Friday, March 20, 2009

What the Different Styles of Crowns could mean in the developments leading up to Kmt [Nwt] State Formation

Perhaps few give little thought to the matter, given the oft spoken about Crowns of Kmt (Kemet or "ancient Egypt"), particularly the "White" (Hedjet) and "Red" (Deshret) Crowns, but access to these items as tangible relics of the past has thus far been elusive. Pictures of pharaohs seem to indicate that the king's crown was made from a variety of material, from soft-looking ones [e.g. headdresses] to relatively harder ones. There are quite a variety of them, at that; these undoubtedly include those typically associated with the Neteru.

For its part, the so-called "encyclopedic" Wikipedia attributes this to an Egyptologist named Bob Brier…

Egyptologist Bob Brier has noted that despite its widespread depiction in royal portraits, no actual ancient Egyptian crown has been discovered. Tutankhamun's tomb, discovered largely intact, did contain such regal items as his crook and flail, but not a crown. Crowns were assumed to have magical properties, and Brier's speculation is that there were items a dead pharaoh could not take with him which therefore had to be passed along to his living successor.

…presumably based on notes from: Brier, Bob. PhD. History of ancient Egypt (in Audio). The First Nation in History. The Learning Company. 2001.

If this is Mr. Brier's speculation, there is little that can be made from it, since there were a variety of these 'hard-looking', and hence, very likely "durable", Pharaonic crowns, and just not a single or a few in Kmt. Hence, some of these, provided they were made from durable material as they seemed, should have survived along with other regalia.

It had been suggested, as quoted by a website owner Myra Wysinger, that...

The While and Red Crowns

Though no example of these crowns survive (that we know of), scholars have proposed that they were made of fabric or leather, supplemented in the case of the Red Crown by a "wire" ending in a spiral. Both of these crowns are mentioned in the Pyramid Texts, where their luminous color is associated with the light of celestial bodies.

This prospect is questionable in that, what kind of fabric or leather would be easily made into the shape of say, the white crown, without "hard" support—like metal—to act as a "skeleton"? If a metallic/wooden "skeleton" was needed to provide the shape of the leather or fabric "covered" crown, then is it not reasonable that this "skeleton" is expected to be found? Even a scenario of having a single crown of each kind at a time doesn't necessarily excuse the status of no solid-material/hardened crown being found; if a hard-crown is made of durable material, which the likes of the white crown and red crown suggest, then it is reasonable to expect such material to survive for some time, especially given that crowns are supposed to be important symbols of royalty, i.e. the "divine"-appointed ruler of the land.

Archaeologically, we are told by website, that the first sight of the 'red crown' which was presumably associated with "lower Egypt", actually occurs in Upper Egypt [Nagadan complex] rather than in the Delta or Lower Egyptian area:

"The red crown, or deshret, may very well have originated in Upper Egypt, although it eventually became associated as the symbol of Lower Egypt. A sherd from a large vessel dated to late Naqada I, near the town of Nubt, the city of Set, has a representation in relief of the red crown, and on both the Narmer palette (one side) and macehead the king’s figure is shown wearing the red crown. - M. Parsons,

This theme is repeated by several other observers, namely for example,...

In the Wadi Qash, a branch of the Wadi Hammamat, Wilkinson (Genesis, p. 80) cites two rock drawings of men wearing red crowns, which he dates to Naqada I (c. 3600 BC). These drawings place the red crown earliest in Upper Egypt, just where we would expect to find the white crown — only the white crown is nowhere to be seen at this time. From this it appears that the red crown was initially associated with Upper Egypt — or at least the Wadi Hammamat — and that the white crown was a later arrival from somewhere else. - Genesis of the Pharaohs: Genesis of the ‘Ka’ and Crowns?, by Timothy Kendall.

