Lecture 3 - Historical Framework

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

NMC343 -Ancient Egypt I Thursday Sept 27, 2012 Lecture 3 - Historical Framework Egyptian Chronology • Paleolithic Period: 700,000-7,000 BP • Neolithic Period: 8,800 -4,700 BP • At which point language evolves, we can witness social segregation and the emergence of hi- erarchy along with agriculture and domestication • Predynastic: 5,300-3,000 BC • Pharaonic Period: 3,000 - 332 BC Ptolemaic: 332 - 30 BC • • Roman Period: 30 BC -AD 395 • Intermediate Periods are times of decenterization of political structure and eras of social change Dating The below three methods are used to establish Egyptian chronologies • • Relative dating methods • Stratigraphic excavation of tells (hills) • Sequence dating a la Petrie in which you observe forms of change in artifacts over time, al- lowing for the ability to date certain artifacts • Seriation is one step past sequence dating that that you take a group of artifacts over multiple sites and create a chronology • Manetho’s list in Aegyptica from the early 3rd century BC gives us the order of kings, and is our major source for relative dating • The Palermo stone of the 5th dynasty lists all kings up to 5th dynasty for Lower Egypt, and gives us their reign where each section is a year mark • Abydos Kings list of the 19th century list kings back to Menes, and any omissions were probably politically motivated • Turin Canon is a gods and king list of the 13th century BC • Demotic Chronicle of 300 BC gives a solid ordering chronology • Absolute chronologies • The “Heliacal” rising of the dog star sirius is the most important document for assigning ab- solute dates tot he traditional Egyptian chronological framework. Two instances have been recorded: A12th Dynasty letter from Kahun written on day 15 month 4 of the second season in • year 7 of the reign of Senusret III • The 18th Dynasty papyrus Ebers and Theban medical document from day 9 month 3 of the third season of year 9 in reign ofAmenhotep I • The only problem is that we don’t know where this happened - the rising would happen different years between memphis of Kahun • Radiometric methods • Particular types of artifacts or organic remains can be assigned dates in terms of the measure- ment of radioactive decay or accumulation • Common methods include: Radiocarbon dating • • Thermoluminescence NMC343 -Ancient Egypt I Thursday Sept 27, 2012 Lecture 3 - Historical Framework Problems with Chronologies • Co-regencies: a modern term applied to the periods during which two kings were simultaneously ruling E.g., father training son could result in the dual dating of year 17 of the father’s reign and • year 1 of the son’s • DarkAges: “Intermediate Periods” when the political and sacred stability of the pharaonic period appeared to have been temporarily damaged Paleolithic • Climate: oscillating between hyperaridity and sahelian conditions • River: Nile reduced to a series of ephemeral wadi basins or had generally low discharge • Not good source of food or stability • No modern humans - only homo erectus as this time Lower Paleolithic • 500,000 - 250,000 BP • Homo erectus probably very intelligent animal • Most common type of tool was the acheulean type • Not found near riverbed but in “inselbergs” (top of cliffs near wadi’s where near a water source but not in danger of flooding) • Here we find refuse, mistakes, etc • Limited knowledge due to preservation and lack of exploration Dakhla Oasis, Kharga, Bir Tawalie, Bir Sahara • • We find evidence of what is being hunted (small and big animals, even giraffes!) and evi- dence of group hunting • Primarily gazelle • Also Qena, NagAhmed el khalita, Deir el-medina • Stone tool evidence Middle Paleolithic • LateAcheulean Handaxes • Bifacial, foliates and typical Nubian knapping methods • Levallois Method • Technique aimed at striking a single flake from a carefully prepared core designed to produce flakes and blades of a fixed dimension • Evidence of a bigger thought process Rescue archaeology in Sudan has led to the assumption that similar results would be found in • Egypt • Full of playas and temporary lakes, perfect for hunting and gathering as it draws in game • In Eastern Desert Wadi Sadmein Cave we find evidence in cave ridge where they slaughter sheep Late-Middle Paleolithic • Tool changes: NMC343 -Ancient Egypt I Thursday Sept 27, 2012 Lecture 3 - Historical Framework • No more Nubian Levallois Burin and Denticulates • Humans make tools to make other tools - thought process unlike any other animals Denticulates feature serrated edge • • Climate change: • From arid to hyperaridity Transitional Group (Taramsen) 70,000 - 50,000 BP Blade production from large cores • • Aburial of an ‘anatomically modern’child at Taramsa-1 • First human burial inAfrica • Evidences respect • Located near Qena, an important Paleolithic site Upper Paleolithic 50,000 - 24,000 BP • Nazlet-Khador-4 (Middle Egypt) 35,000-30,000 BP • Oldest mining activity Quarrying for raw materials • • Tools include end scrapers, burins, denticulates and bifacials • Shuwikhatian Industry (near Qena and Esna) • Fishing and hunting caves with robust blades • Seasonal: when we season in desert there is evidence of hunting - the Nile is dangerous dur- ing this time Late Paleolithic 24,000 - 12,000 BP • Rock art • Images of wild cattle - later on cattle becomes important to Egyptian culture • The Fakhurian Industry: 21,000 - 19,000 BP • Found at Wadi • Kill-butchery camp site • Backed bladelets, perforators, notches, denticulates • Kubbaniya Industry: 19,000 - 17,000 BP • Found at Wadi Kubbaniya • Kill-butchery camp site • Four major tool classes: • Backed bladelets • Perforators • Notches • Denticulates Sites occurred relating to a temporary lake barred from the flood by a dune at the north of the • wadi • Plants include a club-rush, camomile (tea!), nutgrass tubers (medicinal fro stomach aches or politces • Evidence of seasonal fishing Hunting • NMC343 -Ancient Egypt I Thursday Sept 27, 2012 Lecture 3 - Historical Framework • Ballerina-Silsilian Industry 16,000 - 15,000 BP • At Kom Ombo and Esna Tool inventory includes: trundler and trapezoidal tools, burins, pointed and backed bladeletes • and truncated bladelets • Microburn technique to create microtools Late Paleolithic • Wile Nile Stage c. 13,000 - 12,000 BP • Afian c. 12,900 - 12,300 BP • Sites located above the floodplain near Qena • Seasonally post-flood season • Use of thrust baskets, nets and scoop baskets • Charcoal suggests smoking of fish • Isnan Industry c. 12,300 BP • Found in the Esna area, from Wadi Kubbaniya to the Dishna plain and at Naqada • Not a lot of evidence • What we do have suggests a tool inventory of knapping techniques, big flakes, end-scrapers and occasional notches and denticulares • Their economy is unclear • Qadan Industry c. 12,3000 BP • Found between 2nd cataract and Southern Egypt • Microliths • 3 cemeteries: • 2 regular • The most important was Gebel Sahaba • The burial here is of 59 individuals, 24 of whom met violent deaths evidence by stone tools in skeletons or other evidence • Sebilian • Late Paleolithic but no chronological position Found from Second cataract to north of the Qena bend • • Tool inventory includes: • Lithic technology characterized by the manufacture of large flakes, and a preference for quartzite sandstones of volcanic rocks as raw material Egyptian Occupation Hiatus - 11,000 - 8,000 BP • SmallArkansan sites in the second cataract area dating around 9,400 BP • Holocene wet phase with abnormal floods reaching heights of 8 or 9 meters • Groups of people may have been able to reoccupy the zones of the Sahel and the Sahara Neolithic Cultures - 8,000 -
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