Nubia Birthed Egypt

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Closed
Jan 2012
4
#1
A recent publication from Maria Gatto (Yale) details the origins of both Nile Valley civilizations:

Conclusion
To sum up, Nubia is Egypt’s African ancestor. What linked Ancient Egypt to the rest of the North African cultures is this strong tie with the Nubian pastoral nomadic lifestyle, the same pastoral background commonly shared by most of the ancient Saharan and modern sub-Saharan societies. Thus, not only did Nubia have a prominent role in the origin of Ancient Egypt, it was also a key area for the origin of the entire African pastoral tradition.
link

The National Geographic also dedicated a page to Egypt's origins on their webpage which was written by S.O.Y. Keita a couple of years earlier which correlates with Gatto:

The Neolithic cultures in northern Egypt show evidence over time of varying contacts, with Saharan influences the most dominant. In the case of food procurement, ancestral Egyptians living on Lake Fayum added to their tradition of foraging by raising Near Eastern domesticated plants (wheat and barley) and animals (sheep and goats). Domesticated cattle came from the Sahara but may also have come from the Near East. Considering that wheat and barley agriculture was practiced in Asia (the Near East) 2,000 years before it was in Egypt, it is important to note that the early Egyptian way of life did not change abruptly at this time (around 5000 B.C.), which is what one would expect if Egypt had simply been peopled by farmers migrating from the Near East. These early Egyptians incorporated the new food stuffs and techniques—and likely some people—into their culture and society on their own terms. The major features of cultural and political development that led to dynastic Egypt originated in southern Egypt during what is called the predynastic period. Some evidence suggests that predynastic Egyptian and early Nubian cultures had ties to the early Saharan cultures and shared a Saharo-Nilotic heritage. Perhaps the earliest predynastic culture, the Badarian-Tasian* (4400 B.C. or earlier, to 4000 B.C.), had the clearest ties to Saharan cultures in the desert west of Nubia.
link

This is interesting because since the interest in Nile Valley civilizations and particularly Egypt, for false racial reasons Nubia was seen as the less accomplished "black" neighboring civilization to the south and as such was shunned for centuries by Western historians. In reality both civilizations were of the same Saharan-Nilotic African origins, which would logically mean that both were black. A recent NYtimes article makes mention of these racist inaccuracies:

More recently, our own Western prejudices — namely the idea that geographic Egypt was not a part of “black” Africa have contributed to the dearth of knowledge about Nubia. The early-20th-century archaeologist George Reisner, for instance, identified large burial mounds at the site of Kerma as the remains of high Egyptian officials instead of those of Nubian kings. (Several of Reisner’s finds are in the show, reattributed to the Nubians.)


In one of his catalog essays the archaeologist Geoff Emberling, who conceived the show along with Jennifer Chi of the institute, examines some of these historical errors.



“We now recognize that populations of Nubia and Egypt form a continuum rather than clearly distinct groups,” Mr. Emberling writes, “and that it is impossible to draw a line between Egypt and Nubia that would indicate where ‘black’ begins.
link

Of course the issue of the race of early Nile Valley populations (particularly Egyptians) has been discussed and pretty much settled for about the last two decades now. Perhaps the most cited study by contemporary researchers comes from Keita 93':

This review has addressed several issues regarding the biological affinities of the ancient inhabitants of the northern Nile valley. The morphological metric, morphometric, and non metric studies demonstrate immense overlap with tropical variants. General scholars must understand that a "shift in paradigm" from "Negro"-only-as-African has occurred, just as Nordic-only-as-European was never accepted.

Actually, it was always biologically wrong to view the Broad phenotype as representative of the only authentic "African," something understood by some nineteenth century writers. Early Nile valley populations are best viewed as part of an African descent group or lineage with tropical adaptations and relationships. This group is highly variable, as would be expected. Archaeological data also support this position, which is not new.

Over time, gene flow (admixture) did occur in the Nile valley from Europe and the Near East, thus also giving "Egyptians" relationship with those groups. This admixture, if it had occurred by Dynasty I, little affected the major affinity of southern predynastic peoples as illustrated here. As indicated by the analysis of the data in the studies reviewed here, the southern predynastic peoples were Saharo-tropical variants.


SOURCE: S. O. Y. Keita, "Studies and Comments on Ancient Egyptian Biological Relationships," History in Africa 20 (1993) 129-54
So with all of the above being pointed out, I would like to ask the following questions:

1) Shouldn't Nubia's detrimental role in the development of World civilization become more recognized by the media (Nat Geo, Discovery ect)?

2) If Egypt and Nubia were clearly of the same biological and cultural origins then why do some people assert that one was "definitely" black and the other was some unknown very dark skinned "Caucasoid" race? Logically wouldn't both biologically indistinguishable neighboring tropical African populations both be black?

3) How much mainstream contemporary evidence does a theory have to have before it is no longer considered "fringe" (or in this case "Afrocentric) and accepted and presented to masses (via the media) as mainstream?
 
Mar 2012
2,277
#2
I watched a Skip Gates program the other day in which he was saying that the Sudanese government wants to build another hydroelectirc dam that would flood the old Kerma area. This, of course, after Lake Nasser has already destroyed lower Nubia.

Damn shame. A lot of history is going to be lost.