the Double Crown, comprising Red Crown (first attested as a motif on a pot sherd from Naqada in southern Upper Egypt, dating to the Naqada Period) and White Crown - the two crowns seem to be designed to form a unit, the White Crown slotting into the Red Crown and being held in place by its distinctive frontal coil; the first monument on which a king is shown wearing both crowns is the siltstone cosmetic palette of king Narmer (depicted on one side of the palette wearing the White Crown, and on the other side wearing the Red Crown); some deities wear one or other of these crowns, but they are not worn by the human subjects of the king - University College London,

The sherd of pottery that is being alluded to in the above, was pictorially reproduced in Wilkinson's publication [Early Dynastic Egypt] below (fig. 1):

Another Predynastic figure sporting what appears to be the Red Crown, as alluded to by Timothy Kendall above, also from Upper Egypt [Wadi Qash] and dating back to around the Nagada I phase:

Also, from the Palermo stone piece, we come across several king figures of presumably the predynastic era; some observers guess that they must be from the delta, because of the Red Crown, but this premise is questionable on the grounds that no predynastic era-oriented material of either authored Kings' list, tags or tombs filled up with regalia symbols as such [i.e. the Red Crown] have been recovered to verify it, as far as one can come to attention:

This below is an ivory piece that was dedicated to king Djer. In that image, only the Red Crown is visible; no sign of the White crown here.

Many of the pre-dynastic Abydos or Nagadan rulers were often artistically rendered with the familiar cloth "Pharoanic" headdresses, and very rarely seen with the Hedjet ("White" Crown). The Red Crown however, occasionally appeared alone [without double rendition of a king wearing both crowns] on "predynastic" figures, as seen in that example above, of an apparently old rendering in Wadi Qash, and on the alleged pre-dynastic Kings shown on the Palermo stone, also above. Only on figures fairly close to the turn of the predynastic era, like say, exemplified by King Scorpion, do we begin to come across the Hedjet displayed on the of heads of Nagadan or Abydos situated Kings. Speaking of which, below is a sculpture of an unidentified King at Abydos, presumably dating to earliest dynasties (ca. Dynasty 0 or 1st) or the very late predynastic line of kings; he is clearly sporting the Hedjet ("White" Crown) on his head:

Archeological evidence seem to indicate that both the Red Crown and the White crown originate in the Upper Nile Valley region. The reckoning here could be that the reason the Red Crown eventually came to be associated with north regions, is that the Red Crown line of kings progressively [prior to the introduction of the White Crown in the Nagadan strongholds] brought certain territories in that general region under their control to some degree or another before the effective unification of the entire sub-region [both Upper and Lower Egyptian regions] under one centralized polity. The White crown may have been introduced from lower Ta-Seti shortly before said unification. The earliest pictorial attestations of the Hedjet displayed on a king figure appears to come from the Qustul cemetary regalia.

In relation to the last point, concerning Ta-Seti, a possibility here is that Red crown rulers in predynastic upper Egyptian [perhaps Nagadan] complexes made some headway in dominating parts of lower predynastic Egypt before 'newcomer' elites [white crown rulers]—coming further from the south [like from Ta-Seti or perhaps beyond]—became dominant in the Nagadan complex, as a result of political alliances and perhaps conquests. This process would mean that regalia of the Red Crown Upper Egyptian rulers would have been found in lower Egyptian regions under their sphere of influence, before the consolidation of the political authority of the 'white crown' rulers in the greater part of Upper Egypt. Once this consolidation was accomplished in Upper Egypt, there would have been a move to incorporate the holdout 'spheres of influence' of the Red crown kings of Upper Egypt in Lower Egypt into the new consolidated Upper Egyptian polity, to be dominated by the White crown. As a symbol of complete unification, the white crown and red crown were harmonized by 'combining them', as seen in some places. And yes, this would have meant the movement of people from Upper Egypt to the Lower Egyptian regions.

