The Badarian culture provides the earliest direct evidence of
agriculture in Upper
Egypt during the Predynastic Era. It flourished
between 4400 and 4000 BCE, and might have already emerged by
5000 BCE. It was first identified in El-Badari, Asyut
About forty settlements and six hundred graves have been located.
Social stratification has been inferred from the burying of more
prosperous members of the community in a different part of the
cemetery. The Badarian economy was based mostly on agriculture,
fishing and animal husbandry. Tools included end-scrapers,
perforators, axes, bifacial sickles and concave-base arrowheads.
Remains of cattle, dogs and sheep were found in the cemeteries. Wheat,
barley, lentils and tubers were consumed.
Badari culture is primarily known from cemeteries in the low
desert. The deceased were placed on mats and buried in pits with their
heads usually laid to the south, looking west. This seems contiguous
with the later dynastic traditions regarding the west as the land of
the dead. The pottery that was buried with them is the most
characteristic element of the Badarian culture. It had been given a
distinctive, decorative rippled surface.
1 Location and discovery
2 Cultural features
4 Ancestral origins
5 See also
8 External links
Location and discovery
Ancient Badarian mortuary figurine of a woman, held at the Louvre.
Ancient Badarian mortuary figurine of a woman, held at the British
Badari culture is so named because of its discovery at El-Badari
(Arabic: البداري), an area in the
Asyut Governorate in Upper
Egypt. It is located between Matmar and Qau, approximately 200 km
northwest of present-day
Luxor (ancient Thebes).
numerous Predynastic cemeteries (notably Mostagedda, Deir Tasa and the
cemetery of el-Badari itself), as well as at least one early
Predynastic settlement at Hammamia. The area stretches for 30 km
along the east bank of the Nile. It was first excavated by Guy Brunton
Gertrude Caton-Thompson between 1922 and 1931. Most of the local
cemeteries have yielded distinctive pottery vessels (particularly
red-polished ware with blackened tops), as well as terracotta and
ivory anthropomorphic figures, slate palettes, stone vases and flint
tools. The contents of Predynastic cemeteries at el-Badari have been
subjected to a number of analyses attempting to clarify the chronology
and social history of the Badarian period.
Populations in the
Badari culture planted wheat and barley, and kept
cattle, sheep, and goats. They fished from the
Nile and hunted
gazelle. Little is known of their buildings, although remains of
wooden stumps have been found at one site and may have been associated
with a hut or shelter of unknown construction. Pits that have been
found may have served as granaries. Some Badarian sites also show
evidence of later predynastic use.
Badarian grave goods were relatively simple and the deceased wrapped
in reed matting or animal skins and placed with personal items such as
shell or stone beads. Green malachite ore, perhaps for personal
decoration, has also been detected on stone palettes.
Basalt vases found at Badari sites were most likely traded up the
river from the Delta region or from the northwest. Shells came in
quantities from the Red Sea. Turquoise possibly came from Sinai;
copper from the North. A Syrian connection is suggested for a
four-handled pot of hard pink ware. The black pottery, with white
incised designs, may have come directly from the West, or from the
South. The porphyry slabs are like the later ones in Nubia, but the
material could have come from the Red Sea mountains. The glazed
steatite beads were not made locally. These all suggest the Badarians
were not an isolated tribe, but were in contact with the cultures on
all sides of them. Nor were they nomadic, having pots of such size and
fragility that would have been unsuitable for use by wanderers.
The Badarian culture seems to have had multiple sources, of which the
Western Desert was probably the most influential.
Badari culture was
likely not to have been solely restricted to the Badari region since
related finds have been made farther to the south at Mahgar Dendera,
Hierakonpolis by the Greeks), as well
as to the east in the Wadi Hammamat.
Dental trait analysis of Badarian fossils found that they were closely
related to other Afroasiatic-speaking populations inhabiting Northeast
Africa and the Maghreb. Among the ancient populations, the Badarians
were nearest to other ancient Egyptians (Naqada, Hierakonpolis, Abydos
and Kharga in Upper Egypt;
Hawara in Lower Egypt), and C-Group and
Pharaonic era skeletons excavated in Lower Nubia, followed by the
A-Group culture bearers of Lower Nubia, the Kerma and Kush populations
in Upper Nubia, the Meroitic,
Christian period inhabitants
of Lower Nubia, and the
Kellis population in the Dakhla Oasis. Among
the recent groups, the Badari makers were morphologically closest to
the Shawia and Kabyle Berber populations of Algeria as well as Bedouin
groups in Morocco, Libya and Tunisia, followed by other
Afroasiatic-speaking populations in the Horn of Africa. The Badarian
skeletons and these ancient and recent fossils were also
phenotypically distinct from those belonging to recent Negroid
populations in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Guy Brunton and Gertrude Caton-Thompson: The Badarian Civilisation and
Predynastic Remains near Badari, London: British School of Archaeology
in Egypt, 1928.
^ a b Watterson, Barbara (1998). The Egyptians. Wiley-Blackwell.
p. 31. ISBN 0-631-21195-0.
^ Shaw, Ian, ed. (2000). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford
University Press. p. 479. ISBN 0-19-815034-2.
^ Bard, Kathryn, ed. (2005). Encyclopaedia of the Archaeology of
Ancient Egypt. Routledge. ISBN 0415185890.
^ Brunton, Guy; Caton-Thompson, Gertrude (1928). The Badarian
Civilisation and Predynastic Remains near Badari. British School of
Archaeology in Egypt. ISBN 9780404166250.
^ Haddow, Scott Donald. "Dental Morphological Analysis of Roman Era
Burials from the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt". Institute of Archaeology,
University College London. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Badari culture.
Badarian Government and Religious Evolution
The Journal of African History
Coordinates: 27°00′N 31°25′E / 27.000°N 31.417°E /
Glossary of artifacts
Architecture (Egyptian Revival architecture)
Great Royal Wives