Phase 5 (Naqada IIIb–IIIc1) in Tell El-Farkha. The Peak of Development or the Beginning of Decline?
Keywords:Egypt, Tell el-Farkha, Naqada, Protodynastic, Iry-Hor, Narmer
The research at Tell el-Farkha provides new opportunities to reconstruct the processes of Egyptian state formation. Seven main chronological phases are distinguished. One of the most important periods in the city’s history is phase 4 (Naqada IIIA–Naqada IIIB; ca. 3350–3200 BC). An administrative-cultic centre, a monumental warehouse, and the oldest Egyptian mastaba were created during this time. The inhabitants of Tell el- Farkha owed their prosperity to the trade with the Southern Levant. During phase 5 (Naqada IIIB to Naqada IIIC1; ca. 3200–3000 BC) several phenomena are evident that portended the gradual decline of the city, eventually leading to its abandonment. No evidence of major storage facilities has so far been discovered at Tell el-Farkha from phase 5, and imported pottery is also absent in this period. It seems that at the beginning of the Protodynastic period the Egyptians gradually abandoned the trade routes running through the eastern Delta and used new ones leading via Wadi Tumilat or across the Red Sea. The engravings in Wadi Ameyra (Sinai) with the names of Iry-Hor, Ka, and Narmer suggest that exploration of the natural resources of the Sinai and the maritime routes to Egypt were highly important. In this situation only a few imported products would have reached cities like Tell el-Farkha, which may explain the lack of both central warehouses and imported ceramics. Natural disasters also contributed significantly to the decline of Tell el-Farkha. The abandonment of the Western Kom, at the end of phase 5, clearly followed a major catastrophe caused by natural forces. The collapsed walls may be the result of this cataclysm. Evidence of a natural catastrophe that struck the settlement at the turn of our phases 5 and 6 can be found at the Eastern Kom as well.
Adams B. 1995. Ancient Nekhen: Garstang in the City of Hierakonpolis (Egyptian Studies Association Publication 3). New Malden.
Amiran R. 1974. An Egyptian Jar Fragment with the Name of Narmer from Arad, IEJ 24/1, 4–12.
Bourriau J. 1981. Umm el-Qaab: Pottery from the Nile Valley before the Arab Conquest. Cambridge.
Chłodnicki M. 2012. Protodynastic, Early Dynastic and Old Kingdom Settlement on the Central Kom. In M. Chłodnicki et al. (eds), 105–114.
Chłodnicki M., Ciałowicz K.M. and Mączyńska A. (eds) 2012. Tell el-Farkha I: Excavations 1998–2011. Poznań–Kraków.
Chłodnicki M., Fattovich R. and Salvatori S. 1991. Italian Excavations in the Nile Delta: Fresh Data and New Hypothesis on the 4th Millennium Cultural Development of Egyptian Prehistory. Rivista di Archeologia 15, 5–33.
Chłodnicki M. and Mączyńska A. 2018. Central Storage Devices from the Central Kom at Tell el-Farkha. In K.M. Ciałowicz et al. (eds), 81–90.
Ciałowicz K.M. 2011. Fantastic Creatures and Cobras from Tell el-Farkha, SAAC 15, 11–27.
Ciałowicz K.M. 2012a. Early Egyptian Objects of Art. In M. Chłodnicki et al. (eds), 201–243.
Ciałowicz K.M. 2012b. Protodynastic and Early Dynastic Settlement on the Western Kom. In M. Chłodnicki et al. (eds), 163–180.
Ciałowicz K.M. 2018a. Introduction. In K.M. Ciałowicz et al. (eds), 7–8.
Ciałowicz K.M. 2018b. Socio-political Transformations in the Eastern Nile Delta in the Second half of the 4th Millennium BC. The View from Tell el-Farkha. In K.M. Ciałowicz et al. (eds), 9–20.
Ciałowicz K.M. 2021. The Eastern Part of the Tell el-Farkha Cemetery during the Early Dynastic Period. In W. Claes, M. De Meyer, M. Eyckerman and D. Huyge (eds), Remove that Pyramid! Studies on the Archaeology and History of Predynastic and Pharaonic Egypt in Honour of Stan Hendrickx. (OLA 305), 175–186, https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv27vt57q.21. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv27vt57q.21
Ciałowicz K.M., Czarnowicz M. and Chłodnicki M. (eds) 2018. Eastern Nile Delta in the 4th Millennium BC. Kraków–Poznań.
Czarnowicz M. 2012. Southern Levantine Imports and Imitations. In M. Chłodnicki et al. (eds), 245–265.
