EEF 22. London.
PETRIE, W.M.F., 1903. Abydos. Part II. 1903. EEF 24. London.
QUIBELL, J.E., 1900. Hierakonpolis I. ERA 4. London.
QUIBELL, J.E. & GREEN, F.W., 1902. Hierakonpolis II. ERA 5.
London.

Pottery production in the Naqada I-II period from the


‘influence area of Abydos’: some new iconographic
considerations
Ana Isabel NAVAJAS JIMÉNEZ
Autonoma University of Madrid, Spain
Postdoctoral scholarship, University of Oxford, UK

White cross-lined pottery of the Naqada I-IIA period has been


known since the end of the 19th century from the discoveries of
Petrie and others. Most of the great museums of the world
house some example of this ware type. Moreover, important
discoveries in Cemetery U at Abydos have recently shed new
light on the archaeological context of these items (Dreyer et al.
1998, 2000, 2003). Nevertheless, there are still very few studies
related to this pottery type as a whole. In 1980 Finkenstaedt
proposed that two regional painting styles in this Naqada I
pottery, centered on Abydos and Naqada, respectively, could be
differentiated, with their specific characteristics shared by
localities situated in their regional surroundings.
The work developed in the present paper attempts to
analyze the production of white cross-lined pottery coming from
Abydos and from the ‘influence area of Abydos’. The

144
ABSTRACTS

perspective taken for this study is global. Abydos, Mahasna, Nag


el-Alwana, Mesa'eed and Naga ed-Dêr (Lythgoe & Dunham
1965) are considered to belong to the territory sharing similar
iconographic and iconological characteristics. The most
important iconographic characteristics involve three key
elements: zigzag lines depending from the rim of the bowls; the
specific designs and development of vegetal motifs on the
surface of the pots; and the important role that human figures
play in the composition of the scene, which clearly relates to the
importance that chiefs had achieved in the community.
Upper Egypt in Naqada I-II was obviously organised into
complex chiefdoms, and one of the most important duties of
the chief is clearly told on these vessels: the management and
control of natural and supernatural forces (Graff 2004). The
forces to be controlled are viewed principally as hunted animals,
such as the hippopotamus (the most dangerous animal in the
Nile river), and people, the human enemies of the territory. This
iconography was shared by members of the most important
families of the communities in the area of Abydos, and it was
created and consumed inside local and social circuits. The
redistribution of these products inside some family groups can
partly explain why the localities used very similar forms of
expression and iconographic techniques.
However, white cross-lined pottery also played an
important role in the exchange system as a prestige good, for
these wares were also ‘exported’ to other localities. Vessels with
the typical decoration of Abydos have been found in
Hammamiya, Matmar, Gebelein and Naqada (Brunton 1948;
Brunton & Caton Thompson 1928). These vessels were
appreciated because they were prestigious objects and because
they possibly held a central place in the life of these
communities (gift exchange and/or religious events), which is
why the final resting place for these bowls was in a tomb – the
tomb of the pot’s owner.
Finally, as a result of the present work, the analysis of all
the vessels of this type has allowed me to ascribe pots of

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

unknown provenance, housed in different museums of the


world, to very exact localities or, at least, with a certain degree of
confidence, as having been made in the ‘influence area of
Abydos’.

Bibliography

BRUNTON, G., 1948. Matmar. London.


BRUNTON, G. & CATON -THOMPSON, G., 1928. The Badarian
Civilisation and Predynastic Remains near Badari. BSAE &
ERA 46. London.
DREYER, G.; HARTUNG, U.; HIKADE, T.; KÖHLER, E.C.;
MÜLLER, V. & PUMPENMEIER, F., 1998. Umm el-Qaab:
Nachuntersuchungen im frühzeitlichen Königsfriedhof
9./10. Vorbericht. MDAIK 54: 77-167.
DREYER, G.; VON DEN DRIESCH, A.; ENGEL E.-M.;
HARTMANN, R.; HARTUNG, U.; HIKADE, T.; M ÜLLER,
V. & PETERS, J., 2000. Umm el-Qaab:
Nachuntersuchungen im frühzeitlichen Königsfriedhof
11./12. Vorbericht. MDAIK 56: 43-129.
DREYER, G.; HARTMANN, R.; HARTUNG, U.; HIKADE, T.;
KÖPP, H.; LACHER, C.; MÜLLER, V.; NERLICH, A. &
ZINK, A., 2003. Umm el-Qaab. Nachuntersuchungen im
frühzeitlichen Königsfriedhof 13./14./15. Vorbericht.
MDAIK 59: 67-138.
FINKENSTAEDT, E., 1980. Regional Painting Style in Prehistoric
Egypt. ZÄS 107: 116-120.
GRAFF, G., 2004. Les peintures sur vases Nagada I-Nagada II.
Nouvelle approche sémiologique [in:] HENDRICKX, S.;
FRIEDMAN, R.F.; CIAŁOWICZ, K.M. & CHŁODNICKI, M.
(eds.), Egypt at its Origins. Studies in Memory of Barbara
Adams. Proceedings of the International Conference “Origin of the
State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt”, Kraków, 28th
August - 1st September 2002. OLA 138. Leuven / Paris /
Dudley: 765-777.

146
ABSTRACTS

LYTHGOE, A.M. & DUNHAM, D., 1965. The Predynastic Cemetery


N7000. Naqa-ed-Dêr. Part IV. Berkeley / Los Angeles.
WOLTERMAN, C., 2001-2002. C-Ware Cairo Dish CG 2076 and
D-Ware Flamingos: Prehistoric theriomorphic Allusions
to Solar Myth. Jaarbericht “Ex Oriente Lux” 37: 5-30.

Implications for the origin and dispersal of black-topped


pottery
Kit NELSON & Eman KHALIFA
Tulane University, USA

The earliest date for the emergence of black-topped pottery is


from the Egyptian Western Desert. It is part of a pastoral life-
way that includes a developed ceremonial system. By Naqada II,
black-topped pottery is widely distributed throughout the
Egyptian territories. This process, which includes changes in the
distribution and social role of black-topped pottery, is explored
using variables such as environment, associated radiocarbon
dates, subsistence base and context. These data together
demonstrate a dynamic system of change and adaptation that
moves beyond a pastoral origin to the emergence of the
Egyptian State.

