The Badarian culture provides the earliest direct evidence of agriculture in Upper Egypt. It flourished between 4500 to 3250 BCE, and might have already existed as far back as 5000 BCE. It was first identified in El-Badari, Asyut.

About forty settlements and six hundred graves have been located. Social stratification has been inferred from the burying of more prosperous members of the community in a different part of the cemetery. The Badarian economy was mostly based on agriculture, fishing and animal husbandry. Tools included end-scrapers, perforators, axes, bifacial sickles and concave-base arrowheads. Remains of cattle, dogs and sheep were found in the cemeteries. Wheat, barley, lentils and tubers were consumed.

The culture is known largely from cemeteries in the low desert. The deceased were placed on mats and buried in pits with their heads usually laid to the south, looking west. The pottery that was buried with them is the most characteristic element of the Badarian culture. It had been given a distinctive, decorative rippled surface.

Ancestral origins

The Badarian culture seems to have had multiple sources, of which the Western Desert was probably the most influential. Badari culture was probably not restricted to solely the Badari region, because related finds have been made farther to the south at Mahgar Dendera, Armant, Elkab and Nekhen (named "Hierakonpolis" by the Greeks) and to the east in the Wadi Hammamat.

Numerous anthropological studies were performed on Badarian crania after two successful excavations conducted in the mid- to late-1920s. The usual result was that the Badarians were African hybrids. Notably in 1971 Physical Anthropologist Eugen Strouhal re-analyzed over a dozen independent scientific studies (a couple of which were his own) performed previously and summarized their results to arrive at a similar conclusion: "mixture of races." Recent re-analyses of previous studies, including Professor Strouhal's paper, reveal that only West and South African skulls were included in the baseline for a determination of "true negro" though, while the typically elongated East African skull forms were disregarded, assumed not to indicate true blacks. Some recent studies additionally suggest a modal metric phentoype in Badarian crania that is much more similar to the Tropical African series than to the various other samples studied. [S.O.Y. Keita. "Early Nile Valley Farmers from El-Badari: Aboriginals or "European" Agro-Nostratic Immigrants? Craniometric Affinities Considered With Other Data". Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 191-208 (2005) [ Early Nile Valley Farmers from El-Badari] ]

Near the end of his paper (1971), Professor Strouhal further enumerated several archaeological studies that suggest a migration of culture, practice and belief from African regions located to the west and south of the Badarian sites. Strouhal's work is noted in a 2005 study of the Badari which concluded: "The Badarians show a greater affinity to indigenous Africans while not being identical. This suggests that the Badarians were more affiliatedwith local and an indigenous African population than with Europeans.It is more likely that Near Eastern/southern European domesticated animals and plants were adopted by indigenous Nile Valley people without a major immigration of non-Africans. There was more of cultural transfer." [S.O.Y. Keita. "Early Nile Valley Farmers from El-Badari" Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 191-208 (2005) [ Early Nile Valley Farmers from El-Badari] ]


External links

* [ Badarian Government and Religious Evolution]
* [ The Journal of African History]

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