Recounting a discussion, the present author raised "questions" about the "possibility" of a "surrogate" Ta-seti polity in the so-called Nagadan complex, as one of the possible ways, amongst the others out there, by which "White Crown" rulers from further south of Abydos may have sought to consolidate their rule in the greater part of "Egyptian" territory; direct conquest from further south was the other possibility among said possibilities already examined in the preceding passages. Think of a "surrogate polity" as a 'proxy' polity, or a polity that is tied (related) to or pays allegiance to another polity/administration elsewhere. In the context of the predynastic upper Egyptian polities, the question was raised based on archaeological indicators of "concurrently" running polities in Ta-Seti and Nagada...and a study that determined royal remains in the Upper Egyptian regions north of Ta-Seti to have close affinities with those in what is dubbed "Nubia". That said study of royal remains was described as follows:

"A biological affinities study based on frequencies of cranial nonmetric traits in skeletal samples from three cemeteries at predynastic Naqada, Egypt, confirms the results of a recent nonmetric dental morphological analysis. Both cranial and dental traits analyses indicate that theindividuals buried in a cemetery characterized archaeologically as high status are significantly different from individuals buried in two other, apparently nonelite cemeteries and that the nonelite samples are not significantly different from each other.

A comparison with neighboring Nile Valley skeletal samples suggests that the high status cemetery represents an endogamous ruling or elite segment of the local population at Naqada, which is more closely related to populations in northern Nubia than to neighboring populations in southern Egypt.

Extract from: American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 101, Issue 2, October 1996, Pages: 237-246.

Going back to that Timothy Kendall excerpt posted earlier, the work it came from said something related to what has just been relayed, but tells us little more beyond that, read:

From Timothy Kendall, Genesis of the Pharaohs: Genesis of the ‘Ka’ and Crowns?, courtesy of aforementioned Myra Wysinger via her site...

"In the Wadi Qash, a branch of the Wadi Hammamat, Wilkinson (Genesis, p. 80) cites two rock drawings of men wearing red crowns, which he dates to Naqada I (c. 3600 BC). These drawings place the red crown earliest in Upper Egypt, just where we would expect to find the white crown — only the white crown is nowhere to be seen at this time. From this it appears that the red crown was initially associated with Upper Egypt — or at least the Wadi Hammamat — and that the white crown was a later arrival from somewhere else. Both the red and white crowns have ungainly shapes, hardly natural as head-wear. The red crown was a low cylindrical hat with a high spike-like pillar at the back, from which a rigid, curling element projected forward. The white crown was very tall and conical, and swelled slightly at the peak to form a knob. Neither form has been satisfactorily explained. What ideas lay behind such crowns? Where and how did they originate, and what did they symbolize? Wilkinson’s book may offer clues. The most distinctive aspect of the red crown is its curled element, which has the same shape as the later coiled ‘rope’ hieroglyph (Gardiner 1969, V 1). One would thus assume that this feature symbolized a rope. This symbol appears again as an element in another hieroglyph, which is the standard of the god Min (Gardiner 1969, O 44). Here the coiled rope appears between a pair of bull horns mounted on the top of an upright post. The combination of motifs — post, bull horns, and rope — seems to evoke the action of tethering a bull, an activity of the Min figure (or his human double) frequently pictured in the rock art (Genesis, figs. 37, 38, 39, 41, 52). The early presence of the red crown in the Wadi Hammamat coupled with its morphological similarity to the Min standard may suggest that the crown, and the kingship it represented, emerged in the Eastern Desert out of the Min cult. Its name (ds&rt: ‘the red one’) may even suggest a relationship with the desert (ds&rt ‘the red land’).