147
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Sources of power in Predynastic Hierakonpolis: legacies


for Egyptian kingship
Patricia PERRY
Stanford University, USA

Many theorists of social complexity depict political centralization


as an adaptation by elite groups to protect their unequal access
to subsistence or luxury goods. Physical coercion maintains an
elite’s economic power while ideology confers post hoc legitimacy.
Yet, in the case of the cult center of Hierakonpolis,
archaeological finds from Naqada IC-IIAB suggest that certain
Predynastic leaders developed their sacred authority first as the
foundation for economic power and political centralization.
The Hierakonpolis elite created new sacred space at the
ceremonial center (HK29A) and at the funerary precinct in the
elite cemetery (HK6), and likely conducted rituals there to create
order and renewal at the time of inundation and in the afterlife.
The elite cemetery expressed dominance in life and the afterlife
with its walled mortuary complex containing multiple buildings
of monumental size; the ceremonial interments of exotic/sacred
animals such as elephants and baboons; and the deposits of
precious ritual objects and grave goods. The ceremonial center
offered a stage for large-scale animal sacrifices and other rituals
that would have required overt sacred leadership, community
organization to mount the festivals at the flood’s beginning,
production of many ritual objects, and the acquisition of
substantial numbers of exotic animals, livestock, and fish as well
as ceremonial beer and other foodstuffs. These sacred rituals
would have enabled the Hierakonpolis rulers to leverage their
ideological power to develop the two essential tools of political
centralization: taxation and the seasonal mobilization of labor.
The organization of sacred events also offered the
opportunity to translate ideological power into power over
limited sectors of the local economy: large-scale brewing, certain
types of fine pottery manufacture, and fine stone-working. The

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ABSTRACTS

elite probably began to experiment early with staple finance and


direct support of craft specialists in order to produce ritual
objects and commodities.
This ideological and political dominance evolved when
there is little evidence that the elite exercised substantial control
over the Hierakonpolis subsistence economy or over long-
distance trade. The material and human remains from Naqada
IC-IIAB lack the archaeological markers that Jonathan Haas
(1982: 92ff ) cited as evidence of social stratification and control
of subsistence. The elite and the rest of this well-provisioned
community appear to have enjoyed nourishing food; used
similar tools for food production, storage and preparation; wore
comparable fabrics; lived in wooden and reed dwellings without
major defenses; and had access to common weapons, apparently
used infrequently against each other. The elite did not
monopolize the craft items needed for daily living, largely
produced within households. Nor was long-distance trade of
luxury items a major source of economic power in
Hierakonpolis before the Naqada IIC period, although the elite
may well have used their ideological power to control the limited
trade in exotic/sacred animals and imported stone for ritual
objects.
By making sacred power the basis for political
centralization, these Predynastic Hierakonpolis rulers reduced
potential resistance to new authority, took contention for power
out of purely economic or martial realms, and created a
potentially stable political model for future Egyptian kingdoms.

Bibliography

HAAS, J., 1982. The Evolution of the Prehistoric State. New York.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

A contextual archaeology of early script and image


Kathryn E. PIQUETTE
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK

The largest corpus of the earliest scriptorial material from Egypt


comprises over 400 small, perforated labels dating from c.
3300/3100 to c. 2800 BC distributed among seven cemetery sites
in the Nile Valley. Label inscriptions are traditionally sourced in
selective ways for the insights they provide into wider (primarily
elite) cultural processes such as the development of Egyptian
rulership and the emergence of centralised administration.
Interpretation of the labels and their significance has centred
especially on their imagery in relation to the development of writing,
particularly individual and groups of images which can be related to
later evidence when linguistic function and iconographic meaning is
more explicit (e.g., Kahl 1994; 2001). A hindsighted approach is often
adopted since contemporary evidence is sparse relative to later
periods. However, extrapolation backwards, or forwards, collapses
the temporal dimension and leads to assumptions and generalisations
that may overlook meanings residing at the synchronic and
immediate level of the object.
Drawing on my recently submitted PhD thesis entitled
Writing, ‘Art’ and Society: A Contextual Archaeology of the Inscribed
Labels of Late Predynastic–Early Dynastic Egypt, I argue in this paper
that reconstructing script development and accessing related
social processes must also involve the contextual and grounded
study of the data upon which such abstracted levels of
interpretation are based.
The contextualising method I developed for my study of
the inscribed labels directed data collection, analysis and
interpretation to three main areas: archaeological context, the
material properties of the objects, and image composition. It
combined a methodological principle of synchronic focus as a
starting-point of analysis fused with a methodological principle
of context-sensitivity as delivered in archaeology, and adopted

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ABSTRACTS

the ATLAS.ti software for delivering the data on that fused


ground.
The theoretical philosophy that binds the research
together is the notion of script and image as both processes and
outcomes of material-based practice (see Dobres 2000; Wenger
2002) and the importance of understanding practice in the
context of social time-space (Giddens 1984). This paper,
therefore, constitutes a critique of the ontology of early
graphical culture in archaeology generally and early Egyptian
archaeology specifically.

Bibliography

DOBRES, M.-A., 2000. Technology and Social Agency: Outlining a


practice Framework for Archaeology. Oxford.
GIDDENS, A., 1984. The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory
of Structuration. Berkeley.
KAHL, J., 1994. Das System der ägyptischen Hieroglyphenschrift in der
0.-3. Dynastie. Göttinger Orientforschungen IV.29.
Wiesbaden.
KAHL, J., 2001. Hieroglyphic Writing during the Fourth
Millennium BC: An Analysis of Systems. Archéo-Nil 11:
101-134.
WENGER, E., 2002. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and
Identity. Cambridge.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Foreign enemies and warfare symbolism: ethnicity and


historicity in the period of Egyptian unification
Francesco RAFFAELE
IUO Napoli, Italy

Before the middle of the 4th millennium BC, the Predynastic


Naqada culture had already started to expand its influence along
the entire Egyptian Nile Valley. The process through which it
subsumed other local entities, such as the Buto-Maadi culture in
the Delta, is generally regarded as some kind of cultural
superimposition and is mostly thought to have occurred in a
smooth and peaceful way. During the last centuries of the 4th
millennium BC, a progressive centralization of power has been
archaeologically detected in a few regional polities. By then,
these leading centres in terms of cultural anthropology, were
probably complex chiefdoms that were moving towards
becoming proto-states.
The emergence of ruling elites must have generated
deeper social tensions and even some kind of interregional
attrition as competition emerged to control resources and
wealth, trade routes and territories or to gain sheer power. This
competition, both internally and on an inter-regional scale, must
have rapidly increased as the stakes grew and the territory of
each polity expanded towards its neighbour.
As the dominating proto-states expanded, many factors
played a role: availability of resources, cultivable land,
manpower, technologies, skilled decision making by the leaders,
prudent alliances, and military superiority.
In contrast to the effects of cultural diffusion, the history
of political vicissitudes is harder to trace. We can observe some
diagnostic signs of these effects by analyzing data provided by
archaeologists: the rise and decline of main centres and their
cemeteries; contents of tombs and shrine caches (symbols of
royalty); iconography; representations and inscriptions on

