Technological Innovations and the Resulting Unification of Egypt due to Warfare as a Response to Sedentary Living
by: Giovanni J.R.C.
--As man opted to slowly transit from a generally nomadic lifestyle into a more sedentary way of life, the advent of many innovations became imminent as an adaptation to this new method for survival. Sedentary living, especially in the Nile Valley, happened around 3800BC (Wendorf, et.al, #164). Although the cause of such a change in subsistence method is still quite unclear (if not highly disputed) this may perhaps have been brought about by a variety of reasons. One such theory is the notion that man became so proficient in hunting game that they have sorely depleted the availability of meat. Because of this, they were supposed to have been forced to opt for new sources of sustenance. Although quite plausible, this may not be the only cause for such a drastic change for had this been true, they would have just easily migrated to another area (especially in the Levant where the Ice Age did not have as drastic an effect compared to the rest of the world) and that their main source of sustenance wasn’t meat in the first place. Another hypothesis that was brought forth by other scholars is the idea that the population of late Paleolithic hominids grew quite exponentially that a change was imminent. This, however, can also have been remedied by merely dividing the bands into smaller groups (as is practiced today by small hunting tribes) thus controlling the growth and preserving their lifestyle (that they have been practicing for thousands of years) as well. Perhaps one of the most interesting of these theories, however, can be learned by watching episode two of the documentary series entitled The Ascent of Man. narrated by Dr. Jacob Bronowski , this movie claims that one of the proponents to the shift in subsistence strategy is due to the mutation of a specific strain of wild wheat. Bronowski states that after the last Ice Age (especially around the Fertile Crescent), this wild wheat cross-pollinated itself with goat grass hence making a productive hybrid the narrator calls Emma. This type of bread wheat, which had a larger husk, had more grain but was still not packed tightly enough that it was difficult for the early hominids to harvest. Fortunately, according to the documentary, this hybrid once again cross-pollinated with goat grass hence creating a tighter grip on the individual grains (32 chromosomes as opposed to 28). Such a clasp on the grain, however, made it difficult for the wheat to spread itself autonomous of any aid thus making the plant more dependent on man. This, according to Bronowski, sparked a new symbiotic relationship between man and his neighboring flora (Bronowski, movie).
--There are other such existing theories that attempt to explain why hominids changed their accustomed standards of living, in fact more than can be enumerated. Because of this, it is therefore quite impossible to pick just a single criteria and thus easier (hence the most popular answer to this question) to assume that they may all have been in fact causes, in combination, that prompted man to alter his life completely. After all, one thing that is true today and may have been true then is that man, when set in his ways, cannot be forced to change unless mortally pressed to do so.
--Although it is not known why these hominids altered their subsistence strategies, it is still quite observable what modifications they had to adapt in order to survive. One of the more significant changes is the idea of owning land. Because of this, control of natural resources and other important materials were relegated to a select few and such possessions were therefore sought after by ones that did not have access to it. Hence, trade and diplomatic relations between groups became necessary. If this was not at all possible, there are other less desirable means of acquiring the needed resources and the most popular is through warfare. Perhaps one of the more culture altering adaptations during the Neolithic period because of its capacity to build and ruin nations, warfare became a staple occurrence during (and after) this critical time of hominid survival. This notion is expanded even further by Lawrence Keeley’s book entitled War Before Civilization. Quoting an English philosopher named Thomas Hobbes, Keeley states that it is in fact the natural state of man to be at war and that keeping peace takes a lot more effort (Keeley, #5). This idea, however, is disputed by another scholar named Jean-Jacques Rousseau by claiming that “the savage (except when hungry) was the friend of all creation and an enemy to none” (#6-7). He further elaborates this concept by adding that violence did not erupt until men organized into societies. Through this, it can then be said that the organizing of hominids into social orders actually may have triggered such violent behavior. This, he quotes, is due to the fact that upon the advent of holding property, the availability of land (especially productive ones) became more scant hence the concept of materialism and accumulation of wealth ensued (#15).
