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Nubian cultures: A and C - Group

Several cultures are attested in Nubia in the fourth to second millennia BC. They are in general divided by their pottery styles. The A - Group is known from Lower Nubia (in the North to el-Kubaniya, north of Aswan) and in the South to the Second Cataract. The A - Group people produced pottery but seem to have had a semi-nomadic lifestyle (some agriculture, including sheep and geese). From the end phase there are some elite cemeteries known, indicating a more complex social structure than before. The pottery is often very fine ('eggshell ware') and it is handmade. Geometrical patterns incised on the surface are typical. The A - Group disappeared with the Old Kingdom (in Egypt) from Lower Nubia. The whole area seems to have largely uninhabited, though A- Group pottery at Buhen indicates continuing population on a least a small scale.

The C - Group appears in the late third millennium BC (about the time of the Sixth Dynasty in Egypt). It is found in about the same area as the A-Group from the late Third to mid-second millennium BC (about the time of the 6th to early 18th Dynasty in Egypt). There are only a few settlement sites known, showing the C - Group people lived in huts; later (in phase III), there were fortified settlements. In the Middle Kingdom Lower Nubia was occupied by the Egyptians. For the Second Intermediate Period there are many C - Group cemeteries in Egypt, indicating that Nubians lived and worked there. They seem to have been employed as soldiers.

C - Group pottery is decorated with geometrical patterns incised on the surface (click here for examples found at Buhen, and Rifeh). Other vessels are red brown in colour with a black top. The pottery is always handmade.

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