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ABSTRACTS

artefacts and monuments; graffiti; introduction of new ritual or


funerary practices; religious beliefs; and other customs.
Well before a single ruling line started to reign in a unified
Egypt, a series of power strategies were introduced by the elite
in order to establish, legitimize, and preserve their ‘right to
reign’.
The upper classes’ propaganda of superiority, aiming
either to intimidate the lower classes or to magically annihilate
potential external invaders, entailed making large investments in
building activities (monumental tombs, ceremonial events and
structures) and in a display of decorated ‘powerfacts’ that were
crafted in rare materials using an enormous expenditure of time,
resources, and even human lives (conspicuous consumption).
Therefore, the means adopted to maintain power were not only
based on the efficiency of actual coercive systems but also were
focussed on creating a complex ideological mechanism capable
of impressing potential competitors with the aid of the
supernatural, magic, and religion. This involved inventing and
presenting a series of myths, sponsoring the patronage of a
privileged relationship with divine ancestors (ultimately leading
to the idea of divine kingship), and performing rituals
(ceremonies) and symbolic (iconography) procedures that would
confer the power to mete out severe punishments to rebels and
rivals.
Yet the potential use of force and violence (either during
life, with pain and retaliation, or in the afterlife through divine
punishment) was an important prerogative in the strategy of
political leadership control. Archaeologists have recovered
interesting samples of the ideological patrimony of Late
Predynastic kingdoms crystallized in their ‘artistic’ expressions,
which include carved or painted representations on palettes,
ivories, weapons, amulets, sculptures, tombs and rock art.
The first interpretations of scenes portrayed on
predynastic objects were much influenced by the philological
bias of past scholars who wished to obtain as much historical
information as possible from sources of this remote illiterate

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

age. However, in the last decades, it has been recognized by


most Egyptologists that a large part of representative (artistic)
production was related to the symbolic sphere, thus answering
to fairly different needs than those of delivering a pure, objective
chronicle of real events.
It must be noted that, as has been observed for many
early states in the world, Dynasty 0 and the early First Dynasty
saw a noticeable increase in the actual use of several forms of
violence (military raids, rituals, and exemplary punishment of the
defeated). Intimidation often must have been used when
circumstances required it.
Among the features of the incipient state, there was also
increased stress on the concept of Egyptianity, the self-
identification as a distinct, superior and ordered (civil) ethnic
group against the barbaric foes (be they real enemies or agents of
the mythical forces of chaos). Several types of decorations on
various media are centred on the prime symbol of the state, i.e.,
the king, who is distinguished by specific royal attributes and
portrayed according to a precise set of artistic canons and laws
of decorum. It is more surprising that even the enemy is often
sharply rendered, with clear portrayals of the ethnic groups to
which they belong as expressed in their clothes, hairstyles, body
ornaments, decorations, and weapons. Sometimes a pictographic
or hieroglyphic label indicates the ethnonym or the enemy
chief’s name. Usual postures for rebels and enemies are:
kneeling with hands tied behind their backs; kneeling while
about to be killed by a blow from the king’s mace; tied in long
processions, probably before mass sacrifice; contorted under the
assault of the king who is represented as a bull, lion or an armed
royal name; dismembered by scavenging animals; already dead
or mutilated; or floating in water or nothingness.
As has been anticipated, with few exceptions (e.g., rock
inscriptions), most representations carved on palettes, other
ritual objects and weapons, as well as in the Painted Tomb at
Hierakonpolis and on First Dynasty labels and ivories, are no
longer interpreted as a possible source of historical data or a

154
ABSTRACTS

chronicle of a given event, but more as ritually-based, apotropaic


magic or a symbolic key to other concerns.
Is it possible to obtain relevant data for the political
history from the various indicators of warfare and the
punishment of enemies by interpreting the symbols on the
aforementioned materials? A corpus of not less than six palettes
or fragments thereof, a number of predynastic ivory fragments
from the Hierakonpolis Main Deposit, some small figurines
from similar caches, nine First Dynasty labels or decorated ivory
plaques from boxes, and additional carved objects and graffiti
are analyzed and compared.
The aim is to determine the degree of plausibility that the
figurative systems – despite their eminently symbolic purpose –
might reveal about the neighbouring cultures of the Egyptian
Nile Valley from the period of Naqada IIIA to the end of the
First Dynasty.
The iconographic material will be checked against data
from cemeteries (known non-Egyptian burial practices and
ornaments or other grave goods) and from artefacts of
neighbouring cultures, with particular consideration given to A-
Group painted vessels, incense burners, seal carvings, and rock
art as well as to Southern Levantine seal impressions (A.
Schulman’s sealings from ‘En Besor- and Near Eastern glyptic
art).
Comparisons will be drawn between the portraiture of
Egyptian foreign enemies as they appear on the so-called
‘monuments of Unification’ and the hostile groups which
probably represent Egyptian rebels, i.e., the problem of
Rekhy(w)t and north-western Delta dwellers. A grid with
facsimile drawings will illustrate the various characters and
possible identification of enemy origins.
Some conclusions will be attempted about the historical
value of Predynastic and Early Dynastic sources, although more
caution is needed in interpreting similar products of what is
definitively the oldest, though crude, witness to the ancient
Egyptians’ ‘philosophy’ of life and death.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Investigating an unknown necropolis from the Second


Dynasty at Saqqara-south
Ilona REGULSKI
Netherlands-Flemish Institute, Cairo, Egypt

Saqqara is perhaps best known because of its Step Pyramid, built


by King Djoser, first king of the Third Dynasty. However, the
foundation of Saqqara as a royal necropolis should be situated
about 200 years earlier, at the beginning of the Second Dynasty
(c. 2800–2686 BC). After having buried his predecessor in the
ancestral necropolis at Umm el-Qa‘ab/Abydos, king
Hetepsekhemwy, the first ruler of the Second Dynasty, relocated
the royal cemetery to Saqqara. The Second Dynasty royal tombs
are underground gallery tombs, located to the south of the Step
Pyramid. Two such tombs in this area can be attributed to the
first and third kings of the Second Dynasty: Hetepsekhemwy
and Ninetjer, respectively. In 2002, however, structures of a
similar gallery-tomb were found below the New Kingdom
necropolis to the south of the Unas causeway (Raven et al. 2003).
These structures were interpreted as the remains of another
royal tomb of the Second Dynasty, probably belonging to the
successor of king Ninetjer. A test season in February 2008,
organised by the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo, has
shown that the tomb instead dates to the end of the Second
Dynasty and does not belong to a king. This new information
changes considerably our knowledge of the location of the high
elite burial places at the end of the Second Dynasty. Who was
buried at Saqqara-south? The paper will present the results of
the first season and try to respond to this question.

156
ABSTRACTS

Bibliography

RAVENS, M.J., VAN WALSEM, R., ASTON, B.G., STOUHAL, E.,


2003. Preliminary report of the Leiden excavations at
Saqqara, season 2002: the tomb of Meryneith. JEOL 37:
92-109.

Subsistence, territory and contacts of the Sheikh Muftah


pastoral nomads during the 3rd millennium BC: a view
from the desert
Heiko RIEMER
University of Cologne, Germany

Archaeological evidence accumulated from more than 70 Sheikh


Muftah sites in Dakhla Oasis by the Dakhleh Oasis Project
(DOP) has uncovered a late prehistoric community of pastoral
nomads primarily restricted to the oasis area. It was suggested
that these inhabitants never attempted to go out into the desert
as a consequence of diminishing rainfall during the 4th and 3rd
millennia BC. Recently the excavation at El Kharafish, about
25km north of Dakhla, by the ACACIA project indicates that
additional hunting activities in the near desert surrounding the
oasis were accomplished during the spring season. However,
ACACIA surveys in the wider desert vicinity north and south of
Dakhla do not indicate any substantial activity far out in the
desert, although the survey data reveal some short-term ventures
to a distance of about 50km or more. Species identification of
animal dung illustrates that goats were kept in the desert regions.
Clayton ring depots found far away from the oases may point to
long-distance contacts through the deserts.

