Links


The following links lead to some of the few online resources that offer information about the Prehistoric and Predynastic periods in the Faiyum and Egypt.

 

Faiyum

Artefact Variability in the Epipalaeolithic/Neolithic Transition
http://www.acagle.net/fayum94/narce.html
Anthony Cagle has published his work on the lithic debitage found at FS1 and FS2 (south-west Faiyum) in this online paper, which is massively informative not only about the lithic tools but also about the origins of the raw materials.  This is a very good resource.

 

General

Etana Books
http://www.cwru.edu/UL/preserve/Etana/Etana.html
Etana publish early reports online in PDF format including a large number of reports on prehistoric and predynastic subjects by authors like Petrie and Quibell.  This is a massively useful resource - although some of these publications are available in libraries they are all out of publication and are not otherwise available.  Additionally, not all titles are in English, which means that it is possible for students to access early foreign-language reports.

The American Contribution to the Understanding of Prehistoric Egypt
http://goa.cet.middlebury.edu/vila/k12/gorham.html
By renowned archaeologist Kent Weeks, this site is an educational tool with many interesting aspects.  The core of the site is an analysis of the American contribution to work in prehistoric Egypt, which in itself is a very good read and provides some fascinating insights and good information.  It provides students with light-hearted ways to reinforce and test knowledge, and is a lot of fun (aswell as being very informative).

Short Bibliography of Prehistoric and Predynastic Egypt
http://www.ancient-egypt.org/bib/hist_edp.html
A very short listing of books about prehistoric and predynastic Egypt. 

Touregypt Prehistoric and Predynastic - Short Overviews
http://www.touregypt.net/ehistory.htm
The Touregypt website is a vast resource of information about anything and everything concerning Egypt and is directed at tourists, but tourists with braincells.  As well as all the tourist stuff about visas, hotels and rental cars, there is extensive and very good information about Ancient Egypt.  The above link goes to a page where the prehistoric and predynsatic of Egypt is divided into individual pages for each period - and is a very useful brief overview of the information.
 

Prehistoric

Abydos
http://www.oldstoneage.com/abydos/
The OldStoneAge site states its purpose as “sharing the results of Palaeolithic research”. It is built by two extensively published U.S. academic and field researchers, Shannon McPherron and Harold Dibble.  Whilst most of its focus is on European sites, it has a section dedicated to Abydos.  The project is called the Abydos Survey for Palaeolithic Sites (ASPS).  The website includes details of the objectives of the survey project, plus an extensive “Site Catalogue” which gives details of specific findings, with photographs in each case, listed both by catalogue number and by period (Lower, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic and Historic Abydos).  There are excellent maps, a photographic record sorted by People, Places and Artefacts, and full contact details.  There is a also a PDF summary of their activities.

The Antiquity of Man
http://www.antiquityofman.com/
Set up to explore “human evolution and the dawn of civilization” there are some fascinating articles on this site by both well-known academic professionals and informed amateurs.  Many of them have been published in academic journals and appear on this site with the permission of those journals.  Relevant titles include:

  • Are the Early Holocene Cattle in the Eastern Sahara Domestic or Wild? (by Professor Fred Wendorf and Associate-Professor Romuald Schild)
  • New Radiocarbon datas and Late Palaeolithic diet at Wadi Kubbaniya, egypt (by Professor Fred Wendorf et al)
  • Badarian government and religious evolution

Dating Egypt’s Oldest ‘Art’:  AMS 14C age determinations of rock varnishes covering petroglyphs at El-Hosh (Upper Egypt)
http://intarch.ac.uk/antiquity/huyge.html
From the journal Antiquity (75, 68-72), this article by D. Huyge, A. Watchman, M. De Dapper & E. Marchi was originally published in 2001.  The article discusses the age of petroglyphs found at El-Hosh and the methods used to obtain dates for them.  It is a fascinating article which provides an accessible description of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry dating.

