The part of the reading that I found to be most interesting this week was the State Formation and Unification section in the second reading. This section of the reading discusses the unification of Egypt, from the Delta to the First Cataract. Although, archaeologists are not 100% sure how this unification occurred, it is estimated that it was completed by the late Naqada II or late Naqada III times. However, it has been determined by evidence found in burial sites that were excavated that Naqada culture expansion northward did take place during the Naqada II times.
Two aspects of the unification of Egypt that I would like to discuss in this blog post are socio-political processes and warfare. The socio-political process behind the Naqada culture expansion is one aspect of the unification process that can not be explained by the evidence found at burial sites. It is clear that the “highly differentiated Naqada II graves at cemeteries in Upper Egypt, and not in Lower Egypt, are probably symbolic of an increasingly hierarchical society” (105). This means that the differentiated Naqada II graves found in cemeteries such as, Cemetery T at Naqada, may be an example of competition between members of this society as a result of the emergence of socio-political processes.
Warfare is thought to have played a significant role in the final stages of Egypt’s unification process. Carved artifacts that have been dated back to the late Predynastic era present scenes of warfare and/or its aftermath. The most famous of these artifacts is the Narmer Palette, which illustrates a “victorious king, dead enemies, and vanquished peoples or towns” (106). It is alliance building associated with warfare is what is thought to have assisted in the unification process. Evidence of alliance building can be seen by the lack of high status burials at Naqada in Naqada III times which suggests that Naqada’s power “waned” which formed some kind of alliance. In conclusion, archaeological evidence suggests that both socio-political process and warfare played a part in the unification of Egypt.