The Min standard with bull horns (also called ‘ka’) usually appears in dynastic art erected in front of a very tall, tubular, phallic-shaped shrine, known as the sh.nt, before which Min stands (Munro 1983, figs.). This structure, described as a ‘primitive tent shrine of the desert’, was either conical or spiked at the top and was usually depicted with a doorway or pylon in its lower half, indicating that it was many times the height of a man. The shrine was supposed to have housed a bull (‘ka’) consecrated to Min, and many scenes from dynastic art depict the raising of such shrines by Nubian men with feathers in their hair (Isler 1991, 158 ff.; Giuliani in press). In some scenes we see that the rope of the Min standard, which coils between the bull horns, is actually attached to the base of the spiked top of the sh.nt just as the curled ‘rope’ element of the red crown emerges from the crown’s spike. In other images, the sh.nt appears with a conical rather than spiked summit, and its peak sometimes terminates in a knob (Isler 1991, 161, fig. 7). In such renderings the sh.nt has an equally strong resemblance to the white crown. This leads us to consider the possibility that both the red and white crowns may have derived from the Min cult but simulated different forms of the sh.nt. (Might the white colour of the ‘white crown’ be related to the white colour of the clothing of Min, as it appears in dynastic art?) Unfortunately, the earliest known depictions of the sh.nt in Egyptian art date from the 6th Dynasty, and nothing like a sh.nt appears in the rock art. It is hard to imagine, however, that such a distinctive shrine would simply be invented in the late Old Kingdom and inserted into a cult already very old. One suspects that the sh.nt may have been there all along but had not been represented.

The origin of the white crown is ambiguous. Its first appearance in Egypt may be a rock drawing in the Wadi Abbad, about 50 km east of Edfu (Genesis, p. 192). Here, a figure wearing a tall crown (without knob) appears seated on a Naqada II-style boat, accompanied by a bull and a figure of Min. The image is apparently two or three centuries later than the earliest images of the red crown. The Wadi Abbad, it should be noted, intersects the Nile near El-Kab and Hierakonpolis. These were the cities of Nekhbet and Horus Nekheny, respectively — the deities of the historic white crown kingship. Oddly, in the famous painted tomb of Hierakonpolis, also Naqada II, there is not one representation of a white crown among the numerous images of the ruler. And on the painted textile from Gebelein the ruler seated in the boat wears only a kind of bowler hat (Genesis, pl. 12).

Ironically, the earliest certain images of the white crown come not from Egypt but from Qustul in Lower Nubia, about 300 km up-river from Hierakonpolis. These images occur on two incense burners of uniquely Nubian type, which depict kings seated in archaic high-prowed boats wearing abnormally tall crowns with knobs, accompanied by bulls and Horus falcons(Williams 1980; 1986, pls. 33, 34). They date to about 3300 BC. The same crown then appears not long afterwards in Egypt: on an unprovenienced ivory knife handle in the Metropolitian Museum and, later still, on the Scorpion mace head and Narmer palette (Wilkinson 1999, 194–5). The evidence can be interpreted several ways:

a) the white crown was exclusively Egyptian, and it is Egyptian kings who are represented on the Qustul incense burners;

b) the white crown was used simultaneously by competing rulers in Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia; or

c) the white crown was first used in Nubia and spread northwards.

It was obviously associated with riverine kingship (kings in boats), bulls (the Min cult) and the god Horus. The white crown is usually assumed to be a homegrown Egyptian symbol—badge of the kings of the emergent Upper Egyptian state. They obviously pushed the red-crown wearers into Lower Egypt before the advent of the dynastic era. We need at least to consider the possibility, however, that the white crown might have had a Nubian origin. Varying forms of the shrine of Min, showing their similarities to the red and white crowns. When Egypt conquered the A-Group rulers of Qustul, they may simply have adopted their crown, just as they adopted the red crown to legitimize their claims to the north. This may explain why Ta-Seti (Lower Nubia), from the beginning of dynastic history, was Egypt’s first nome (Baines & Malek 1986, 15).