--Although it is still disputed how often skirmishes truly occurred during this time period, it is still quite clear that tool evidences show that there was a gradual alteration in the production of such war utilities especially in the Nile valley. From simple stone-tipped arrows to more intricately assembled composite missiles, from wooden clubs to bejeweled and highly adorned mace-head clubs, weapons became more and more complex as time (and civilizations) progressed. In fact, if one observes this pattern clearly, it is quite readily seen that there is a possible direct correlation between warfare and the growth of civilizations. In order to further understand this, it is hence necessary to examine the progressive timeline in the development of war technology and the emergence of a strong civilization (in Egypt’s case, the rise of the Scorpion King).
--Very little is known about the early Paleolithic history of the Nile and its early inhabitants. This is perhaps caused by early misconceptions regarding the true nature of this river and its surroundings. Initially, for example, the Nile valley was thought of as thoroughly inhospitable to man and was an uninhabitable swamp. Also, Southern Cairo and the Upper Egyptian Nile Valley was allegedly a vegetation choked jungle similar to the Southern Sudan thus making it uninviting to the early hominids (Hoffman, #27). Such erroneous concepts led perhaps to the improper approach to looking for early Paleolithic sites in this area. In fact, the Delta (Lower Egypt), although marshy, actually had numerous elevated hillocks and a good number of dry land (which may have supported habitation from early times). Furthermore, the deposition of alluvium in the Delta was not uniform. Because of this, there may still be some prehistoric sites near the modern surface (Hoffman, #28). In fact, according to Fekri Hassan, there were actually some earlier attempts at agriculture around 16,000 to 10,500 years ago but because of the Niles incomprehensible inundations, large floods may have halted its progress (will be discussed further) (#29).
--Had it not been for the various thirteen workshops and quarries in Wadi Halfa, there would have been very little evidence of the early Paleolithic period in the Nile Valley at all. The aforementioned site displays lithic assemblages which resembled Achulean tools found in the Middle to Late Acheulean sites of Khor Abu Anga of northern Sudan such as, hand-axes, ovates and choppers (Wendorf, et.al., #129). Levallois (prepared core) technology also appeared in these sites during the Middle phase and gradually increased in importance as time progressed (as can be seen in their marked escalation in number).
--Although the thirteen sites at Wadi Halfa are the main sources of Early Paleolithic technology in the Nile Valley, it is however important to note that it is impossible to conclude that these workshops are the only Paleolithic sites in the area. This is due to the fact that, because of the Niles inundations and extreme floodings, there may still be sites buried along the river’s coastal surroundings. The sites of El Faiyum (found in the north) and Hemamieh found in Upper Egypt, for example, show a number of artifacts of Acheulean (250,000-90,000BP) and Mousterian (90,000-30,000 BP) assemblages (Hoffman, #53).
--As can be observed above, there is not much information about the early to middle Paleolithic period in the Nile valley and its surrounding environment. This, as mentioned earlier, does not however imply that there was not much of a habitation in this area during this period. Furthermore, the sites that are known, do display an assortment of technologies and variations of these technologies that may give evidence that there was enough hominids in this area to eventually settle and initiate the foundation of Ancient Egypt. In addition, although they are still quite inconspicuous in their present forms, it is quite interesting to note that the tool technology present during this time such as flakes and stone arrow-point production will eventually become enhanced enough to the level of aiding in the unification of Egypt through the forming of an organized militia.
