Comparative Archaeological Study of Egyptian Predynastic Settlements (CASEPS)

Predynastic pottery fabric variation across a stratigraphic sondage at Nekhen, Hierakonpolis

Over the last 40 years, archaeological investigations in Egypt have gained a considerable amount of new data about the formative stage of ancient Egyptian civilisation, known as the Predynastic (c. IV millennium BC).

Predynastic pottery shape variation across a stratigraphic sondage at Nekhen, Hierakonpolis

Nevertheless, several key areas and issues, crucial for furthering our understanding of the mechanisms that gave rise to this early civilisation, still remain obscure: Predynastic settlement chronological and functional variability; how the process of state formation influenced the life of the inhabitants of the Nile Valley; dynamics of interaction between different cultural spheres extant in Egypt at this early stage.

This project seeks to shed light on these issues by using:

  • new unpublished archaeological data, especially concerning pottery, from two of the most significant Predynastic sites (Naqada and Hierakonpolis), whose long history covers also the important stages of state formation and consolidation in Egypt
  • latest published archaeological data from other coeval Egyptian sites, which will be integrated and systematically compared with primary data collected in field research
  • modern methodologies and approaches, poorly exploited or never applied to this research area, so far (e.g. quantitative, statistical and spatial analyses; intra- and cross-regional comparative approach; use of models and concepts from anthropology and the social sciences)

A better comprehension of the mechanisms that gave rise to the ancient Egyptian civilisation will also have value at a global archaeological level, providing a source of comparisons and contrasts for early civilisations in other world regions.

Related outputs

Conferences and Presentations
  • 16 March 2015. Lecture: “Egyptian State Formation and Interregional Contacts: Naqada in Context”. Spring Seminar Series hosted by the London Centre for the Ancient Near East, School of Oriental and African Studies, London.
  • 8 January 2015. Lecture: "Patterns of change within Egyptian Predynastic settlement ceramics. The stratigraphic sondage at Nekhen 10N5W, Hierakonpolis". BANEA 2015 Conference, hosted by the London Centre for the Ancient Near East, University College London, School of Oriental and African Studies, and the British Museum, London.
  • 9-12 April 2014. Poster: “The ‘CASEPS’ Project. Integrating and comparing archaeological evidence on Egyptian Predynastic settlements”. Conference “Current Research in Egyptology XV. Ancient Egypt in a Global World” held at the University College London and King’s College, London.
  • 30 January 2014. Lecture: “The ‘CASEPS’ Project. Ancient Egyptian state formation from a settlement viewpoint”. Seminar “From Neolithisation to state formation in Egypt: Introducing two new UCL research projects” hosted by the “Material Cultures of Prehistoric and Dynastic Egypt Research Network” at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, London.
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