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Pre- and Early Historic settlement in the central Delta:


the potential for locating evidence through palaeo-
environmental reconstruction and surface/sub-surface
survey
Joanne ROWLAND
Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of
Oxford, UK

In 1927–1928, Hermann Junker and the team of the Austrian


West Delta Expedition surveyed the region west of the modern
Rosetta branch of the Nile in a bid to locate surface signs of
archaeological sites. The team were successful in identifying
early remains at sites, including Merimde Beni Salama and Abu
Ghalib, in addition to more northerly find-spots running to the
west of the river from El Chatatbe in the south to Kom Hamada
in the north. The central part of this zone falls within the
modern day province of Minufiyeh, and in spring 2007 the team
of the Minufiyeh Archaeological Survey paid a reconnaissance
visit to this region and into the adjoining desert. A dedicated
survey of this region will take place as part of the 2008 season,
combining surface survey with hand-augering, and the results of
this fieldwork will be presented together with anticipated
findings from the east of Minufiyeh province.
In addition, at the eastern boundary of the province, just
southeast of the Pleistocene sand gezira at Quesna, ceramic and
sedimentary analysis following drill coring in 2006 has allowed
for palaeo-environmental reconstruction of the region. The
resulting model interprets the position of ancient water channels
from the Pleistocene through the Holocene and observes the
changing shape of the Quesna gezira and the expected location
of pre- and early historic settlements in relation to the ancient
landscape.
The results of the analysis to date will be presented
together with the findings from the 2008 season in Minufiyeh.
In combination with the recent findings at Sais, the map of the

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ABSTRACTS

known early Egyptian presence in the central Delta is beginning


to take shape.

Beyond a boundary: the conception, meaning and


acquiescence of legitimate authority and three-dimensional
power from Badari to Naqada
Gavin SMITH
SACE, Liverpool University, UK

The emergence of a legitimate authority is fundamental to the


acquiescence of increasing social complexity. Authority and its
chief characteristics – power and legitimacy – are two of the
more tangible aspects of social transformation that we are able
to comprehend without major difficulty. Power, legitimacy and
authority all emerged in a strikingly original manner in early
Egypt by Naqada II, or c. 3500 BC at the earliest. Its distinctive
emblem – the serekh – is first evidenced in abstract form by
Naqada IIc at Abydos and definitively under Narmer as one of
the earliest and clearest examples of a power declaring its
authenticity over others. Therefore, the aim here is to place into
context this highly original concept and expression within the
increased social complexity of the cultural period between
Badari and Naqada.
Legitimate authority has a raison d’être, and its embodiment
in a symbolic form belies a deeper conception and meaning. It is
not that the serekh consists of a hawk surmounting an
architectural façade containing an individual’s title, but that it
exists at all. Moreover, the serekh represents not only the
legitimate authority in terms of the lineage that is recognised to
that level of power, but also is representative of the social
compliance to domination by those other than within their own
group or society. This is critical to understanding not only the
growth of a hierarchical society, but also how and why authority

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

is established, expressed and ultimately accepted as legitimate.


The ability to achieve ‘compliance to domination’ presupposes
an already established social order that will accept authority and
power – its overt expression – without question and without
fear. For this reason we need to further appreciate the social
structure and those transformations that took place to greatly
elaborate it in order to construct a more realistic picture of the
emergence of early Egypt that recognises the contribution of the
entire social spectrum rather than the narrow viewpoint of the
elite.
Therefore, the discussion throughout will focus on an
aspect of authority defined as three-dimensional power and will
suggest that it exists primarily because the social organisation of
groups and people require constant reconfiguration and cannot
exist without it even in sub-complex, segmented, kinship-
oriented societies. Power and authority, legitimate or otherwise,
utilised a series of mechanisms to express and implement itself
but in a way that subsumed any intrinsic illegitimacy and
extrinsic repression. In fact, it would be implemented with the
complete acquiescence of the audience. This is what Pierre
Bourdieu (1977, 1992, 1993) described as ‘symbolic violence’ or
more precisely, pedagogic action – the legitimising of an idea,
person or action that fundamentally misrepresents the true
meaning or intention of its aim.

Bibliography

BOURDIEU, P. & PASSERON, J.-C., 1977. Reproduction in


Education, Society and Culture. London.
BOURDIEU, P., 1992. Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge.
BOURDIEU, P., 1993. The Field of Cultural Reproduction.
Cambridge.
BUCK, P., 1950. The Coming of the Maori. Christchurch, NZ.
CLARK, G., 1994. Space, Time and Man. Cambridge.
CHANG, K.C. (ed.), 1968. Settlement Archaeology. Palo Alto.
COLLINS, R., 1986. Weberian sociological Theory. Cambridge.

160
ABSTRACTS

GLUCKMAN, M., 1967. Politics, Law and Ritual in Tribal Society.


Oxford.
LEVI-STRAUSS, C., 1963. Structural Anthropology. New York.
LUKES, S., 2005. Power. Basingstoke.
MCINTOSH, S.K., 1999. Beyond Chiefdoms. Cambridge.
O’NEIL, J. (ed.), 1973. Modes of Individualism and Collectivism.
London.
WILSON, G. & WILSON, M., 1945. The Analysis of Social Change.
Cambridge.

Understanding ritual activity in Gerzean cemeteries: global


trends and local narratives
Alice STEVENSON
Egypt Exploration Society, London, UK

There is a nascent consensus in Egyptology that regional


variations and identities were common phenomena throughout
the course of Egyptian history, and this has been particularly
noted for the Predynastic period (Baines 1996; Friedman 1994;
Wilkinson 1996). The challenge, therefore, is to formulate
models that can relate local practices to wider social trends and
vice versa. The final key results of a detailed re-examination of
one cemetery site, Gerzeh, may be summarily evaluated with
reference to the emergence of the State, but it also has its own
story entwined within this broader narrative. This paper will
discuss how regional mortuary traditions at this site and others
might be related to countrywide traditions and vice versa.
For example, early in the history of the excavation of
Upper Egyptian Predynastic cemeteries, Petrie noted that within
graves “…each object had its appointed position” and that there
were “fixed rituals for funeral observance” (Petrie 1939: 35).
These supposed rules have been reiterated ever since, without
critical evaluation, but contrary to Petrie’s assertion that the

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

layout of the grave was formulaic, it is clear that across all


cemeteries no two burials were identical. There are certainly
underlying trends in social practice that demonstrate continuity
with past practices, but regional, local and individualistic aspects
were worked into every representation of the deceased, and
‘micro-traditions’ (Chapman 2000a, 2000b) in the evolution of
cemeteries may be observed.
By examining not just the composition of a sample of
grave assemblages from Gerzean sites, but also how the material
components of those assemblages were used as part of ritual
activities at the grave side, it is possible to underscore the active
interplay between tradition and change as well as consider the
significance of similarities and differences between Naqadan and
Maadian burial practices. In so doing, we may better model
social developments throughout the Predynastic period.

