Social Complexity

I really enjoyed how multiple times Kohler talked about the social makeup of Early Egyptian civilization.  I have a huge interest in how people lived before our time.  Since this time period lacks a understandable written language it makes it challenging for scholars to understand how people functioned day to day.  Kohler simply takes us through her interpretation of how Egypt became one kingdom.

In the beginning people were most likely nomadic and the typical layout of these small groups of people had very little complexity with status.  In most societies the oldest members are considered more wise and therefore more respected.  The settling in a location allowed for the people to specialize in certain activities.  Kohler writes that increasing social segmentation is possibly indicated by specialized activities (pg 43).  This is a reasonable prediction given that the people are settled and are able to make a legacy for themselves that doesn’t have to do with hunting and gathering.  As people began to create names for themselves, leadership positions become important and respected similar to that of elders. Although the author did not address this point I do believe she would somewhat agree.

As groups of people became more populated in a location, a new and more defined society evolved.  Kohler describes it as one that has more access, control, and distribution of resources in the hands of high-status people, the elites (pg 43).  Those traits create what many refer to as a chiefdom society.   Once this society has been formed it seems like it would only take a few generations for one family to takeover the populated location and then gradually increase the size of the region controlled.

I found it remarkable that in the south, chiefdom societies were so popular.  The popularity is evident because of the large tomb sizes and the types of goods found within them.  A good example of this is the extremely large U-j tomb from Abydos that had hundreds of imported wine bottles form Syria-Palestine (pg 44). Both characteristics suggest that the owner of the tomb was wealthy, highly respected and powerful.

I am disappointed that not more was discussed about the day to day atmosphere of these societies but not much can really be configured since much of the information is based off of basic artifacts.  I hope that more information of the daily life of the people will be discussed as a written language increases in popularity.

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