Ancient Egypt / Cities and Villages /
Predynastic and prehistoric site of Ancient Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile, about 25 km north of Thebes (modern Luxor).
Naqada has its fame from its rich remains dating back almost 2000 years prior to the dynastic ages of Egypt. The quantity of finds has enabled researchers to date cultural periods of prehistoric times.
The prehistoric town was known as Nubt, meaning "Gold town". It thrived from local ores of precious minerals.
For a length of 3 km along the border of the cultivable fields, a number of cemeteries and settlements are found. There is even the remains of a small step-pyramid more ancient than Zoser's step-pyramid at Saqqara.
While burial grounds in later Egyptian history involved the highest sophistication, graves at Naqada were originally simple. The dead were put in holes in the ground in a foetal position, often wrapped in an animal skin.
Seth, the god of disorder, had his cult centre at Naqada.
To Naqada, 3 stages of cultural development have been defined, starting around 4400 BCE. The period 4400-4000 is often referred to as Badarian (330 km along the Nile north of Naqada), referring to finds at Badari in the transitional zone between Upper and Lower Egypt, but it also common to consider Badarian culture as a local forerunner of the Naqada.
Naqada-cultures were not the only cultures of Egypt at the time. Similar cultures, especially in the north, like at Maadi, existed and came also to have influence and represent continuity into historical Egypt.
Naqada 1 (Amratian)
The other name of this period, is named after the cemetery near El-Amrah.
The period is noted for its black-topped and painted pottery. Black-topped pottery was, however, more common at Badari, and would gradually grow less popular through Naqada 1.
This culture dominated an area from Matmar in the north (south of modern Minya) and Khor Bahan (south of Aswan).
One interesting characteristic of Naqada 1, is that war and hunt is represented on ceramics and other objects as a dual theme.
There are only few and very poor remains of dwellings from this period. Houses are believed to have been built from a mixture of mud, wood and reed. The only surviving structure from this period has been found at Hierakonpolis.
Naqada 2 (Gerzean)
This period is named after the grave at Gerzeh which contained 57 richly equipped graves built by mud-brick. It is noted for the first marl pottery, usually with ochre-brown paintings on beige background. Motifs were either geometrical or representational. The most popular depiction with representational art were boats.
The period is also noted for its metalworking, especially with copper. Through Naqada 2, copper tools replaced stone tools. Also silver and gold became increasingly used.
During Naqada 2, the macehead changed from disc-shaped to pear-shaped and also developed into a symbol of power. Throughout pharaonic Egypt it would be the king's weapon.
Naqada 2 is a culture which seems to have spread all across Egypt, apparently by conquest or the establishment of military and trade strongholds.
It was during Naqada 2 that the techniques of working both soft and hard stones were developed, techniques which would be of central importance during Ancient Egyptian civilizations.
This culture advanced both south and north from the area of Naqada 1. It reached the eastern edge of the Nile Delta and the Nubian territories, represented by what is referred to as Nubian A Group.
In this period, graves become better equipped. Often, multiple burials were used, sheltering up to 5 individuals.
The South Town of Naqada became the most advanced of Egypt's towns, fortified by walls, and a large mud-brick structure measuring 30 times 50 metres was built here, possibly a royal palace.
This period is belongs to the times of the emerging civilization of Ancient Egypt, the state building and the development of a complex culture. The period corresponds to what is also called the pre-dynastic period, but Naqada 3 is construction to explain culture, and not politics, although the two may well be linked.
In this period, graves become richer, containing more elaborate grave goods. It is also noted for its cylindrical jars and one sees the emergence of the art of writing.
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