--Because of prejudices and erroneous concepts of early Egyptologists, the Egyptian Upper Paleolithic research was initially riddled with early inconsistencies and misinterpretations. This is because they assumed that the Upper Paleolithic sites they would find in the area would be similar to those of Western and Central Europe’s. Due to this, they anticipated finding elaborate animal art, cave paintings similar to that of Lascaux, “Venus” figurines such that of Willendorf’s, beautifully flaked stone points, long-parallel sided blades, bone tools and many others (Hoffman, #79). This was not the case however thus prompting many early researchers to assume that these Upper Paleolithic Egyptians were of a backwater sort. A Frenchman named Edmund Vignard, for example, is one of these men who reserved such low esteem for the Upper Paleolithic technology of Egypt (and the whole African continent for that matter). He excavated the site named Kom Ombo found on the east bank of the Nile river in the Southern Upper Egypt. Here, he found an abundance of burins (small, stubby, pointed tools characterized by burin spalls) thus aiding him in classifying this site as an Upper Paleolithic habitation (this is because burins are almost exclusively found in such areas)(#78). Because the technology was different to that of Europe’s, Vignard designated another name for this industry, which he christened the Sebilian. He further divided this industry into three stages which are as follows: Sebilian I, which is essentially a Levalloin-style technology but used Mousterian retouched points and some micro-burins, and Middle and Upper Sebilian which is a true microblade technology that employed flint instead of the diorite which the previous industry used (#79). Because Vignard’s work lacked stratigraphic evidences, his pioneering research was eventually amended by men named P.E.L. Smith and Fekri Hassan. Through their works, it was found that Vignard’s early speculations were erroneous and that the early Egyptian tool industry was more complicated than he was led to believe. According to Smith and Hassan, there was a variety of different technologies co-existing with Vignanrd’s Sebilian during this time thus indicating that there was a high degree of ethnic variation as well (#79). One such technology found was a sophisticated microblade industry the discoverers called the Silsillian. This industry included truncated blades, backed-bladelets, notches and denticulates, altered base blades, darts and arrow shafts and occasional burins. In addition to the aforementioned technologies there are other co-existing industries through out Egypt such as the Sebekian, a more contemporaneous Khormusan, the Fakhurian (Upper Egypt), the Idfuan (Upper Egypt), and others (#83).
--Microlithic technology was one of the most important technological innovations during this time. Through this, men were able to exploit the available resources much more cost-effectively by producing larger amounts of tools with fewer raw materials. Such small blades were also advantageous in making compound tools that were more efficient for hunting and other endeavors. The microlithic arrow-points for example, when mounted on wooden shafts by means of adhesives such as fish glue or tar, flew with greater range compared to its larger predecessors. Additionally, these microlithic arrows were also much easier to carry and thus more shafts can be brought along the hunt hence increasing the proficiency of its wielder (#80). This concept of a more effective weapon was further enhanced by later Egyptians for the purpose of warfare (which will be discussed in later portions of this research).
--Another composite tool that led to a large-scale change in the hominid culture is the sickle. Constructed with small flakes embedded in a curved bone or wooden handle, this implement helped in the harvesting of wild cereal grasses that may have led to the earliest “protoagricultural” experiment known to man (at the sites of Isna, Naqada, Dishna and Nubia to be more specific)(#86).
--Dr. Fred Wendorf and his associates are the foremost advocates of this theory. According to them, Late Pleistocene people have been experimenting with plant domestication as early as 12,000 BC (their experimentations, however, failed). Although this is not at all completely proven, there is, conversely, an abundance of grinding stones and sickles after 13,000 B.C., thus indicating that these hominids did know how to harvest and process plants (but this does not determine whether or not they domesticated flora at all) (#88). However, more compelling indications for the assumed early agricultural experimentations of these Egyptians were brought forth by Fekri Hassan upon his excavation of the Isna area. According to him, the sites in this vicinity were large without any evidences of clustering (hence not various campsites). This, according to him, indicates the constant settlement of a large population that may have grown rapidly due to an emergence of a new economic strategy. Furthermore, he states that these sites show no evidence of the occupants hunting small animals such as fish and other game (the faunal remains indicate that they only preyed on large mammals). This, he claims, may have been the result of an emergence of a new food source such as grain. He supports this claim by indicating that there was an appearance of large-grass pollen remnants (perhaps barley) in the pollen profile of the site (#89).
--Although the above notion of early plant domestication has already been disproved, an important aspect to note is that the sickles and grinding stones present in the area during this time rapidly disappeared around 10,500 BC and was replaced by Epipaleolithic hunting, fishing, and gathering tools (#90). Through this, it can be observed that if early hominids did endeavor to manipulate plants for the purpose of domestication, they nonetheless failed in their undertakings and reverted back to hunting and gathering (assuming they ever tried plant domestication in the first place).