It may seem surprising, but there is a strong ancient tradition linking the white crown to Upper Nubia. In the first century BC, Diodorus Siculus (3.2.1–3.6) wrote that at the beginning of time the Egyptians and Nubians (‘Aithiopians’) were one people and that Osiris (i.e. their first king) came from ‘Aithiopia’ and colonized Egypt after it was created by the out-flowing Nile. This, he states, explains why Nubian and Egyptian customs are similar and why the kings of both countries wear ‘tall pointed felt hats ending in a knob’(Eide et al. 1996, 645). This story can be traced back to the early 18th Dynasty, when the Thutmosid pharaohs established their southern cultic frontier at Jebel Barkal, near the Fourth Cataract. This mountain is distinguished by a 75 m high pinnacle, in whose natural shape the Egyptians saw the vague features of a gigantic figure (i.e.Osiris) as well as a rearing uraeus (Nekhbet of el-Kab), both wearing the white crown. Because they also recognized the rock as an erect phallus, they believed they had discovered here the original mound of Creation — a Nubian Heliopolis and Karnak—and the birthplace and residence of the primeval ithyphallic Amun (= Min). Since the mountain lay in the extreme south, they identified its god as the source of the inundation and fertility. Since it was the perceived home of the southern uraeus (a southern el-Kab), they also believed it was the birthplace of the white crown. They thus built here an important coronation complex and Pr-wr (temple of Nekhbet) (Kendall 1997, 168–70; 2002; 2004). They simultaneously built Luxor (‘Southern Sanctuary’) as a Theban manifestation of Jebel Barkal in order to honour the same god and to perform the same coronations locally (Pamminger 1992; Kendall 2004). At the end of the New Kingdom the Amun priesthood at Thebes took away the right of the kings to rule the South. I am presently investigating a hypothesis that this may have been due to the fact that the pharaohs had lost control of Jebel Barkal and had allowed Nubia to become detached from Upper Egypt. The priesthood only willingly restored the white crown to a ruling family in the eighth century BC, when they recognized the Nubian kings of Kush as heirs to the imperial pharaohs by virtue of their renewed control of Jebel Barkal and their ability to reunite it with Karnak. Like the New Kingdom pharaohs, the 25th-Dynasty kings believed that through their control of Jebel Barkal they were heirs to the ‘kingship of Re’. It was this belief that drove the Egyptianizing Meroitic state in the Sudan for the next thousand years. The Jebel Barkal pinnacle is the largest freestanding monolith in the Nile Valley, and to superstitious ancient man its impact on the senses and imagination would have been enormous. When the Egyptians laid eyes on it in the early 18th Dynasty, they thought they had rediscovered the source of the white crown and the home of their first kings. Was this merely contrived history, or was this belief based on some genuine, possibly ancient Nubian tradition?

Surely the Nubians who greeted the Egyptians must have venerated this rock in similar ways, if ethnological parallels can be applied. Many modern animist peoples of the Sudan typically worship large phallic-shaped stones and identify them simultaneously with ancestors and totemic animals and consider them sources of fertility (Bell 1936; Bolton 1936).

Morkot (2000, p. 55) has shown that some Upper and Lower Nubian kings, independent of the pharaohs, were wearing the white crown at the time of the 11th–17th Dynasties. Is it possible that this practice, usually described as ‘emulating the pharaohs’, might actually be a native tradition going back to Qustul? The problem is that we have almost no pre-Egyptian Nubian representational art— or texts. However, a recently discovered Egyptian text from the tomb of Sobeknakht, governor of el-Kab in the late 17th Dynasty, recounts a massive Nubian invasion of Egypt as far north as el-Kab, apparently by the king of Kerma. Might this have been launched to extend that potentate’s ‘white crown’ control over Upper Egypt (Davies 2003)? Is it a coincidence that the territory over which Huy, Viceroy of Kush, later claimed administrative control extended from el-Kab to Jebel Barkal (Davies & Gardiner 1926, 11)?

