September 27th Lecture

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University of Toronto St. George
Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
Zoe Mc Quinn

NMC343 The Historical Framework September 27 2012 Egyptian Chronology - Palaeolithic Period: 700,000 – 7000 BC - Neolithic Period: 8800-4700 BC - Predynastic Period: 5300-3000 BC - Pharaonic Period: 3000-332 BC - Ptolemaic Period: 332-30 BC - Roman Period: 30 BC – 395 AD Chronological Framework 1. Relative Dating Methods *possible test question* - Stratigraphic excavation o In a hill, that found closest to the top is that which is closest to us temporally, while that found deeper is further away from us in history - Sequence Dating o Introduced by Petrie; dates artefacts by looking at changes in style and dating them like that - Seriation o Taking artefacts from multiple sites and creating a bigger framework - Aegyptiaca compile by Manetho, early 3 century BC th - Palermo Stone, 5 dynasty - Abydos Kings List, 19 Dynasty - Turin canon, 13 century BC - Demotic Chronicle, 300 BC 2. Absolute Chronologies - There are only two dates that we have been able to absolutely set in stone and be absolutely sure of - The most important documents for assigning absolute date s to the traditional Egyptian chronological framework record the “heliacal rising” of the Dog Star, Sirius (Sopdet in Egypt) th o A 12 dynasty letter form Kahun written on day 16 month 4 of the second season in year 7 of the reign of Senusret III th o The 18 dynasty Papyrus Ebers and Theban medical document from day 9 month 3 of the third season of year 9 in the reign of Amenhotep I 3. Radiometric Methods - Particular types of artefacts or organic remains can be assigned dates in terms of the measurement of radioactive decay or accumulation - Common methods: Radiocarbon Dating and Thermoluminescence Problems with Chronologies - Co-Regencies: a modern term applied to the periods during which two kings were simultaneously ruling NMC343 The Historical Framework September 27 2012 - Dark-Ages: “Intermediate Periods” when the political and social stability of the pharaonic period appeared to have been temporarily damaged Egypt during the Palaeolithic - Climate: oscillating between hyperaridity and sahelian conditions - For most of the Palaeolithic Egypt was lush and green, while now it is a dry desert - As well, the Nile didn’t look the same as it does today - The Nile was much thinner and didn’t have as wide a flood plain as it does today - Reduced to a series of ephemeral wadi basins or had generally low discharge - No modern humans in Egypt during the Palaeolithic (not homosapiens) Lower Palaeolithic 500,000 – 250,000 BC - Homo erectus - The most common type of tool found in this time was the Acheulean type o Hand tools, very primitive, used to dig holes, smash things open, etc. - We don’t find these tools near the river bed or normal pharaonic areas - We find them at “inselbergs” (look up) - Our knowledge is limited about this time due to two reasons: preservation and exploration o Most of these sights are either buried because of the Aswan dam or have eroded o Not as much interest in researching this age as in the Pharonic period o Most of our knowledge comes from the Dakhla Oasis and Bir Sahara and Bir Tarfawi Middle Palaeolithic: 250,000 – 70,000 BC - Late Acheulean Hand-axes: bifacial foliates and typical Nubian knapping methods - Levallois Method: a special technique aimed at striking a single large flake from a carefully prepared core designed to produce flakes and blades of fixed dimensions Late Middle Palaeolithic - At the end of the Middle Palaeolithic, the Nubian Levallois tools disappear and we start getting much more complicated tools - Burins (chisels with sharp edges to carve) and denticulates (serrated tooth-edge for a knife or scraping device) - As well, the climate changes from being arid (lush) to hyperaridity Transitional Group (taramsan) 70,000-50,000 BC - Modern humans? - Multiple blade production from large cores - First time we get a burial of an “anatomically modern” human o First human burial in Africa o A child at Taramsa-1 o Found at Qena (possible question) Upper Palaeolithic 50,000-24,000 BC - Nazlet Khater-4 (Middle Egypt) c. 35,000-30,000 BC NMC343 The Historical Framework September 27 2012 o Oldest underground mining activity in the world o Tools include end-scrapers, burins ,and denticulates but also some bifacial foliates and bifacial axes - Shuwikhatian Industry (Near Qena and Esna) c. 25,000 BC o Hunting and fishing camps with robust blades The Late Palaeolithic 24,000-12,000 BC - First time we find cave pictures - The Fakhhurian Industry c.21,000-19,500 BC o Found at Wadi Kubbaniya o It’s a kill-butcher camp site o Four major tool classes: backed bladelets, perforators, notches, and denticulates - The Kubbaniyan Industry c.19,000-17,000 BC o Also found at Wadi Kubbaniya o Based on archaeology, it seems that it was formed when a temporary lake barred from the blood by a dune at the mouth of the wadi o We’ve found plants such as chamomile, nut-grass tubers, evidence of seasonal fishing, catfish, tilapia, also hunting wild cattle and gazelle - The Ballanan-Silsilian Industry 16,000-15,000 BC o From Kom Ombo and Esna o Their tools are very geometric: triangular and trapezoid tools o They used Microburin techniques: made really tiny chisels, probably for detailing The Late Palaeolithic: Wild Nile Stage c.13,000-12,000 BP - Nile starts flooding differently - Four main cultures - Afian c. 12,900-12,300 BC o Sites located above the floodplain near Qena o Fished seasonally in the post-flood season o Use of thrust baskets, nets and scoop baskets for fishing o Charcoal suggests smoking the fish to preserve them - Isnan c.12,300 BC o Found in the Esna area, from Wadi Kubbaniya t othe Dishana plain and at Naqada o Little is known about their economy - Qadan c.12,000 BC o Found between the second cataract and southern Egypt o They really liked small tools (microlithic flake assemblage) o Most important part of their culture is what we’ve found in their cemeteries o We’ve found 3 full cemeteries at this site o At Gebel Sahaba there are 59 individuals buried, but 24 of them have met a violent death NMC343 The Historical Framework September 27 2012 - Sebilian o No idea who they were or their chronological position other than that they’re from the late Palaeolithic o Found from the Second Cataract to north of the Qena bend o Unlike anyone else, they used sandstones and volcanic rocks as raw material Egypt Occupation Hiatus 11,000 – 8,000 BC - For about 3,000 years, no one leaves in Egypt o At least, there is no evidence of anyone living in Egypt during this time - There does seem to be a small ground living around the second cataract dating to around 9,4000 BC, but they’re extremely small - The reasons for this might be because of the Holocene Wet Phase - Abnormal floods reaching dangerous heights of 8 or 9 metres - People retreated back into the Sahel and the Sahara (they’re wetter now because of these high floods) Neolithic Cultures 8,400-4,700 BC Saharan Neolithic/Ceramic  Early Neolithic c. 8,800
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