--Not until the Neolithic Period did true evidences of domestication occur and along with this came sedentism. However, the cause of such a sudden change in subsistence strategy is truly unknown. Many believe that the combination of many factors contributed to such a transformation. Some such attempts to come at an explanation are as follows: The sudden alteration in climate, the invention of different ways to preserve and store food, the development of more specialized tools, the abundance and transformation of cereal grasses, and many others.
--During this period, Egypt, due to its immense diversity, divided into two different sedentary styles, that of the Upper Egyptian and Lower Egyptian forms.
--Upper Egypt, which is located in the southern part of the Nile, yielded a number of pre-dynastic sites such as Hierakonopolis, El Badari, Hemmamieh, and others (see attached map for the location of sites). The general characteristics of these sites are as follows: Villages are on either sides parallel to the river, most are located on elevated hillocks or on raised portions of the desert, and some followed channels of large wadis until it reached the limits of cultivation (#146). Specifically, the site of Hierakonopolis (city of the hawk), or Nekhen (city of the falcon-headed Horus to the later Egyptians), yielded meager amounts of information regarding pre-dynastic living conditions in Upper Egypt. Although this city will later on become the legendary origin of the hero Menes, during this period, however, not a lot of information can be deciphered. Nonetheless, one of the more significant discoveries in this site was made by Michael Hoffman. Along with his associates, he found mud-brick pavings (may have once been a platform) just underneath the Old Kingdom level. Furthermore, in one portion of the paving, a shallow depression was present which may indicate the presence of a door or gate. This implies that the place was once a restricted area and therefore was only accessible to a handful of people. In addition to this, they also found two parallel trenches, approximately two meters long and forty centimeters across. These dimensions appear to have enclosed an area of about one and a half meters wide and two meters in length. Along with the trenches, they found large circular holes on the corners thus signifying the presence of posts marking the angles of the enclosure. Because they collected and documented potsherds along with other significant artifacts around the vicinity (and also performed a controlled excavation), they were able to determine that the trench and the platform both dated back to the Protodynastic period. Furthermore, Hoffman also speculates that this site may have been the first true Nekhen temple that will later on become the main offering site in the Dynastic era (#130-132).
--Hemamieh, another Upper Egyptian site that had some remnants of its structures in tact, was excavated by Gertrude Caton-Thompson. This is an unusual site because unlike other Upper Egyptian villages, the structures were scattered throughout the area (most Upper Egyptian houses during this period were strung along like beads). Nonetheless, Caton-Thompson states that the evidences show an Amatrian (ca. 4000-3500 BC) farming and herding village. According to her research, Hemamieh was a small settlement during this time, with houses built in circular patterns, perhaps as dome-roofed huts. Along with these inner structures, a number of outbuildings with similar plans, but smaller, is present. Furthermore, she states that this type of village layout is more reminiscent of Upper Paleolithic Delta communities (Hoffman, #246).
--In comparison to the Upper Egyptian dwellings, the Lower Egyptian, or Delta, villages often were concentrated in large, deep sites. Furthermore, the inhabitants didn’t use mud-brick to build their huts but relied more on posts, wattles, and daubs. Furthermore, they built circular houses similar to that of Hemamieh’s architecture.
--Great Wadi and Dune Wadi, found on the elevated grounds of the desert, are two of these Lower Egyptian sites. Excavated by many researchers including Karl Butzer in 1958 and Michael Hoffman in 1969, here they found clusters of mud-brick walls and house sites arranged into square or rectangular configurations. Household midden, grinding stones, blackened earth and other such debris were also concentrated in specific areas and not uniformly distributed throughout the sites. Hoffman believes that these indications point to the organization of these hamlets to “quasi-independent, kin based groups or factions of kinsmen and non-related hangers-on who gathered about the dwelling of a rich and powerful man” (Hoffman, #134).
--Another Lower Egyptian site that gives substantial clues about Late Protodynastic Delta life can be found in the area named Merimde Beni-Salame (see map for the location). Excavated by Hermann Junker and his associates, they discovered a number of clues regarding the daily workings, architecture, diet, and social organizations of this Egyptian town (Hoffman, #175). The earliest remains of a permanent settlement can be found in the middle layers of this site. The structures were dispersed randomly and later on clustered along a winding lane. Dimensions of the houses range from 1.6 to 3 meters across and their floors were dug into the ground about 40 centimeters. Furthermore, the structures were surrounded by walls up to a meter high (Hoffman, #175). A variety of domestic activities can be found inside the huts as the researchers discovered a number of hearths, grinding stones, sunken water jars, and pot basins (Hoffman, #176). Located near the huts were miniature structures of posts, wickerwork and mud. Around these structures (presumed as shelters from the hot sun while working), are granaries, grinding stones, and individual hearths.