Bibliography

BAINES, J., 1996. Contextualising Egyptian Representations of


Society and Ethnicity [in:] COOPER, J.S. & SCHWARTZ,
G.M. (eds.), The Study of the Ancient Near East in the 21st
Century. Indiana: 339-384.
CHAPMAN, J., 2000a. Tension and Subversion at Funerals [in:]
DOBRES, M. & ROBB, J. (eds.), Agency in Archaeology.
London: 169-195.
CHAPMAN, J., 2000b. Tension at Funerals. Micro-tradition Analysis in
later Hungarian Prehistory. Budapest.
FRIEDMAN, R.F., 1994. Predynastic Settlement Ceramics of Upper
Egypt: A Comparative Study of the Ceramics of Hemamieh,
Nagada and Hierakonpolis. U.M.I. / Berkeley.
PETRIE, W.M.F., 1939. The Making of Egypt. London.
WILKINSON, T.A.H., 1996. State Formation in Egypt. Chronology
and Society. BAR Int. Ser. 651. Oxford.

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ABSTRACTS

A comparative study of heating/firing installations at


Hierakonpolis
Izumi H. TAKAMIYA
Kinki University, Japan

In the desert settlement at Hierakonpolis, a number of ‘kiln


sites’ were identified during surface surveys in the 1970–80s,
some of which were subsequently excavated (e.g., HK29,
HK11C and HK24A) by M.A. Hoffman, F. Harlan and J.
Geller. These excavations revealed heating/firing installations
comprising circular features of c. 1m in diameter (with and
without indications of ceramic vats), each arranged and
supported in a variety of configurations. Whereas Hoffman and
Harlan suggested that the circular features at HK29 and HK11C
were used for firing pottery vessels, J. Geller later suggested that
similar features at HK24A were used for brewing beer.
Recent excavations at HK24B by J. Geller and R.
Friedman, at HK11C Squares B4-B5 by M. Baba and HK11C
Squares A6-A7 by the author have uncovered new
heating/firing installations, each with different characteristics.
The heating/firing installation excavated in HK11C
Squares A6-A7 is a large semi-subterranean, rectangular
structure (approximately 7 x 3.5m in dimension) surrounded on
all sides except the north by walls built with fragments of
ceramic plates, fragmentary fire-bars and pottery sherds
cemented with mud plaster. At least eight circular features were
arranged in two rows within the rectangular structure. Each
circular feature consisted of a number of fire-bars arranged in
multiple concentric circles, indicating a structure similar to the
kilns at Abydos excavated by E. Peet at the beginning of the
20th century. Although the upper level of the installation in
Squares A6-A7 had already been destroyed, a detailed
examination of construction materials recovered from the kiln
debris, especially the fragments of fire-bars and pottery sherds
covered with mud plaster, enabled us to formulate a general idea

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

of the composition of the circular kiln features that originally


included a large vat coated with mud and pottery sherds bound
with rope and supported at its circumference by a number of
fire-bars of different heights.
However, other firing installations at Hierakonpolis differ
in many respects from those found at HK11C Squares A6-A7.
Variation occurs in the construction of the circular features. At
HK24B pits or troughs were dug in the ground to support the
vats. At HK24A the vats were found set into a platform
(HK24A), while at HK11C Square B5, the vats are more or less
freestanding. Differences can also been seen in the number of
circular features, their arrangement, the shape and complexity of
the chamber in which they were placed and so on, all of which
may be related to the type of product, temporal date, scale of
production or some other factors. In addition, the location and
context of such installations throughout the site may also give a
clue to explain their function and morphological features.
Thus, this paper attempts a comparative study of circular
kiln features and heating/firing installations at Hierakonpolis in
order to shed light on their similarities and differences and to
contribute to a better understanding of their nature and
significance.

Variations in lithic production at Hierakonpolis:


a preliminary report on the excavation of HK11C
Squares A6-A7
Izumi H. TAKAMIYA
Kinki University, Japan
Hitoshi ENDO
Tokai University, Japan

Hierakonpolis was one of the largest settlements of the


Predynastic period at a time when a complex society,

164
ABSTRACTS

accompanied by social stratification and specialization in


production, was developing in the Nile Valley and culminated in
the establishment of a united Egyptian nation. It is well known
that specialization developed in various production activities,
such as pottery and lithics, as well as among services. In this
paper, the lithic assemblages excavated from HK11C Squares
A6-A7 at Hierakonpolis are analyzed and discussed in order to
examine their function at the site and to shed light on
production systems and the specialization processes of that age.
We initiated the excavation of HK11C Squares A6 and
A7, located on the south bank of the Wadi el-Suffian, in
December 2003 and continued annually until March 2008. The
excavations revealed a rectangular kiln complex (about 3.5m x
7m and roughly dated to mid-Naqada II) and, to the east of the
kiln complex, successive occupation layers, some of which were
formed by activities related to sheep herding. Although
excavated artifacts were dominated by pottery sherds, many
lithics were also recovered, providing the material for this paper.
Systematic studies on lithics from settlement sites at
Hierakonpolis have been attempted by D. Holmes and several
other scholars from the 1980s onwards. Like the assemblages
analyzed by those scholars, those from Squares A6 and A7 are
basically of flake-blade industries, dominated by the former.
However, it seems probable that several different traditions or
workshops may be identified in the assemblages for items such
as bifaces, bladelets, large regular blades, and irregular blades.
As the first step in identifying such traditions or workshops,
lithics – not only tools but also debitage – were analyzed in
detail.
Although the study is still at a preliminary stage, the
existence of cores for flakes and irregular blades and many small
biface thinning flakes suggest that some flakes, irregular blades
and bifaces were manufactured near the site.

