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Complex Societies in Ancient Egypt and Sub-Saharan Africa.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course
Anthropology 2100
Professor
Peter Timmins
Semester
Winter

Description
Jan, 21, 2013 Complex Societies in Ancient Egypt and Sub-Saharan Africa Egypt: The Nile: -Agriculture greatly benefited from the Nile because of the annual re-fertilization from flooding but irrigation was necessary in most areas and there were 3 harvests per year -The Nile was also used for transportation, trade, and the passing of information and it also provided other resources such as fish, ducks, reeds, flax, and papyrus -Lower Egypt was located north around the Nile Delta and Upper Egypt was located in the south in more arid areas -Egypt has a long history of ancient sites being looted for example by Giovanni Belzoni who did extreme damage to th important sites up and down the Nile in the 19 century -Sir Flanders Petrie (1880’s-1920’s) developed careful excavation and recording techniques and he applied seriation to artifacts from 2000 graves at Nagada and he defined the cultural chronology for the Pre-Dynastic Period The Pre-Dynastic – 4500-3000 BC: -These people were early farmers with gardens and domestic animals and they also hunted and gathered -Stone vessels were used and we have some great examples that have survived and there was copper-working which shows craft specialization and there was trade in copper pins and axes Pre-Dynastic Proto-Kingdoms in Upper Egypt 3500 BC: -Nagada was a walled town and the cemeteries reveal social stratification based on differential grave offerings -Heirakonpolis (Nehken/City of the Hawk) has a high water table which hinders excavations -Abu Suffian also has a cemetery with evidence of status differentiation and there are royal tombs with wall paintings The Pre-Dynastic in Lower Egypt: -Sites are deeply buried under delta silt here and it was the area of the Maadi culture -Maadi (3650 BC) was a major trade centre and they had intensive trade in the eastern Mediterranean of stone vessels, beads, copper, grain, and dried fish -The El Omari culture can be found at several sites with over 100 houses in the largest known village and they too had extensive trade in stone tools, seashells, and ostrich shells The Early Dynastic / Archaic Period – 3000-2575 BC: -King Narmer unified Upper and Lower Egypt and the Narmer palette depicts the unification because on one site he is shown wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt and on the other the white crown of Upper Egypt and he is also seen with a double crown The Pharaoh in Ancient Egypt: -The pharaoh was the human incarnation of the falcon god Horus during life and after death they became the incarnation of the god Osiris god of the dead -The king was charged with maintaining ma’at which to them was balance, order and justice and the pharaoh held absolute power over his people, the rains, the Nile flood, and the harvest and they led tightly controlled lives -Leaders were thrown out of office during droughts and famines leading to political instability marking the “intermediate” periods Archaic Innovations – 3000-2575 BC: -Papyrus paper was made from stems of the papyrus plant (a reed) -Faience was glass made from crushed quartz and used for jewellery -Pyramids evolved from “mastabas” (mound like structures) and the first pyramid was built by King Djoser -There is a large step pyramid at Saqqara ca. 2680 BC with six levels and it stood 62 m high and was surrounded by a stone wall 9 m wide and this too evolved from Predynastic mastabas built over royal tombs and there may be a possible influence from ziggurats The Old Kingdom – 2575-2134 BC: -Was a complex state with a centralized bureaucracy and much long-distance trade and there was also monumental architecture such as the pyramids at Giza built as tombs for the pharaohs The Pyramids of Giza: -Built by 4th Dynasty Pharaohs Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Cepheren), and Menkaure (Mycerinus) between 2606 – Jan, 21, 2013 2530 BC -Probably built by peasants during the flood season and this created full employment, a large labour force, and exalted the King -Khufu’s Pyramid is made of 2.3 million blocks weighing in at roughly 2.5 tons each -They functioned as tombs for Kings as a home for the Pharaoh in the afterlife and they are related to Sun god, Ra who is symbolic of the sun’s rays bursting through clouds and the “stairway to heaven” -Robert Bauval sees a relationship between the Giza pyramids, the god Osiris, and the constellation Orion and he believes the layout of Giza is based on the constellation Orion but this is not well-accepted by archaeologists The First Intermediate Period – 2134-2040 BC: -Power shifted to Provincial Nomarchs and droughts and low flood levels created huge social and economic problems -A contemporary account: “Grain has perished everywhere… people are stripped of clothing, perfume and oil… Everyone says, “There is no more.”… The dead are thrown in the river…Laughter has perished. Grief walks the land.” -There is also the collapse of centralized kingship led to political chaos The Middle Kingdom: -Saw the religious change from worship of the sun god, Ra, to worship of the god Osiris and t
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