A prehistoric Sudanese origin for the white crown may sound preposterous, but is it beyond possibility? The most important point made by Wilkinson in Genesis is that the climate in Upper Egypt was much wetter in the early fourth millennium BC. This implies that the farther south one went, the rainfall would have been greater, and the deserts more habitable. Greater rainfall would have meant higher inundations and better seasonal navigation of the Nile. Recent studies indicate that the great wadis of the northern Sudan were all major Nile tributaries at this time (see, for example, Keding in press; Fuller 1998). Communication would have been easier between north and south, which probably accounts for the striking cultural uniformity between Egypt and Nubia at this time (Wilkinson 1999, 176; Wengrow 2003b, 126–35). The similarity of style between the rock drawings of Upper Egypt and northern Sudan implies wide-ranging pastoralist peoples of similar backgrounds (Chittick 1962; Allard-Huard 1993; Paner 2003, 19, pl. 12), who probably all worshipped some form of Min (a god venerated, according to later Egyptian texts, from Upper Egypt to ‘Punt.’). Would it be so difficult to imagine that in the late fifth or early fourth millennium BC local herdsmen venerated the Jebel Barkal pinnacle was worshipped by surrounding herders both as a god’s phallus and as a divine ancestor in stone wearing a strange, very tall pointed headdress? If so, wouldn’t the leaders of these peoples have adopted a similar crown to show their descent from him? If the crown symbolized the god’s phallus, then the wearers of the crown would have been perceived as the bearers of the god’s fertility wherever they went. And if some of them roamed far north from Jebel Barkal—into Lower Nubia — with their herds (see Castiglioni & Castiglioni 2003, pl. XXXI), wouldn’t they have continued to worship the god in his tall sh.nt shrine, which duplicated the form of the mountain’s deified monolith? From there these symbols could have easily passed to the earliest rulers of Egypt.

If it seems improbable that an Egyptian crown would have its prehistoric origins in the Sudan, would it not be just as improbable to find there that an ancient Egyptian royal emblem had survived to modern times as a symbol of high political office? Visiting the Khalifa’s House Museum in Omdurman in January 2004, I saw a glass case containing some of the possessions of the Mahdi’s successor, the Khalifa Abdullahi el-Taishi (died 1899), who would have known nothing of the pharaohs. There, together with his Qur’ans, was his wooden staff: a classic was scepter!"

- Ends -

The idea that the Red Crown must have always been a "delta Nile Valley thing", comes from narratives setup to explain off scenes displayed on the Narmer Palette. This has often been invoked as events surrounding unification of the two lands; the delta region—represented by the Red crown, and upper Egypt—represented by the White crown. However, like Narmer, King Scorpion II—presumed to have preceded Narmer—also sported a Red crown in one scene, and a White one in another. Surely, this too could well be interpreted as relating events surrounding unification of the regions. If so, then this would have implied two major unification events, and thus along with it, weaken the 'Narmer as the first unifier' viewpoint. Some of course, have tried to work around the seemingly contradictory indicators, by suggesting that while the initiative and undertaking of bringing the said regions under a centralized polity may have began under rulers who proceeded Narmer, it culminated into Narmer's unification endeavor. From a personal viewpoint, this just goes to show the hypothetical nature of the narrative about not only Narmer being the absolute first unifier, but also the notion that the Red crown must have been the regalia of a lower Egyptian polity(s), while the White crown was that of the upper Egyptian rulers. The latter particularly seems to be so romanticized and attractive, that it is virtually repeated everywhere as though it were gospel truth, despite the fact of no predynastic Red crown regalia having ever showed up in lower Egypt, let alone predate the upper Egyptian examples of the same item. However, any idea that the Red crown may very well be ultimately upper Egyptian in origin [as preponderance of evidence as it stands, suggests] would require a relatively more complicated storyline than the aforementioned, which one imagines, lessens its appeal in some circles. Personally, not a single large royal tomb associated with any specific delta king assigned to a specific territory comes to mind, let alone an elaborate list of kings, tags implicating them or what have you.