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What your hair says about you: changes in hairstyles as an


index of state formation processes
Geoffrey J. TASSIE
School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, UK

The stages of social development during the Predynastic period


through the Early Dynastic period and into the Old Kingdom
are marked by a sharp increase in social differentiation, which
necessitated an increased need for visual bodily displays of
status. Hair, the most malleable part of the human body, lends
itself to the most varied forms of impermanent modifications.
The resulting hairstyles convey social practices and norms and
may be regarded as a ‘representation of self’. As such, they may
be considered as an integral element in the maintenance and
structuring of society. This paper explores the structural
relationships between variations in hairstyles and the principal
changes in social organisation in ancient Egypt from the
Protodynastic period to the beginning of the Old Kingdom (c.
3350–2494 BC), an interval that witnessed the rise and
consolidation of centralised authority.
The results reveal that hairstyles were linked to the
identity of individuals and social groups, such as men, women,
children and the elderly. Within the social hierarchy, hairstyles
were used as a means of displaying status. After experimentation
with a broad spectrum of hairstyles during the Protodynastic and
early First Dynasty, an institutionalised canon for hairstyles was
established, coinciding with the creation of administrative
institutions. Once the canon was established, standard hairstyles
continued to serve as the norms for identifying members of the
administration or as signs of authority.
Although initially the majority of the men had their hair
cut short, modifications of short hair and the adoption of mid-
length hair became progressively more common. The use of
certain hairstyles was restricted to the higher social offices, with
longer hair being indicative of power and divinity. Women, by

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ABSTRACTS

contrast, initially had long hair with greater variety occurring by


the First Dynasty and a more restricted array from the Second
Dynasty onwards. However, long hair was always predominant
among women of all social statuses at all times. Thus, long hair
may have been related to the perception of women as mothers
responsible for childbirth and nursing; hence, their perceived
role as directly linked with procreation and fecundity. The only
occurrences of men wearing the tripartite style are on ritual
occasions, i.e., on the mummified form of King Den and the
statues of King Netjerikhet in his serdab and Heb-sed court. The
adoption of long hair by men may have thus been related to this
‘’generative’’ aspect of feminine hairstyles.

More potmarks from the Protodynastic–Early Dynastic site


of Kafr Hassan Dawood, Wadi Tumilat, East Delta, Egypt
Geoffrey J. TASSIE
School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK
Fekri A. HASSAN
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK
Bram CALCOEN
Antwerp, Belgium
Joris VAN WETERING
The Netherlands

Excavations at the site of Kafr Hassan Dawood (KHD) were


first undertaken in 1989, following local land reclamation
planning. Excavation of the site was carried out under the
directorship of Mohammed Salem el-Hangouri, former Director
of the Suez Canal Zone (Bakr et al. 1996; El-Hangary 1992). A
total of 920 graves were excavated before the project was halted
in May 1995 for re-evaluation by Prof. Fekri A. Hassan (UCL)
following a visit to the site at the request of Prof. Abdel-Helim
El-Nour El-Din, then Secretary General of the Supreme Council

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

of Antiquities. The majority of the site archive is now held by


Prof. Fekri A. Hassan and is presently being analysed by the
joint UCL/SCA mission (Hassan et al. 2003). At Origines 2 the
potmarks from the 1995-1999 seasons were presented (Tassie et
al. in press); we are now in the position to present the potmarks
from the 1989-1995 SCA seasons. The total corpus of potmarks
from KHD now approaches 200 and includes three serekhs.
The analysis of the 1989–1995 KHD potmarks will be
combined with the previous analysis to examine the internal
distribution of the potmarks in relation to the distribution of
wealth/status within the cemetery, as well as their relation to
other potmarks from cemeteries both within a regional Lower
Egyptian and a national Egyptian perspective (see van den Brink
1992; Helck 1990). In this work the potmarks are initially
presented as scaled drawings before being located in a lexicon of
the various categories of potmarks found at KHD.
It is essential that the differences between the various
types of potmarks are explored, such as those made prior to
firing versus those made after firing, signs that are incised and
those applied with ink, and signs that may be regarded as
writing, whereas some appear to be accounting marks and others
just symbols. This corpus of potmarks from KHD represents a
valuable addition to the growing number of early signs with
which to illuminate the meanings of the various categories of
potmarks.

Bibliography

BAKR, M.I.; ABD EL-M ONEIM, M.A.M. & S ELIM, M.O.M., 1996.
Protodynastic excavations at Tell Hassan Dawud (Eastern
Delta) [in:] KRZYŻANIAK, L.; KROEPER, K. &
KOBUSIEWICZ, M. (eds.), Interregional Contacts in the Later
Prehistory of Northeastern Africa. Poznan: 277-278.
EL-HANGARY, S.M., 1992. The excavations of the Egyptian
Antiquities Organization at Ezbet Hassan Dawud (Wadi
Tumilat), season 1990 [in:] VAN DEN BRINK, E.C.M.

168
ABSTRACTS

(ed.), The Nile Delta in Transition: 4th.-3rd. Millennium B.C.


Tel Aviv: 215-216.
HASSAN, F.A.; TASSIE, G.J.; T UCKER, T.L.; ROWLAND, J.M. &
VAN WETERING, J.F.L., 2003. Social Dynamics at the
Late Predynastic to Early Dynastic Site of Kafr Hassan
Dawood, East Delta, Egypt. Archéo-Nil 13: 37-46.
HELCK, W., 1990. Thinitische Topfmarken. Ägyptologische
Abhandlungen 50. Wiesbaden.
TASSIE, G.J.; HASSAN, F.A.; VAN WETERING, J. & C ALCOEN,
B., 2008. Potmarks from the Protodynastic to Early
Dynastic Cemetery at Kafr Hassan Dawood, Wadi
Tumilat, East Delta, Egypt [in:] MIDANT-REYNES, B.;
TRISTANT, Y. (eds.); ROWLAND, J. & HENDRICKX, S.
(coll.), Egypt at its Origins 2. Proceedings of the International
Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic
Egypt”, Toulouse (France), 5th-8th September 2005. OLA.
Leuven / Paris / Dudley (forthcoming).
VAN DEN B RINK, E.C.M., 1992. Corpus and Numerical
Evaluation of the “Thinite” Potmarks [in:] FRIEDMAN, R.
& ADAMS, B. (eds.), The Followers of Horus. Studies Dedicated
to Michael Allen Hoffman. Oxbow Monograph 20. Oxford:
265-296.

Clay sealings from Giza: the group with the figurative seal
impressions
Maira TORCIA
Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale Giuseppe Tucci/The Consiglio
Nazionale delle Ricerche, Roma, Italy

The author has examined a group of 239 clay sealings from the
Giza pyramids area. This area, near the Mycerinus pyramid, was
excavated by the Austrian Archaeological Mission directed by
Prof. K. Kromer in the 1970s. The site was found completely

169
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

dismantled so that no stratigraphy remained, but the materials


recovered from the excavations testify to the occupation of the
site from the end of the Naqada period to the reign of
Chephren. Amongst these materials were 239 clay sealings.
Work on these sealings has been divided into two parts: the first
concerns those 135 sealings bearing seal impressions of the
pharaohs Cheops and Chephren as well as those bearing official
titles of that period. These have been published together with
the sealings showing incised signs on the external surface,
perhaps related to a private or ‘lower’ levels of administration.
(Torcia 2003, 2007).
Here I present my study on the remaining 104 clay
sealings, which show impressions of cylinder seals with
figurative imagery, i.e., patterns with animalistic and vegetal
elements, and above all, rows of birds and caprids, and lizards.
There are no inscriptions apart from some isolated hieroglyphs.
On the back they bear the impressions of the usual sealed
objects: containers (such as vessels and sacks), knobs of doors,
wooden boxes and a few pieces of papyrus.
The sealings do not from a homogeneous group in terms
of style or subject matter; they belong to diverse periods. Some
of them may be assigned to the end of the Naqada period owing
to affinities with archaic seals known from elsewhere. These
sealings may be viewed as further witness to the administrative
use of the seal – including the control of storage, distribution
and trade of the goods – in the Early Dynastic period, a very
important moment in the development of the Egyptian state.