Dębowska-Ludwin J. 2012. The Cemetery. In M. Chłodnicki et al. (eds), 53–76.
Dębowska-Ludwin J. 2018. Socio-economic Changes in Early Egyptian Society as Reflected by Graves of the Tell el-Farkha Cemetery. In K.M. Ciałowicz et al. (eds), 21–29.
Dreyer G. 1998. Umm el-Qaab I. Das prädynastische Königsgrab U-j und seine frühen Schriftzeugnisse. Mainz.
Dreyer G., Engel E-M., Hartung U., Hikade T., Köhler E.Ch. and Pumpenmeier F. 1996. Umm el-Qaab. Nachuntersuchungen im frühzeitlichen Königsfriedhof. 7/8 Vorbericht. MDAIK 52, 11–81.
Edwards I.E.S. 1971. The Early Dynastic Period in Egypt. (Cambridge Ancient History I). Cambridge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521077910
Emery W.B. 1961. Archaic Egypt. Harmondsworth.
Friedman R.F. 2009. Hierakonpolis Locality HK29A: The Predynastic Ceremonial Center Revisited. JARCE 4, 79–103.
Godron G. 1990. Études sur l’Horus Den et quelques problèmes de l’Égypte archaïque, (Cahiers D’Orientalisme XIX). Genève.
Helck W. 1982. Palermostein, LÄ IV, 652–654.
Helck W. 1987. Untersuchungen zur Thinitenzeit (ÄA 45). Wiesbaden.
Hendrickx S. 2006. Predynastic – Early Dynastic Chronology. In E. Hornung, R. Krauss and D.A. Warburton (eds). Ancient Egyptian Chronology. Leiden–Boston, 55–93.
Hornung E. and Staehelin E. 1974. Studien zum Sedfest. (Aegyptiaca Helvetica I). Genève.
Jeffreys D. and Tavares A. 1994. The Historic Landscape of Early Dynastic Memphis. MDAIK 50, 43–173.
Jucha M.A. 2012. Pottery from the Cemetery. In M. Chłodnicki et al. (eds), 77–86.
Jucha M.A. 2020. The So-called “Naqadian Expansion” to the North and the New Archaeological Evidence for the Fall and Development of the Nile Delta Settlements during the Second Half of the IVth Millennium BC. Ä&L 30, 85–94, https://doi.org/10.1553/AEundL30s85. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1553/AEundL30s85
Kaiser W. 1990. Zur Entstehung des gesamtägyptischen Staates. MDAIK 46, 287–299.
Kaiser W. and Dreyer G. 1982. Umm el-Qaab. Nachuntersuchungen im frühzeitlichen Königsfriedhof. 2.Vorbericht. MDAIK 38, 211–69.
Kroeper K. 1988. The Excavations of the Munich East-Delta Expedition in Minshat Abu Omar. In E.C.M. van den Brink (ed.), The Archaeology of the Nile Delta: Problems and Priorities. 11–46. Amsterdam.
Levy T.E., van den Brink E.C.M., Goren Y. and Alon D. 1995. New Light on King Narmer and the Protodynastic Egyptian Presence in Canaan. Biblical Archaeologist 58/1, 26–35. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/3210465
Mączyńska A. (ed.) 2014. The Nile Delta as a Centre of Cultural Interactions between Upper Egypt and the Southern Levant in the 4th Millennium BC. (Studies in African Archaeology 13). Poznań. DOI: https://doi.org/10.12797/SAAC.18.2014.18.03
Rehren T. and Pernicka E. 2014. First Data on the Nature and Origin of the Metalwork from Tell el-Farkha. In A. Mączyńska (ed.), 237–252.
Rowland J.M. 2014. Interregional Exchange: The Evidence from Kafr Hassan Dawood, East Delta. In A. Mączyńska (ed.), 269–297.
Tallet P. and Laisney D. 2012. Iry-Hor et Narmer au Sud-Sinaï (Ouadi ‘Ameyra). Un complément à la chronologie des expéditions minières égyptiennes, BIFAO 112, 381–398.
Vercoutter J. 1992. L’Égypt et la vallée du Nil. I: Des origines à la fin de l’Ancien Empire. Paris.
Wilkinson T.A.H. 1999. Early Dynastic Egypt, London–New York. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203272510
Yeivin S. 1960. Early Contacts between Canaan and Egypt, IEJ 10, 193–203. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1452922
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Narodowe Centrum Nauki
Grant numbers UMO-2017/27/B/HS3/01225