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Landscape change in the Nile Delta during the fourth millennium BC: a new perspective on the Egyptian Predynastic and Protodynastic periods

Landscape change in the Nile Delta during the fourth millennium BC: a new perspective on the Egyptian Predynastic and Protodynastic periods
Landscape change in the Nile Delta during the fourth millennium BC: a new perspective on the Egyptian Predynastic and Protodynastic periods
The role environmental change may have played at the dawn of Egyptian history has been overlooked in comparison with other periods. Natural landscape changes taking place in the Nile Delta are argued here to have been a facilitating factor allowing, and possibly stimulating, socioeconomic changes leading to the “Lower Egyptian – Naqada Transition” (LE-NT, c. 3350 BC). In this context the LE-NT may be understood in terms of regional elites using newly agrarian delta lands as an agricultural resource and trade route, with the emerging capital, Memphis, ideally situated. We argue (almost counter-intuitively) that a natural reduction in overall landscape productivity led to agricultural intensification through a positive feedback loop. This may have laid the foundations for the emergence of a more unified Egyptian state beginning c. 3100 BC. Through this analysis we argue for the incorporation of the environment as an integral component of change narratives of Predynastic Egypt.
Lower Egypt, Predynastic, Landscape, Geoarchaeology, Primary Productivity, Primary State
1470-1375
550-565
Pennington, Benjamin T.
e4bbad98-914c-4e9b-958d-54f5f87422b2
Wilson, Penelope
9d4ba26c-e1de-4646-aeff-9259fc939144
Sturt, Fraser
442e14e1-136f-4159-bd8e-b002bf6b95f6
Brown, Antony G.
c51f9d3e-02b0-47da-a483-41c354e78fab
Pennington, Benjamin T.
e4bbad98-914c-4e9b-958d-54f5f87422b2
Wilson, Penelope
9d4ba26c-e1de-4646-aeff-9259fc939144
Sturt, Fraser
442e14e1-136f-4159-bd8e-b002bf6b95f6
Brown, Antony G.
c51f9d3e-02b0-47da-a483-41c354e78fab

Pennington, Benjamin T., Wilson, Penelope, Sturt, Fraser and Brown, Antony G. (2020) Landscape change in the Nile Delta during the fourth millennium BC: a new perspective on the Egyptian Predynastic and Protodynastic periods. World Archaeology, 52 (4), 550-565. (doi:10.1080/00438243.2020.1864463).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The role environmental change may have played at the dawn of Egyptian history has been overlooked in comparison with other periods. Natural landscape changes taking place in the Nile Delta are argued here to have been a facilitating factor allowing, and possibly stimulating, socioeconomic changes leading to the “Lower Egyptian – Naqada Transition” (LE-NT, c. 3350 BC). In this context the LE-NT may be understood in terms of regional elites using newly agrarian delta lands as an agricultural resource and trade route, with the emerging capital, Memphis, ideally situated. We argue (almost counter-intuitively) that a natural reduction in overall landscape productivity led to agricultural intensification through a positive feedback loop. This may have laid the foundations for the emergence of a more unified Egyptian state beginning c. 3100 BC. Through this analysis we argue for the incorporation of the environment as an integral component of change narratives of Predynastic Egypt.

Text
PENNINGTON_Landscape_Change_Nile_Delta_New_Perspective_Predynastic_Protodynastic - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 10 June 2022.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 10 December 2020
Published date: 2020
Additional Information: Funding Information: Two anonymous reviewers are thanked for their helpful suggestions on the manuscript. The research was supported by the Department of Geography & Environmental Science at the University of Southampton; BTP also acknowledges the support of the Egypt Exploration Society. Funding Information: This work was supported by the University of Southampton, Geography & Environmental Science [PhD Studentship]. Two anonymous reviewers are thanked for their helpful suggestions on the manuscript. The research was supported by the Department of Geography & Environmental Science at the University of Southampton; BTP also acknowledges the support of the Egypt Exploration Society. Publisher Copyright: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Keywords: Lower Egypt, Predynastic, Landscape, Geoarchaeology, Primary Productivity, Primary State

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 446012
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/446012
ISSN: 1470-1375
PURE UUID: 4f630fb2-3a14-4b6a-a807-68187965e6c9
ORCID for Benjamin T. Pennington: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9969-8140
ORCID for Antony G. Brown: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1990-4654

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Jan 2021 17:30
Last modified: 27 Nov 2021 02:55

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Contributors

Author: Penelope Wilson
Author: Fraser Sturt
Author: Antony G. Brown ORCID iD

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