Petrie Museum Bibliography of Prehistoric Egypt
http://www.petrie.ucl.ac.uk/digital_egypt/biblioearly.html
The Petrie Museum have listed a bibliography of sources for Prehistoric Egypt on their website.  This is an excellent starting point for anyone with access to a good academic library.

The Prehistory of Egypt
http://www.predynastic.com
A work-in-progress synthesis of Egyptian prehistoric and predynastic information. Th site aims to provide an online comprehensive introduction to all periods from the Lower Palaeolithic to the Third Dynasty.  The author does not attempt to impose any of her own interpretations of the material and confines herself to summarising the work of well known authorities in the field. The site includes glossaries and chronologies, and the text is fully referenced to a complete bibliography.  The site is by no means complete, but it is regularly updated and a “last updated” box sits on the home page to let visitors know what has been updated and when.

The Interaction between Man and the Environment in Predynastic Egypt with regard to Subsistence Activities
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Troy/7365/academic_discussion/history/brass1.html
Discussion about the impact of environmental and ecological issues on the development of society and the economy in prehistoric and predynastic Egypt. The article is not long but it provides a useful overview of the topic and has some interesting comments to contribute. The site has a useful bibliography on the subject, as well.

Malqata South
http://www.waseda.ac.jp/projects/egypt/sites/Msouth-E.html#The%20Prehistoric%20Survey
As part of the University of Waseda’s exploration of Malqata South they have inaugurated a Prehistoric Survey which looks at the prehistoric finds located at Malqata South, including Palaeolithic artefacts.

Theban Mapping Project Prehistoric and Predynastic
http://www.thebanmappingproject.com/resources/timeline.html
An extremely short overview of the prehistoric and Predynastic past of Egypt

Bibliography of Prehistoric Resources
http://www.leidenuniv.nl/nino/aeb96/aeb96_7.html#VII.e
A list of references for prehistoric studies in Egypt

Prehistoric and Predynastic Faiyum, Southern Cairo and the Western Delta
http://www.faiyum.historians.co.uk
A detailed and comprehensive description of the Faiyum during the Qarunian and earliest Neolithic, the Neolithic sites of Merimda Beni Salama and El Omari in the southern Cairo area, the Maadi-Buto sites in the Cairo and Western Delta, and the Late Predynastic Naqada II and Naqada III expansion into Lower Egypt.

 

Predynastic (and Protdynastic)

Hierakonpolis Online
http://www.hierakonpolis.org/Default.htm
The site for the ancient town of Hierakonpolis (ancient Nekhen), which had an extensive Predynastic presence in Egypt.  The home of the Palette of Narmer and the earliest known decorated tomb in Egypt, (amongst many other firsts) Hierakonpolis is one of the most important early sites of ancient Egypt.  The site contains quite a lot of detailed information, including a map of the Hierakonpolis site, and descriptions of different elements of the town.  It also offers Nekhen News, a newsletter containing information about the latest activities at Hierakonpolis (there is an archive of Nekhen News on the site).

Hierakonpolis
http://www.archaeology.org/interactive/hierakonpolis/index.html
The website of Archaeology Magazine features a series of articles about Hierakonpolis from the point of view of the excavators and the post excavation work.  It contains, amongst other things, a week-by-week description of the excavations at “the elite cemetery” and “Narmer’s temple”, staff profiles, Nubian pottery and animal burials.

Naqada Settlement and Cemeteries
http://www.petrie.ucl.ac.uk/digital_egypt/naqada/index.html and
 http://www.petrie.ucl.ac.uk/digital_egypt/naqadan/background.html
Naqada is one of the most important sites in both the formation of Egypt and the formation of archaeology as a discipline.  These pages, part of the innovative Petrie Museum website, contain maps, brief background information and extensive images from excavations at Naqada.

