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Two views on the political unity of the areas where Naqada culture is attested

1. The Naqada culture was always a political united state

Werner Kaiser (Kaiser 1990) remarks besides other things that Egypt since Early Naqada III was culturally united, with only some local differences. This cultural unity might already indicate political unification. The expansion of the Naqada culture might therefore indicate the growth of an early state.

2. Different (city) states in Naqada I-III

The following reconstruction of the political development is based on an article by Toby Wilkinson (Wilkinson 2000).

The author examined the important Naqada cemeteries looking for elite tombs for each period and place. Elite tombs are defined either by size or special finds. Their occurrence is a clear sign for social differences, which might indicate that there was some ruling 'class' with their subjects, buried in smaller tombs.

For Naqada I there are four cemeteries with elite tombs, (Hierakonpolis, Naqada, Hu/Diospolis Parva, This/Abydos) which might indicate four centres of power (Gebelein is badly recorded, but might have been a fifth)

In mid Naqada II there are no elite tombs attested at Hu/Diospolis Parva. The place might have been conquered by the rulers from Abydos.

In early Naqada III the largest elite tombs also disappear at Naqada and Gebelein seems to become less important. On the other hand there are important tombs in Nubia (Sayala, Qustul).

In late Naqada III the Naqada culture is attested throughout Egypt. There are several urban centres with cemeteries and elite tombs. These places might have been capitals of small kingdoms. At this stage writing and the first names of kings appear.

At the beginning of the First Dynasty Egypt is a united state, with Memphis as probably the largest urban centr, judging from the extent of the nearby cemetery fields on both sides of the Nile, at Saqqara (West Bank) and Helwan (East Bank).



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