On the question of the last point, a recent article posted by, titled "Not rivals but culturally united", followed by the attention-grabber of "Sensational discoveries by a Polish mission in the Nile Delta have revealed that far from being hostile regions as previously supposed, Upper and Lower Egypt were politically united in predynastic times, says Jill Kamil", noted:

"Now, thanks to the Polish discoveries, it is fairly certain that there were indeed two predynastic capitals of Upper and Lower Egypt."

This elicited the following response in a reader...

I also don't see where there were TWO capitals, as the article claims: "Now, thanks to the Polish discoveries, it is fairly certain that there were indeed two predynastic capitals of Upper and Lower Egypt. Fairly certain? Where? I see a well endowed northern location, flush with many material goods, but how does this make a "capital" or "state" of Lower Egypt? Am I missing something here? Indeed, it seems that several objects found relate to similar things inthe south like the carved dwarfs. And the Hed-Sed festival is very ancient, no doubt found south as well. - by forum discussant going by the moniker of "Zarahan".
Indeed, as the present author replied the discussant above, the article itself makes no specific mention of anything in way of tangible evidence, to my knowledge, that directly bespeaks centralized local state authority in the Delta, as we see in the Upper Egyptian areas.

For instance, we don't see record like this, as noted by the authors of said article themselves below, in the Delta areas prior to "unification":

However, archaeologists excavating at Abydos have found historical proof of the order of succession of the earliest kings of Pharaonic Egypt (inscribed on a clay seal), and also, in a predynastic and already heavily excavated cemetery, evidence of a possible 15 kings before Narmer (Menes/Aha), who stands at the beginning of recorded dynastic history.

Yet the mentioning of two supposed "capitals" might misleadingly insinuate that there was some sort of major centralized polity(s) in Lower Egypt which is somehow elicited or implicated by tangible evidence, when no such evidence exists or has been brought to light.

It looks like the notion of "two capitals" here was merely an inference made from an allusion to the "leading urban" centers, which according to said article, were supposedly gleaned from recent archaeological material findings; the author(s) of the article and/or proponents of the said "leading urban" centers figured that these centers must have had local authority respective to each and note, with attention to emphasis:

During the long predynastic era, different settlements (identified with totems) appear to have expanded their boundaries and begun to coalesce. Maybe some tribal groups gravitated towards larger ones and started to trade and barter with them. A process of assimilation took place. They became more dependent on one another, and there was a natural fusion into larger social units. Gradually the affairs of various villagers became **tied to a major settlement, which undoubtedly represented the richest and most powerful of them**. This is especially apparent at Nekhen near the modern town of Edfu, where there are five unusually large graves among the burials, and, as we now know, at Buto in the Delta.

To reiterate, the article provides no specific evidence about Delta Kings, their kings' list and large tombs, as noted, that we see in the case of upper Egypt, to suggest the existence of some major autonomous "capital" of the delta area, which was presumably that of centralized delta polity. The article however, does go onto reiterate some of the issues raised by previous observers, about possible cultural unification processes along the Nile Valley prior to first actual political unification and consolidation of a large area under the first of the Dynasties of the unified state of Egypt. One example of this from the article,...

"Cialowcz points out that before Upper Egyptians
entered the Delta, there were at least two centres that
rivalled them in every field. "Cultural unification
[which is observed in archaeological materials all
over Egypt, from Elephantine to the Mediterranean]
was not equal to political union."

As the present author had noted here, when the article was brought to attention...

What the authors of the present article were presumably driving at in their own way, is that Upper Egyptian and Delta polities competed with one another [as many nations still doregardless of "socio-economic" and "military" status, i.e. even between the stronger and the weaker states over natural resources and strategic trade routes] over gaining the upper hand in access to not just in situ Nile Valley [including as far as where Kush lay] natural resources and trade, but also strategic corridors to accessing trade and resources in the "Near East", while also gaining the upper hand in political clout. In the process, so reckons the article, there were cultural fusions that culturally unified the regions involved to some extent or another before actual conquest endeavors [primarily from the south] and political unification under a central authority, but that Upper Egyptian polities were more advantaged when it came to the socio-economic situation and political clout.

