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
Asyut Governorate .
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
* 3 Trade
* 4 Ancestral origins
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 Notes
* 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
British Museum .
Badari culture is so named because of its discovery at El-Badari
(Arabic : البداري), an area in the
Asyut Governorate in
Egypt . It is located between Matmar and Qau, approximately 200
km northwest of present-day
Luxor (ancient Thebes ). El-Badari
includes 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
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
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
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