--These findings show that Merimde’s inhabitants were relatively independent farmers economically. In addition to this, with granaries to store surplus food, there is almost no doubt that they had the concept of accumulating wealth and therefore the need to defend it.
--The Merimden tool technology was quite simple yet very effective. Common were chipped stone axes (perhaps used for chopping trees hence suggesting their abundance), saw-edged sickle blades, and both bifacial and unifacial saws (for scaling fish and cutting trees). Another abundant article found in this site were well-made stone points that appear to be arrowheads (Hoffman, #177). Among these arrowheads, were found an assortment of types. There was the hollow-type variety, the triangular types, and the stemmed types. These variations indicate different stylistic preferences, or even assorted cultural affiliations (Hoffman, #177).
--Due to the success of farming and herding during this period, a larger number of storehouses were implemented throughout the different sites and thus a few, if not many, people were able to accumulate wealth. One way to maximize the profit from these surpluses is by redistributing it by forming trade relationships. Evidences of such can be found in the site of Maadi (see map). Located on a low, narrow ridge in the mouth of the Wadi el Tih, this area represents quite a varied adaptation to life in the Delta (Hoffman, #200). At a glance, Maadi appears to be a normal Lower Egyptian farming village. However, after extensive excavations by Oswald Menghin and Mustafa Amer, they found that evidences point to the high emphasis on trade with foreign relationships unknown elsewhere in the Delta. Because its locality was near the principal route towards the copper mines of Sinai, the inhabitants of this site had a well-developed copper industry hence giving them more leverage in forming trade relationships. Foreign house types scattered throughout the area indicates that they had extensive contact with outsiders. Such structures displayed Palestinian influence in that they were true underground houses (similar houses are scattered throughout Beersheba) (see Figure 1). Furthermore, they had large, elaborate storage facilities, domesticated donkeys, and foreign-style pottery thus signifying the extent of the wealth of Maadi (Hoffman, #201). In the cellars were found carnelian beads, elaborate stone bowls made of various elements including Fayumi basalt, and Palestinian pottery (Hoffman, #203).
--Due to its highly favorable location (giving it access to the mainstream of the Nile and where it branches to the Delta), Maadi was able to gain access to various trade routes. This, however, may have caused such an imbalance in the economic standings of neighboring villages in the Lower Egypt (ie. isolation of Omari making it relatively impoverished). Upper Egyptian villages were also able to take advantage of forming trade relationships with neighboring sites. This is because they were not geographically limited like most villages in the Delta. Through these factors (and many others), the distribution of wealth became highly irregular and the need for more organized administration arose.
--As noted earlier, the notion of having a “big man” may have existed during the Neolithic period as can be seen in the structural arrangements at Great Wadi and Dune Wadi. If these evidences hold true, the notion of kin-based groups displayed in this area may have been one of the earlier attempts at organizing large sedentary groups of people. Later on however, as the progression of farming and other forms of accumulating wealth advanced, the need to establish boundaries and the means to enforce them became more necessary. As is the pattern of most fledgling civilizations, those who amassed the most wealth often emerged as leaders and heads of the community. In Hierakonopolis for example, elaborate tombs were excavated with painted walls and remnants of elaborate burial offerings signifying the death of rich and powerful men (Hoffman, #133).
--Around 3400 BC, two well-organized monarchies emerged from this economic advancement and took separate holds on the Delta and the Nile valley with their respective original capitals being Buto in the Lower Egypt and Hierakonopolis in the Upper Egypt (Emery, #42).