Late Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt
http://xoomer.virgilio.it/francescoraf/ (URL updated at the request of the site’s owner)
Francesco Raffaele’s comprehensive site dedicated to this important part of Egypt’s past.  As well as a period-by-period overview of the Late Predynastic and Early Dynastic,  the site contains three corpora:  of Late Dynastic decorated palettes,  First Dynasty ivory and wooden year-labels, and Early Dynastic inscriptions on stone vessels.  There are a number of excellent articles written by Raffaele and a fascinating analysis of a wooden label from the reign of Den. There is also a bibliography, a comprehensive list of links and a New Discoveries section. The site is regularly updated, and includes contact details. 

Prehistoric and Predynastic Faiyum, Southern Cairo and Western Delta
www.faiyum.historians.co.uk
The earliest fully agricultural community so far known was found in the Faiyum, where both Palaeolithic and important Epipalaeolithic sites have also been found.  After the late Neolithic, occupation ceased in the Faiyum but took off in the area south of Cairo.  In the later Predynastic, it extended into the Western Delta.  This site discusses the Prehistoric and Predynastic in these areas.  It is divided into manageable sections, but was originally an academic paper which has been copied for public use onto the web
 

The Antiquity of Man
http://www.antiquityofman.com/
Set up to explore “human evolution and the dawn of civilization” there are some fascinating articles on this site by both well-known academic professionals and informed amateurs.  Many of them have been published in academic journals and appear on this site with the permission of those journals.  Relevant titles include:

  • Badarian government and religious evolution
  • The Egyptian Predynastic:  A Review of the Evidence (by Kathryn Bard)
  • The Ecological context of Ancient Egyptian Predynastic Settlements (by Mikey Brass)
  • Predynastic Subsistence Activities (by Mikey Brass)
  • Palermo Stone (by Mikey Brass)
  • The Narmer Macehead and Related Objects (by Professor NB Millett)

Dawn of Egyptian Culture
http://www.nemo.nu/ibisportal/0egyptintro/2aegypt/index.htm
This site, put together by Ottar Vendel is a very approachable and digestible history of the Nile Valley.  The colours are a little startling but don’t be put off.  He has a set of pages which offer an explanation of prehistoric and predynastic Egypt.  He provides useful photographs, maps and diagrams and his writing style is both direct and unconvoluted, which is a pleasure to read. He captures the main points and summarises most of the more important sites and finds.  The page, when printed in portrait, is 26 pages long.  Additional pages contain images and further discussion.

Egypt - The Black Land and Forging of a Dynasty
http://www.mc.maricopa.edu/~reffland/anthropology/learning/glues/blackland/black_land.html
Taken from Brian Fagan’s book The Black Land to Figth Sun (Helix Books 1998) this 16-page (landscape) article discusses the development of Egypt from Predynastic times to the 4th Dynasty. It is written in a popular and accessible way. 

Developing an AMS Radiocarbon Based Crhonology for the Predynastic egyptian Cemetary, N7000, at Naga-ed-Der
http://archaeology.asu.edu/Jordan/nsfprop.html
This site consists of a proposal for a radiocarbon dataing study using materials collected in the 1902-1903 season at the Predynastic cemetary N7000 at Naga-ed-Der in Upper Egypt.  It is an 18-page document which provides an enormously useful discussion of the problems involved in developing a chronology for predynastic Egypt with only the current resources available.  There is also a very useful and extensive bibliography.

Abydos
www.dainst.org/index_51_en.html
A German site which has an English page describing the work of the German Archaeological Institute at Abydos.  It has a good overview of the results of the current work (including final excavations in the all important cemetary U) and is illustrated with photographs and diagrams which are extremely useful.  Contact details are included.

What Predynastic Ceramics tell us about Prehistoric Egypt
http://hometown.aol.com/hebsed/podzorski.htm
Posted by the American Research Centre in Egypt, North California Chapter, this site summarises a lecture by Patricia Podzorski about a study of Predynastic ceramics.