Bibliography

TORCIA, M.R., 2003. Giza: Cretule dall’area delle piramidi. Roma.


TORCIA, M.R., 2007. Clay sealings from the Gira Pyramid area
[in:] GOYON, J.-C.& CARDIN, C. (eds.), Actes du IXe
Congrès International des Egyptologues, Grenoble, 6-12 Septembre
2004. OLA 150. Leuven / Paris / Dudley: 1817-1826.

170
ABSTRACTS

Cultural and natural environment in the eastern Nile Delta:


a geo-archaeological project at Tell el-Iswid (Nile Delta)
Yann TRISTANT
Institut français d’archéologie orientale, Cairo, Egypt
Morgan DE DAPPER
Department of Geography, Research Unit ‘Physical Geography
Geomorphology & Geo-archaeology of Mediterranean and Tropical Areas’,
Ghent University, Belgium
Sandra AUSSEL
UMR ArThéHIS 5594, Université de Dijon, France
Béatrix MIDANT-REYNES
CNRS, UMR 5608, CRPPM, Toulouse, France

In an environment such as the Nile Delta, the evolution of the


river branches is one of the main keys for understanding the
history of human settlements. For some time there have been
attempts to cross-tabulate geological and geomorphological
results with the archaeological data on both local and general
territorial scales. The present geo-archaeological research
focuses on palaeo-environmental reconstructions linking the
dynamics of the river to human society since prehistory.
Previous excavations at the archaeological site of Tell el-
Iswid (eastern Nile Delta) uncovered a buried sandy formation
belonging to the Middle Pleistocene period, which was
associated with Predynastic and Early Dynastic layers (van den
Brink et al. 1989). During 2006 a new archaeological project
commenced under the auspices of the Institut français d’archéologie
orientale. An initial geo-morphological survey brought to light the
presence of a very large feature, larger than the one already
studied in Kôm el-Khilgan (Midant-Reynes et al. 2004; Tristant et
al. 2007, 2008). The current project aims to reconstruct the
palaeo-geography of this locality during the Predynastic and
Early Dynastic periods. To achieve this objective, an integrated
study of all physical environments in association with traces of
the human occupation must be undertaken. The present day

171
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

environment of Tell el-Iswid will be taken into consideration as


will its immediate surroundings.
The methodology employed will include a preliminary
geo-morphological mapping of the area, the collection and
analysis of all sub-surface data available and the recognition and
interpretation of all of the available archaeological markers. The
morphological features associated with changes in the Nile
River’s course and the construction of its alluvial plain appear to
be dominant features, testifying to the long-term evolution of
this fluvial landscape. Their study will help us to understand the
region’s prominent environmental features that are culturally
relevant to settlement formation and evolution.
This paper will present preliminary results from the
ongoing archaeological investigation in the Tell el-Iswid area.
The research plan combines interdisciplinary and international
efforts linking experts in the earth sciences and archaeological
disciplines in order to assess the geo-morphological and
geological aspects of human occupation in the Nile Delta. This
new geo-archaeological project will help us to understand
patterns of evolution in the eastern Nile Delta during the
Holocene period and at the same time, emphasize the direct
relationships that existed between fluvial environments and
human occupation during the Predynastic and Early Dynastic
periods.

Bibliography

MIDANT-REYNES, B.; BRIOIS, F.; BUCHEZ, N.; DE DAPPER,


M.; DUCHESNE, S.; FABRY, B.; HOCHSTRASSER-PETIT,
C.; STANIASZEK, L. & TRISTANT, Y., 2004. Kom el-
Khilgan. A new site of the Predynastic period in Lower
Egypt. The 2002 campaign [in:] HENDRICKX, S.;
FRIEDMAN, R.F.; CIAŁOWICZ, K.M. & CHŁODNICKI, M.
(eds.), Egypt at its Origins. Studies in Memory of Barbara
Adams. Proceedings of the International Conference “Origin of the
State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt”, Kraków, 28th

172
ABSTRACTS

August-1st September 2002. OLA 138. Leuven / Paris /


Dudley: 465-486.
TRISTANT, Y.; DE DAPPER, M. & M IDANT-REYNES, B., 2007.
Recherches géo-archéologiques sur le site pré- et
protodynastique de Kôm el-Khilgan (delta du Nil).
Résultats préliminaires des campagnes de prospection
2002-2004 [in:] GOYON, J.-C.& C ARDIN, C. (eds.)., Actes
du IXe Congrès International des Egyptologues, Grenoble, 6-12
Septembre 2004. OLA 150. Leuven / Paris / Dudley: 1841-
1850.
TRISTANT, Y., DE DAPPER, M. & M IDANT-REYNES, B., 2008.
Human Occupation of the Nile Delta during Pre- and
Early Dynastic Times. A View from Kom el-Khilgan [in:]
MIDANT-REYNES, B.; T RISTANT, Y. (eds.); ROWLAND, J.
& HENDRICKX, S. (coll.), Egypt at its Origins 2. Proceedings of
the International Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and
Early Dynastic Egypt”, Toulouse (France), 5th-8th September
2005. OLA. Leuven / Paris / Dudley (forthcoming).
VAN DEN BRINK, E.C.M., 1989. A Transitional Late
Predynastic–Early Dynastic Settlement Site in the
northeastern Nile Delta, Egypt. MDAIK 45: 55-108.