--In order to fortify such territories and dominion, different types of weaponry was necessitated and therefore developed. Because the most abundant pre-dynastic hunting tool was the bow and arrow, this was upgraded into a more precise and reliable weapon. The bow was unusually small and compact (approximately 3 feet in length) with a couple of types (namely the wooden bow and the composite bow). The composite bow (implemented later on in Egyptian history) was often made of a variety of components. The central part is composed of hardwood often acacia with a square section on which two wooden slats were glued together using fish glue. On the external sides of the bow, sinews were pressed and pasted on the lengths of the limbs. On the belly (internal side), a few horn plates from antelopes were glued and the nocks are cut off directly in the ends of the wooden slats. Such bows were often fortified with birch fibers.
--Because of its shape when not stringed, Egyptian bows are often called recurved bows. When stringed, however, they often form a triangular shape depicted on various later artistic renditions (see Figure 2).
--As can be assumed due to the size of the bows, the arrows were also quite small and extremely lightweight. Artifacts found in the great tombs of Sakkara (some still in their leather quivers) show a variance of five types (see Figure 3) (Emery, #113). The first type had an average length of 19.5 inches with a lunate head. The head was cemented to the top of an ebony stick that is then mounted on a hollow reed shaft. The base of the arrow has two feathers attached with thread and glue. At the bottom tip of the shaft, a V-shaped notch is present for better grip on the bowstring. The second type of arrow also uses a lunate head. However, this head is smaller in size and attached to an ivory stick (as opposed to an ebony stick) and fitted within a similar hollow, reed shaft. Because of its unbalanced nature (like the first type), feathers are also attached to the base. Aside from the head size, another variation of this arrow compared to the first type is in the notch. Instead of a V-shaped notch on the bottom, the second type has a square-shaped notch for better grip on the bowstring. Unlike the first two, the third type has a barbed head often from the jaw of a small fish cemented on an ivory stick. Once again, because of its less than aeronautical (yet very effective) design, the need for feathers, to even-out the flight path, is satisfied on the lower ends of the shaft. The fourth and fifth types are different in that they do not require feathers at all. Furthermore they both have ivory points fitted directly on reed shafts and their only difference (with each other) are the lengths of the heads. It is also necessary to note that the heads of the third and fifth types were colored red perhaps signifying that they were poisoned or empowered by magic (Emery, #113-114).
--Other types of weapons were copper and ivory headed stabbing spears, short-hafted battle-axes, both copper and stone blades, and many others. Another favorite weapon of this time was the pear-shaped, short hafted mace. A number of these armaments were heavily ornate with scenes often depicting victories and even triumphs of kings. Such a portrait can be found in the ceremonial mace-heads located in Hierakonopolis (along with the Narmer palette) symbolizing the unification of Egypt.
--Known as the Scorpion king, Narmer was portrayed in various carvings as he finally unified both the Upper and Lower Egypt after a long history of fighting. Because there is not a lot known regarding this event, the only records available for this occurrence is the Narmer Palette and the Scorpion mace-heads.
--The Narmer Palette was found near the main deposit of the Hierakonopolis. However, due to inaccurate and shoddy excavating, it truly is not known whether the Narmer Palette dated before or after the unification (Hoffman, #129). James Edward Quibell, who did not keep field notes, was not able to keep accurate records about how he found the object (and what he found it with) hence the confusion. Had this been done, it would have been easier to deduce what period the palette had been deposited. F.W. Green, a researcher who did keep notes, stated that the object was found in a place directly associated with the protodynastic level. However, two years prior, Quibell’s report labeled the Palette as part of the main deposit which was dated around 2130-1785 BC (Middle Kingdom) (Hoffman, #129). The knowledge of the date of this object would have been helpful in determining who deposited this artifact as a votive to the temple in Hierakonopolis. In fact, had it been determined that this dates to the pre-dynastic period, Narmer himself may have left it there.
