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Predynastic culture of Lower Egypt, about 4000 - 3500 (contemporary with Naqada I - IIb)

The Maadi culture is named after the settlement Maadi near Cairo.

Maadi and the nearby cemetery were excavated 1930 to 1953 by Mustafa Amer, Oswald Menghin and Ibrahim Rizkana on behalf of Cairo University.

Domesticated animals:

cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs; the earliest known example of a donkey

Burial customs

The cemeteries are located some distance from the settlement; only infant burials were within a settlement, the bodies placed in vessels or directly into pits. The adult dead are buried in oval graves in a contracted position with the hand in front of the face. While the orientation of the dead in earlier graves shows no regular pattern, the dead are laid later always with the head to the south, the body on the right side. The graves have only a few goods.


All pots are shaped by hand. The clay has always a dark hue. Some large storage jars were found in the settlements. There are a few black-topped red pots (indicating contact with the south- Naqada) and many imported vessels from Palestine.

There are many black basalt stone vessels.


Copper seems to be quite common; some copper adzes were found.


The Maadi culture seems to have its origins in the other cultures of Lower Egypt (Fayum Neolithic, Merimde Beni-salame, el-Omari).

Further reading:

  • Kaiser 1985: 61-70/ Kaiser 1987 (on finds of the Maadi culture/northern cultures south of the Delta)
  • Seeher 1990 (an detailed introduction in German with summary in English and French)
  • Seeher 1999 (a short introduction)




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