New excavation of an old cemetery: preliminary results of


the Abu Rawash Project
Yann TRISTANT
Institut français d’archéologie orientale, Cairo, Egypt
Jane SMYTHE
Australian Centre for Egyptology, Macquarie University, Sydney,
Australia

Situated on the west bank of the Nile, 8km north-east of Giza is


the site of Abu Rawash. It is on this rocky outcrop of the desert
at the edge of the cultivation that the Fourth Dynasty King

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EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Djedefre built his pyramid. This region is also known as the


northernmost extent of the Memphite necropolis where its
earliest occupation is represented by the Naqada III period.
From 1913 to 1914 a French mission under the directorship of
Pierre Montet excavated a series of elite mastaba tombs that he
dated to the Naqada IIIC2 period. The ‘M’ Cemetery is situated
upon a prominent plateau, 1.5km north-east of Djedefre’s
monument, and featured a group of mastaba tombs with mud
brick superstructures endowed with niche façades (Montet 1938,
1946). The graves yielded abundant quantities of pottery, stone
vessels and small objects in ivory and copper, today kept in
different museums throughout France and Egypt.
The discovery of the ‘M’ Cemetery was an important
event in the history of Early Dynastic research. Montet’s work
predates Emery’s at North Saqqara by a quarter century and was,
for its time, the first example in Lower Egypt of elite tombs that
could be in any way compared with those found in Abydos.
From 1957 to 1959 work in the area was resumed by Adolf
Klasens who made further discoveries dating to the First and
Second Dynasties at the edge of the cultivation just below the
‘M’ Cemetery plateau (Klasens 1957-1961).
Despite these two archaeological projects, the Early
Dynastic period at Abu Rawash is still widely unrecognised. Full
documentation of the work remains unpublished and the few
articles dedicated to these excavations can only be described as
preliminary. As a result, Abu Rawash today is insufficiently
studied to the point of being ignored within publications and
effectively all but forgotten. This situation is quite extraordinary
considering its archaeological potential. This Early Dynastic elite
cemetery and its neighbouring necropoleis constitute a
significant bench mark in the emerging pharaonic state.
This paper reports on the new excavation conducted
under the auspices of the Institut français d’archéologie orientale. In
2007 the decision was made to begin work at the ‘M’ Cemetery
with the intention of re-excavating the previously excavated
tombs as well as to study the unpublished artefacts dispersed in

174
ABSTRACTS

several museums (Tristant & Smythe 2007; Tristant in press, in


preparation). A re-investigation of the material will provide
important primary evidence for the development of funerary
architecture. Comparison of the Abu Rawash material to data
provided by other modern excavations within the Memphite
region and the Nile Delta should shed new light on the cultural
dynamics of the Early Dynastic communities as well as the elites
during the emergence of royal power in Egypt.

Bibliography

KLASENS, A., 1957. The Excavations of the Leiden Museum of


Antiquities at Abu-Roash. Report of the First Season:
1957. Part I. OMRO 38: 58-68.
KLASENS, A., 1958a. The Excavations of the Leiden Museum of
Antiquities at Abu-Roash: Report of the First Season
1957. Part II. OMRO 39: 20-31.
KLASENS, A., 1958b. The Excavations of the Leiden Museum of
Antiquities at Abu-Roash: Report of the Second Season
1958. Part I. OMRO 39: 32-55.
KLASENS, A., 1959. The Excavations of the Leiden Museum of
Antiquities at Abu-Roash: Report of the Second Season
1958. Part II. Cemetery 400. OMRO 40: 41-61.
KLASENS, A., 1960. The Excavations of the Leiden Museum of
Antiquities at Abu-Roash: Report of the Third Season
1959. Part I. OMRO 41: 69-94.
KLASENS, A., 1961. The Excavations of the Leiden Museum of
Antiquities at Abu-Roach: Report of the Third Season
1959. Part II. Cemetery M. OMRO 42: 108-128.
MONTET, P., 1938. Tombeaux de la Ire et de la IVe dynasties à
Abou-Roach. Kêmi 7: 11-69.
MONTET, P., 1946. Tombeaux de la Ire et de la IVe dynasties à
Abou-Roach, deuxième partie: inventaire des objets. Kêmi
8: 157-227.
TRISTANT, Y., in press. Deux grands tombeaux du cimetière M
d’Abou Rawach (1re dynastie). Archéo-Nil 18.

175
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

TRISTANT, Y., in prep. Les tombes des premières dynasties à


Abou Rawach. BIFAO 108.
TRISTANT, Y. & SMYTHE, J., 2007. Abou Rawach. Le cimetière M.
recherches sur la Ire dynastie dans la région memphite. Rapport
préliminaire de la campagne 2007. Le Caire. Unpublished MS.

Potmarks of Early Dynastic Buto and Old Kingdom Giza:


their occurrence and economic significance
Anna WODZINSKA
Warsaw University, Poland

The main focus of this paper is the potmark corpus retrieved


from the ceramic material of the Old Kingdom settlement
studied by the Giza Plateau Mapping Project (GPMP). The
GPMP site yielded approximately 450 potmarks.
The majority of potmarks were placed on the walls of
jars, especially large jars made of marl clay. Bread moulds were
the next most frequent type to bear potmarks, the marks usually
being executed before firing. In the bowl class, potmarks were
most frequently found on white carinated bowls.
Conical bread moulds and flat bread trays appear to bear
the most characteristic marks. Most frequently, these take the
form of a simple finger-impressed mark (dot, two dashes, arch
and dash, dot and dash), executed most often before firing.
Some painted signs occur on white carinated bowls.
Painted signs are very rare and their patterns are very difficult to
categorize. However, some can be recognized as parallel lines,
crosses and the hieroglyphic mr sign, and mirror the marks also
found incised on the walls of white carinated bowls.
It seems that the mass production of bread moulds and
white carinated bowls from the GPMP site resulted from special
needs. These vessels appeared in great number in the galleries
that probably housed the workforce employed in the building

176
ABSTRACTS

activities on the Giza plateau. The marks on these vessels may


perhaps indicate the exact destination of the vessels or bread, be
it a locality or a certain group of people.
The occurrence of the potmarks from Giza is compared
with the marks known from Early Dynastic/early Old Kingdom
Buto. It is interesting to see which pots bear potmarks. Can we
say that the vessels were marked to reflect similar activities
taking place at those two different locations? The function of
the marks may vary according to site or perhaps also in relation
to the time of their fabrication.

Cranial variability and population diversity at


Hierakonpolis
Sonia R. Z AKRZEWSKI
Dept. of Archaeology, University of Southampton, UK
Joseph F. POWELL
Dept. of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, USA

A series of 45 human crania from Hierakonpolis are curated as


part of the Duckworth Collection of the Department of
Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge. The original
source of these crania has long been unclear. As a result of the
2003 excavation in the HK43 cemetery at Hierakonpolis
(Dougherty 2003), some of these crania can now be identified as
those taken from this cemetery during the excavation by Green
in 1899, while others may derive from the famous Painted
Tomb cemetery located farther to the east (Quibell and Green
1902; Adams 1974). This paper compares the previously
collected crania with those excavated at HK43 in 1996-2003
(Friedman et al. 2002) and presents the results in terms of the
diversity and variable cranial affinities of the predynastic
Hierakonpolis population.

177
EGYPT AT ITS ORIGINS

Bibliography

ADAMS, B., 1974. Ancient Hierakonpolis Supplement. Aris and


Phillips. Warminster.
DOUGHERTY S.P, 2003. The Lost Tombs of F.W.Green. Nekhen
News 15: 24-25.
FRIEDMAN, R.F.; WATRALL, E.; JONES, J.; FAHMY, A.G.; VAN
NEER, W. & LINSEELE, V., 2002. Excavations at
Hierakonpolis. Archéo-Nil 12: 55-68.
QUIBELL, J.E. & GREEN, F.W., 1902. Hierakonpolis II. ERA 5,
London.

178

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