Lecture 3

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University of Toronto St. George
Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
Katja Goebs

LECTURE 3September 21 20093 Prehistoric PeriodsPalaeolithis Old Stone Ageevidence for earlier periods 15 000 to 5 000 BCE sparsenile valleyt was swampy river levels higher than todayafter end of last iceage sahara slowly dried out became less hospitableEgyptian nile valley now attracted population from sahara and much of ne AfricaAt some stage transition from food gathering economy to food producing economySome flint blades foundNeolithic Predynastic5500BCE last great wet phase came to an endearliest Neolithic remains in Egypt in the western desert at N abta here traces of agricultural activity potentially around 6000 BCE we call the partly agricultural cultures of the floodplain and the oases predynasticcultivated grains were likely introduced from Western Asiain formative periods contact between Egypt and neighbouring areas easier drought of sahara not yet completeSpecialistsintensified agriculture allowed some leisure timepermitted designation employment of specialistsbasis for later organization of urban society and the stateagriculture involved controlling flow patter of Nileareas of the plain were levelled as far as possibleformed into series of basins terraced the land for irrigationsome largescale organization needed for optimal exploitationarchaeological evidence suggests Predynastic settlements essentially in same spots as dynastic ones building on existing settlements is always easier raised level above valley floor protection from floods early settlements in Nile valley delta and FayyunoasisCrops and Livestockmain crops emmer bread and barley beermodern wheat only Grecoroman periodpulses lentils chickpeas vegetables lettuce onions garlic fruit sesame oilalso fodder crops for animal farmingbeef mutton goat pigeon goose duck chicken only in NK antelope and other fowl huntedhoney chief sweetener beekeeping importantflax clothing and rope and papyrus
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