viernes, 3 de abril de 2015

The dawn of civilisation

The dawn of civilisation

At the end of the fourth millennium BC in Lower Nubia emerges a new culture, defined by archaeologists as group (or horizon) A. It originated from earlier Neolithic traditions of northern Sudan, with strong influences from Upper Egypt, where the foundations of the ancient pharaonic state were being established at the same time. This new community consisted of small semi-nomadic groups inhabiting temporary camps. In addition to farming, they derived their wealth from mining fossil deposits in the area of the Eastern Desert, as well as from trade: they offered wild animal skins, gold, ivory, ostrich eggs, feathers and precious ebony wood in exchange for items produced in the area of what was to become Egypt – copper tools, weapons, food (olive oil, honey, beer and cheese), and, above all, high quality ceramics.

Elephantine – “Elephant’s Town”
The development of trade contributed to the richness of tribal chieftains and facilitated the penetration of Egyptian culture and religion into Nubia. The Egyptians, in order to control trade with the south, established a trading post on the island of Elephantine (ancient Abu, literally “Elephant’s town”; today it is a part of the present day city of Asuan). Soon, however, Egyptians started to wage war against the inhabitants of Lower Nubia. One of such conflicts is probably commemorated in a rock carving at Jebel Sheikh Suliman near Wadi Halfa, where, supposedly, the name of pharaoh Djer is engraved next to a bound Nubian chieftain. Possibly, due to the changes in the Egyptian policy towards the south during the reign of the 1st Dynasty (ca. 3000 – 2890) the majority of A-Group settlements were abandoned.

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