Technological Innovations and the Resulting Unifcation of Egypt due to Warfare as a Response to Sedentary Living
http://www.geocities.com/gcalla1/narmer.htm
This page, part of an anthropology site which focuses on a number of eclectic subjects and publishes theories and speculations, is a paper suggesting various ideas about the unification of Egypt.  The paper’s author is JRC Giovanni.

Predynastic Egypt
http://ragz-international.com/predynastic_egypt.htm
Part of the International History Project website, the Predynastic Egypt page is a very short overview of the predynastic and early dynastic periods.

The Prehistory of Egypt and Nubia
http://www.predynastic.com
A work-in-progress synthesis of Egyptian prehistoric and predynastic information. Th site aims to provide an online comprehensive introduction to all periods from the Lower Palaeolithic to the Third Dynasty.  The author does not attempt to impose any of her own interpretations of the material and confines herself to summarising the work of well known authorities in the field. The site includes glossaries and chronologies, and the text is fully referenced to a complete bibliography.  The site is by no means complete, but it is regularly updated and a “last updated” box sits on the home page to let visitors know what has been updated and when.

Eastern Desert - Predynastic Petroglyphs
http://www.lankester.force9.co.uk/index.htm
This site is dedicated mainly to the Predynastic petroglyphs of the Eastern Desert and has a number of photographs which are useful for visualising all the very fashionable discussions about the Eastern Desert petroglyphs.  As well as the photographs there is some content discussing the petroglyphs, but the main value resides in the photographs and descriptions of them.  The author does not explain who he is, but he does include contact details.

David Rohl’s Home Page
http://www.nunki.net/index.html
Personally, I find this site a nightmare to use, but it does have a couple of items of use and, being focused on the Predynastic, is unusual enought to merit inclusion.  The glossy and rather computer-game type home-page links to a very plain table of contents and links.  David Rohl has carried out extensive studies in the Eastern Desert and his interpretations have sparked considerable debate, if not much support.  Its main feature for those interested int he Predynastic are a number of articles by other authors including

Ship Petroglyphs of the Eastern Desert
http://www.artsales.com/Ancient%20Ships/cEDpetros.htm
A page dedicated to ship petroglyphs in the Eastern Desert, with links to other relevant pages.  It is a very basic page, but there are one or two interesting images.

Digital Egypt for Universities
http://www.petrie.ucl.ac.uk/digital_egypt/
A useful and innovative site which attempts to represent Egypt’s predynastic and dynastic past graphically, using both photographs and computer graphics to illustrate key issues.  Predynastic sections are particularly useful as an aid to visualising and understanding ancient Egypt, and there are maps showing the location of key predynastic and early dynastic sites, amongst other things.  Navigation can be a bit convoluted, but it is worth finding your way around because there is a lot of useful information to be found.

Naqadan Pottery
http://www.petrie.ucl.ac.uk/digital_egypt/naqadan/pottypes.html
Part of the above Digital Egypt for Universities website (by the Petrie Museum), This section of the site provides an overview of Naqadan pottery, with pottery forms as per Petrie’s designations.  The site shows the pottery types (e.g. Black-Typed Pottery) with a set of photographs under the heading to illustrate the pottery types.  There is a link from the page, also illustrated with photographs, which puts the pottery types into a chronological table, which is massively useful, and a page dedicated to an explanation of the development of Petrie’s Sequence Dating system.

Estudios Cuantitativos de Cemnetarios Prehistoricos
www.geocities.com/Paris/Sorbonne/3066/index15.html
The abstract for this article is in English, but the rest of the paper is in spanish (very easy to understand and well written).  To quote the abstract, this in article “the author describes the method he used to analyze about 8.000 prehistoric Egyptian tombs and the new conclusions that he could draw from previously published evidence on the social evolution of these early communities”.  Although the term “prehistoric” is used, most of the sites quoted fall into what would normally be termed the Predynastic period, although he also refers to Fayum, Merimde, Tasa and Badarian which often fall into the pre Predynastic period. Be warned, this site shares with other Geocities websites an annoying profusion of popu-up windows containing advertising.