--Nonetheless, the object depicts an important occurrence in Egyptian history. The Palette itself was a carefully carved; triangular shaped slab of dark green slate. On one side of the object, it shows the king (Narmer) wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt grasping a short hafted mace and ritually shattering the head of his enemy (see Figure 4). Furthermore, on the upper corner of the Palette, a hawk (depicting the god Horus) is shown keeping the king under his protective gaze. Coming out of the birds chest, is a hand holding a rope that passes through the mouth of a human head. The head emerges from a pool of water from which springs seven papyrus plants. In early hieroglyphics, the papyrus plant symbolizes the numeral 1000. Through this, the Palette documents that the king captured seven thousand enemies (Murray, #12). On the other side of the Palette, the king is shown wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt passively watching the decapitation of his enemies while accompanied by a procession of men and his allies (see Figure 5). Below this scene, a bull (which is another representation of the pharaoh) is shown destroying the walls of an enemy town (Hoffman, #130).
(Figure 4) (Figure 5)
--Similar to the Narmer Palette, the two mace-heads of the Scorpion King also depicted the conquest of Lower Egypt. The limestone mace-head is carved with three various registers (see Figure 6). The top register shows dead birds hanging on standards of the Upper Egyptian tribes (the birds undoubtedly represent the confederation of the North). The middle register depicts the king wearing the pointed crown of the South while digging a canal amidst the scene of a rejoicing crowd (perhaps representing the re-organization of Egypt). Lastly, on the third register, men are shown performing their agricultural occupation peacefully. Through this, it can be observed that the limestone mace-head records not only the victory of Narmer, but also the restructuring of Egypt and the peace that its citizens (shortly) enjoyed (Emery, #42).
--On the second mace-head, Narmer is shown wearing the red crown of the Delta while sitting on his throne. Above him is the vulture goddess Nekhet perched high above his seat signifying her protection. In front of him are the standard-bearers of his army, an obscure figure sitting on a canopied palanquin, figures of captured enemies, and signs signifying the captured plunder of war (120,000 men, 400,000 oxen, 1,422,000 goats) (see Figure 7)(Emery, #45). The seated figure drew plenty of speculations and perhaps even arguments. Some claim that the figure is a man but a comparison with similar figures proved otherwise. Due to this, it has been conjectured that the woman may have been the Northern princess captured by Narmer in hopes of taking her in, for the purpose of marriage (Emery, #47). Although this is just a mere supposition, this may have some semblance of logic for it is known that Narmer attempted to legitimize his conquest by taking the princess Nithotep as his consort.
--As can be observed through these artifacts, the unification of Egypt was achieved via the Scorpion king. It is quite necessary to also note that Narmer originated from Upper Egypt where the people were ahead regarding technology, trade, and even production of food. Because of the location of the Nile valley, the people of this area were able to advance faster than its northern contemporaries due to establishing trade (with the exception of Maadi and other sites) and perhaps was then able to exert more effort in the unification of the entire Nile proper. Through the evolution and development of their tools from simple flakes and large points, to microblades and composite technologies, the Egyptians were able to protect and claim areas of great resources and wage war in order to keep them in their possession. Such a notion became necessary especially when sedentism became a popular living adaptation hence causing hominids to organize into cohesive, well-organized empires.
--In conclusion, as hominids adapted a more sedentary way of life through the production and storage of food, the concept of accumulating wealth became a widespread notion hence necessitating the enforcement of laws and protection of property. Because of this, tools were developed even further in order to make them more effective as implements of war. As skirmishes between various groups throughout the Nile area became more rampant, two monarchies emerged and vied for complete control of the area. Perhaps because Upper Egypt had the advantage in making better trade routes and accumulating more wealth, it can be assumed that through this prosperity, Narmer was able to use such an advantage in order emerge victorious therefore eventually unifying the divided lands to form the empire of Egypt.
Work Cited List:
Bronowski, Jacob., (1974). The Ascent of Man (movie: episode 2). New York: BBC/Timelife Films, 52 minutes.
Emery, W.B., (1961). Archaic Egypt. London: Penguin books.
Hoffman, Michael H., (1979). Egypt Before the Pharaohs. New York: Cambridge University Press.
James, T.G.H., ed., (1984). Excavating in Egypt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Keeley, Lawrence H., (1996). War Before Civilizations. New York: Oxford University Press.
Murray, Margaret Alice. (1949). The Splendour that was Egypt. New York: Philosphical Library Inc.
Wendorf, Fred., Marks, Anthony E., ed., (1975). Problems in Prehistory: North Africa and the Levant. Dallas: SMU Press.