Even so, it goes onto say,

Cialowcz points out that before Upper Egyptians entered the Delta, there were at least two centres that rivalled them in every field. "Cultural unification [which is observed in archaeological materials all over Egypt, from Elephantine to the Mediterranean] was not equal to political union.


The thrust for expansion, and ultimate unification, came from the south.

...meaning that "the south" was more socio-economically advanced, giving it the upper hand to unite the general territory under a single centralized authority.

Recounting the present author's own postings back in 2005—in a discussion board, the following was raised, featuring different publishers/authors and evidently sporting themes about gradual cultural unification, as a side effect of trade and political relations along the Nile Valley prior to full unification into a single large state:

There is no question within academia, about the creation of a unified Egyptian nation state, the first central nation state, being the initiative of the Upper Egyptian establishment. However, there seem to have been differences in viewpoints as to how this came about. For instance, was it the culmination of military conquest of the Lower Nile Valley polity by the Upper Nile Valley polity...OR, was it a more peaceful and gradual process of Upper Egyptians moving northward, as a result of trade initiatives, resulting in the relations between the regions to grow into a unified state, with the more socio-economically developed Upper Egypt, and hence, its more powerful leadership having the advantage to rule over all lands?

Perhaps interesting questions for one to ponder!

In reply, a respondent wrote:  
It is possible that it was a combination of both, but the war and violence part we definitely have evidence of. 

Even the formation of each of the Two Lands had some sort of violence involved. Look at the glyphs of King Scorpion. There appeared to be conflict between Nekhen and Nakada as well as other city-states.
In response to the respondent, the present author wrote:

Agreed. Here is what Professor Kathryn Bard; Trustees of Boston University and the Journal of Field Archaeology, put together:

...Based on an analysis of archaeological evidence, the earliest writing in Egypt, and later king lists, Kaiser (1964: 118, 105-114) proposes that the Nagada culture expanded north in Nagada IIc-d times to sites in the Fayum region (such as the cemetery at Gerza), and then later to the Cairo area and the Delta. The unification, therefore, was much earlier than the period immediately preceding the beginning of the First Dynasty (Kaiser 1964: 114, 1985: 61-62, 1990: 288-289).

Trigger (1987: 61), however, states that if the unification occurred at an early date there would be archaeological evidence from Nagada III burials of a court-centered high culture. Instead, Trigger proposes that the northward expansion of the Nagada culture during Nagada II-III was the result of refugees emigrating from the developing states in the south, or the presence of Nagada traders involved in commerce with SW Asia. While the unification may have been achieved through conquest in the north, an earlier unification of southern polities (Nagada, Hierakonpolis, and Abydos), may have been achieved by a series of alliances (Trigger 1987: 61).
The eventual replacement of Maadi artifacts in the north by a material culture originating in the south may represent military exploits, while colonization by southerner may have occurred in northern regions where there were less well-developed local polities, as at Gerza or Minshat Abu Omar. Guksch (1991: 41) suggests that the Nagada IId ceramic horizon in Lower Egypt represents expanded Upper Egyptian trade into the NE Delta in late Nagada II times, with a (later) militarily-achieved political unification in Nagada III/dynasty 0 times. Possibly there was first a more or less peaceful (?) movement or migration(s) of Nagada culture peoples from south to north that may have been formalized by a later, or concurrent, military presence. A shift in settlement patterns is seen, and by the First Dynasty the north was much more densely inhabited than the south (Mortensen 1991: 24).
Archaeological evidence suggests a system much too complex for the southern expansion to be explained by military conquest alone, and the northern culture may have made important contributions to the unified polity which emerged (Seeher 1991: 318). One result of this expansion throughout northern Egypt would have been a greatly elaborated (state) administration, and by the beginning of the First Dynasty this was managed in part by the invention of writing, used on seals and tags affixed to state goods.

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