Enterramientos anomalos en el Predinatico egipcio:  Textos de las piramides, funerales diferidos.
www.egiptologia.net/isis/moline04.html
Strictly for spanish-speakers. Written by Miguel Ángel Molinero Polo, this is an article dated to 19th August 2000 and discusses burial in predynastic Egypt, and the shift in burial practise from simpler forms of interment to mummification.  A number of predynastic sites are quoted, including Naqada, Ballas, Gerza and Adaima.

Eastern Desert site
www.lankester.force9.co.uk
A site dedicated to predynastic sites and issues mainly focused on the Eastern Desert, with photographs, illustrations and a number of short items discussing a number of things, quite briefly, including the following topics:

  • Discussion of links between Egypt and Mesoptotamian in the Late Dynastic/Archaic
  • Where the Boats Are (map of predynastic boat petroglyphs in the Eastern Desert)
  • The importance of cattle in prehistoric and predynastic Egypt

New Light on King Narmer and the Protodynatic Egyptian Presence in Canaan
http://weber.ucsd.edu/Depts/Anthro/classes/tlevy/Tillah/recent.html
By Thomas E. Levy, Edwin C.M. van den Brink, Yuval Goren and David Alon.  This article, which was originally posted in Biblical Archaeologist 1995 Volume 58, Number 1 describes a project taking place in Israel.  In their own words: “Recent excavations in Israelís northern Negev desert, carried out under the auspices of the new Nahal Tillah Regional Archaeology Project, are beginning to shed new light on the character of late Protodynastic/Early Dynastic Egyptian/Canaanite interaction, ca. 3300 - 3000 BC. Of key importance are new data concerning the role of one of the earliest historically known Egyptian kings - Narmer, in expansion of the Nile Valley civilization”.

 

Visiting Prehistoric and Predynastic Artefacts

At the moment, this section is dedicated to the UK, but I hope eventually to expand its scope to museums overseas.

The British Museum, London
http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/
The British Museum has a terrific collection of Egyptology and has a gallery dedicated to prehistoric and early dynastic Egypt which has some superbly high quality and beautifully crafted artefacts which give a real insight into what early Egypt was capable of producing in terms of art, craft and workmanship.  It has recently been re-organised and the presentation is now both attractive and very informative.  Most of the Predynastic material on display dates to Naqada II and later, but there are some very fine Faiyum Neolithic (Faiyum A) lithics, pottery and, more unusually, basketry.  There are also, in the Nubian gallery, some pottery sherds from the Khartoum Mesolithic.

The Petrie Museum, London
http://www.petrie.ucl.ac.uk/
The Petrie, while tiny, is a lovely and artefact-packed museum which has compensated for its physical confines by encouraging students to book time with artefacts in the catalogue (and not necessarily on display), and by showing the entire catalogue (together with extensive information and a full bibliography) online on the Petrie website.  The collection includes stone tools from the Acheulean onwards, and extensive early pottery from the Badarian and Naqadan phases - the sheer quantity of predynastic pottery is amazing and illuminating.  The museum is worth a visit in its own right, but its predynastic collections (including the Badarian and the Faiyum Neolithic) are particularly noteworthy. 

The Ashmolean, Oxford
http://www.ashmol.ox.ac.uk
The Ashmo has a small gallery of prehistoric, predynastic and protodynastic remains (which is lovely) and another gallery containing artefacts from the Main Deposit at Hierakonpolis.  There are few prehistoric artefacts on display, but there is some Badarian pottery, and a lot of Naqada I and II finds.  There are a couple of displays which not only show the artefacts from individual tombs but explain them on very clear notices within the cabinets.  It has a small but very fine display of Faiyum Neolithic lithics.