Blog Post #1: Narmer Palette, Scorpion Macehead, and Archaeological Interpretations

This first blog post relates to the understanding of how the history is reconstructed from what is found of archaeological remains, specifically that which is found on them. It is interesting how one can infer so much from such little details on small items found buried in the ground for centuries upon centuries. With more recent histories it is extremely simple in comparison as there is a translations of written documents as states began to develop non-pictograph related writing styles along with more detailed recorded histories than per-dynastic and dynastic Egyptians.

The first portion of this post pertains to the per-dynastic findings of bowls and grinding stones within the settlement camps discussed in class, as well as those found in burial sites. It is sort of mind blowing that we can infer the shift from hunter gatherers to more sedentary lifestyles simply from these remains. As for the complexity of societies, the comparison of upper Egyptian and lower Egyptian complexity via ceramics seemed really interesting. Mainly with the thought that different styles can be seen that home remedy fixes or creations were used depending on economic worth. In relation to economic worth it also caught my interest in how the variation in economic worth grew as communities became semi-sedentary.

Returning to the topic of the Narmer Palette is one we have recently learned about in lecture. The palette’s use of hieroglyphs to explain what is considered to be a story about the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt.  Due to what is found on the palette the inference that under a person of great importance (Narmer) will came the assimilation of Lower Egypt with that of Upper Egypt. The Scorpion Macehead is the same concept that is incredibly interesting. The interesting difference  with the Macehead is that these inferences can be coherently created despite the remains being minimal. Regardless of the missing pieces of the story, the past is retold through the pictures.

It may not seem impressive to everyone, however it is pretty intriguing to me to compare it to historical research of the modern and per-renaissance eras since that is most of what I have studied so far. Those works simply require a knowledge of the language, and most of the work discovered is largely intact to a degree instead of suffering centuries of weathering from natural elements. It is just  that I found it somewhat impressive that these archaeologists can come to conclusions and create reconstructions from such limited materials  compared to something that else that I have previously learned about.

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