Mon, 21 January 2013
Dynasty 1: King Narmer and the Unification
There are some new kids on the block. Communities are beginning to connect with each other beyond trade or fighting: a greater sense of connection is coming to be.
How, and why?
The answer is revealed to us through a person, a place, and a god.
The person - Narmer - is a king whose appearance in the iconographic record sets the ball rolling for the Egyptian kingdom as we know it.
The place - Nekhen - is one of the country's earliest royal centres. With a large population, a complex urban layout, and a very impressive amount of industrial productivity, Nekhen dominates our archaeological record. It reveals personalities and practices, people and gods.
The god - Horus - is Nekhen's chief deity. One day, Horus will be the symbol of the king, a god whose power, range and grace is synonymous with authority, might and piety.
All this and more as Egypt's people begin to form something new: a unified kingdom.
Major sites of this episode. Full resolution here.
The Narmer Palette in line-drawing. At left, the King wears the White Crown; at right, the Red Crown. At bottom right, the King destroys a town, in the form of a Bull.
An artist's representations of the two crowns in life. However, the geographical associations can only be observed from c. 2500 onwards, 500 years after the country became a united kingdom.
King Scorpion in the White Crown, acting as a farmer.
The earliest representation of the Red Crown, discovered in a community of Upper Egypt. The pottery ware is distinct black-and-red Badarian, a Southern community whose influence spread through the country around 3600 BCE. (Source: Wikipedia).
The burnt house of a Nekhenite potter (Source: Hierakonpolis Online).
The archaeological zone of Hierakonpolis (blue = fertile lad; pink = desert).
Robert J. Wenke, The Ancient Egyptian State, 2009.
David Wengrow, The Archaeology of Early Egypt, 2006.
John Romer, A History of Egypt from the First Farmers to the Great Pyramid, 2013.
Toby Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, 2001.