What you are saying has always made a lot of sense to be. It is factual that Egypt was united from the South, and that letters and architecture also come from the South. The Qustul finds say a lot for the cultural links between Lower Nubia and Upper Egypt. And lets be honest that the extant images of a lot of those early pharohs don't look caucasion, or even Semetic. They look Nubian.

But the "afrocentric" community does their cause no favors by trying to insist that the inhabitants of lower Egypt were also "black" or "nubian" and that waves of conquerors altered them when we know that they were 90% genetically related to the inhabitants today. Nor do they do themselves any good trying to claim historical figures like Cleopatra, who we know was a Macedonian/Persian, or by pushing the Stolen legacy/Black Athena idea when there is no extant writing that proves that Greek philosophy was influenced by Egypt.

Don't get me started on black Olmecs, black Chinese, black Indians, etc.

Its a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. No one listens to very reasonable claims backed by evidence becasue there are so many wild ones out there.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2011
4,405
#3
I think the problems start cropping up when somehow the Egyptians in the Delta are questioned in being sufficiently "Egyptian" for some.

There's a problem with the preservation situation in the Delta as well. There is a kind of archeological "preservation bias" in favour of Upper Egypt as well.

Also the article does seem to take care to point out that the pastoralist society that spawned Egypt wasn't exclusively a Nubian business. Even the most unadventurous Egyptologist account of the origin of the Egyptians tend to point out that all of the Sahara shared the same subsistance pattern and people started congregating in the Nile Valley as that becamse untenable.

It's this possible at least implicit pitting of "Nubian" Egyptians against, well, some other kind of Egyptians, that tends to cause trouble. I have seen few of late NOT being on board with Egypt being an African civilisation, for a certain pretty unspecified value of African in fact. It's there, in the conception of African specificity, or not, that a lot of the trouble tends to stick. I.e. do we accept that not just is there a Nubian origin for the ancient Egyptians, but also a Libyan one, both of which were African? Consensus these days is that population from rest of the Middle East to the east weren't much involved in the peopleing of Egypt.
 

diddyriddick

Former Staff
May 2009
14,692
A tiny hamlet in the Carolina Sandhills
#7
Jul 2012
446
Michigan, USA.
#8
Although I tend to shirk away on topics relating to the "race" Egyptians belong to, not much is known about Africa. In general. Most people never have even heard of Nubia, much less its place in history which seems to grow alongside its studies and archeology. I would not be shocked if Nubia played a major role in how Egypt was born and shaped. In that light, if it be true, than Nubia certainly should be placed alongside Greece, Olmec, and Sumer in terms of its job as a proginate civilization.
 
Feb 2010
4,814
Canary Islands-Spain
#10
A recent publication from Maria Gatto (Yale) details the origins of both Nile Valley civilizations:

link

The National Geographic also dedicated a page to Egypt's origins on their webpage which was written by S.O.Y. Keita a couple of years earlier which correlates with Gatto:

link

This is interesting because since the interest in Nile Valley civilizations and particularly Egypt, for false racial reasons Nubia was seen as the less accomplished "black" neighboring civilization to the south and as such was shunned for centuries by Western historians. In reality both civilizations were of the same Saharan-Nilotic African origins, which would logically mean that both were black. A recent NYtimes article makes mention of these racist inaccuracies:

link

Of course the issue of the race of early Nile Valley populations (particularly Egyptians) has been discussed and pretty much settled for about the last two decades now. Perhaps the most cited study by contemporary researchers comes from Keita 93':

So with all of the above being pointed out, I would like to ask the following questions:

1) Shouldn't Nubia's detrimental role in the development of World civilization become more recognized by the media (Nat Geo, Discovery ect)?

2) If Egypt and Nubia were clearly of the same biological and cultural origins then why do some people assert that one was "definitely" black and the other was some unknown very dark skinned "Caucasoid" race? Logically wouldn't both biologically indistinguishable neighboring tropical African populations both be black?

3) How much mainstream contemporary evidence does a theory have to have before it is no longer considered "fringe" (or in this case "Afrocentric) and accepted and presented to masses (via the media) as mainstream?


I agree on some points:

1. On the importance of Nubia
2. On the fundamental Nilotic origin of Egyptian civillization


But you went too far with the "black" element. First, I'm very tired of oversimplicafication of "black race" that many people in the US do, specially afrocentrists, who only inherited racist theorist of 19th century Europeans. It would be nice that Afro-Americans in the US became freed of this racist ideology. There is not a Black Race, but a huge diversity of peoples in Africa, some of them more darker than others. I could accept gross phisical generalizations, but never a single and monolithic Black Race: the black peoples from Eastern Africa are certainlly different from those of Western Africa.


This clear, there were black people in Egypt. In fact, burials from Upper Egypt (early dynasties) have proved that the dominant class on the country was alike to Nubian and Ethiopian peoples, Eastern Black Africans if you want. But not so much the lower class, highly Mediterranean. After 2000 BC, they were fully mixed. In spite of that fact, Egypt ruled Nubia, and Nubia ruled Egypt on the coming ages, proving that they had a very close relation, for sure.

Lower Egypt remains, on the other hand, show little or no trace of this Nubian elements, the area being fully populated by Mediterranean peoples since the beginning.
 
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