Egyptian Timeline:

Prehistoric and Predynastic Periods (pre-3100 B.C.)


Prehistoric and Predynastic Periods First Intermediate Period The Middle Kingdom Second Intermediate Period New Kingdom Third Intermediate Period Late Period Graeco-Roman Period Byzantine Period Early Dynastic Period Old Kingdom
There is evidence of human activity in northeastern Africa since the Middle Pleistocene Period. By the Middle and Upper Paleolithic, between 90,000 to 10,000 years ago, there was a gradual movement of hunter-gatherer populations into the prehistoric Nile Valley and the drying lake and savannah regions of the Eastern Sahara precipitated by climatic changes. Traces of these early peoples survive in the forms of stone tools and rock carvings on the higher terraces along the Nile (including the western Theban plateau) and in the oases. As the nomadic hunter-gatherers came to settle along the edges of the Nile Valley, a transition to a settled lifestyle dependent on agriculture took place.
Names for the various phases of Neolithic cultures were once based on type-sites where typical artifacts were first classified. For the Predynastic Period, the chronological/material culture divisions Badarian, Amratian, and Gerzean have been replaced and redefined as Naqada I, II, and III. These cultures developed in Upper Egypt and were roughly contemporary with but materially different from Neolithic cultures located in the Nile Delta and typified by such type-sites as Ma'adi and Marimdah, as well as in the Fayyum and at al Omari. There seems to have been a gradual influx of Upper Egyptian Neolithic material into Lower Egypt as well as into Nubia.
Relations with neighboring peoples to the south, west and northeast of Egypt included both trade and warfare.
Pit graves were common throughout the Nile Valley, particularly in Upper Egypt (sites excavated in Lower Egypt are predominantly settlement sites), but gradually came to be replaced by more regular, rectangular chambers cut into bedrock and covered with small mounds of debris and, later, of mud-brick. Numerous grave goods indicate a belief in an afterlife and their uneven distribution in cemeteries already points to a stratified society [17433]. In the Theban area evidence of Naqada I and II structures and graves have been found at the site of at Tarif. 17433
Published or last modified on: August 23, 2002
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