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Title: The A-Group/C-Group transition in Lower Nubia (Egypt and Sudan) : a review of the pottery evidence
Author: Gait, John Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 4620
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2011
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This work examines the nature ofthe cultural, historical, and socio-economic differences between the late Neolithic A-Group and Early Bronze Age C-Group cultures of Lower Nubia, and proposes a new explanatory model to explain and describe the nature of transition between these groups between the late 4th millennium BC and mid 3rd millennium BC. The conventional prevailing explanation of the transition between these cultures relies on a culture-historical framework of extinction, abandonment and immigration, according to which the A-Group culture came to an end as the result of Egyptian military activity during the Early Dynastic Period in Egypt (c.2800 BC), leaving Lower Nubia devoid of indigenous Nubian occupation for approximately 500 years until the immigration of a culturally distinct C-Group population during the 6th Dynasty (c.2300 BC). Through a detailed comparative analysis of A-Group and C-Group pottery, focusing on the identification of technological choices made throughout the production process, the nature of the technological and cultural associations between the A-Group and C-Group cultures has been re- evaluated. This analysis questions the chronological sensitivity of forms of decorated pottery and challenges the validity of the conventional relative chronology of the A-Group and early C-Group periods. Through examining a range of evidence of the economic and social functions of pottery, this study demonstrates the use of A-Group ripple-burnished pottery and painted pottery in the maintenance of social boundaries based on economic status and gender. Specifically, this study demonstrates a statistically strong association between the use of A-Group ripple-burnished pottery in burials of women and children and the use of painted pottery in the burial of high status men. A review of the economic evidence of the subsistence strategies of the A-Group and C-Group, combined with evidence of the function of pottery, demonstrates significant differences in the economic activities of these two cultures, particularly with regard to the exploitation of domesticated cattle and the utilisation of milk products. On the basis of this analysis of the chronological and economic evidence of the A-Group and C-Group, a new explanatory model of the transition between these two cultures is proposed, in which it is advocated that apparent cultural differences seen within the archaeological record are the result of socio-economic changes occurring within Lower Nubian society between the late a" and mid 3rd millennia BC resulting from the exploitation of new subsistence resources. This model therefore argues in favour of direct cultural and historical continuity within Lower Nubia, and questions the role of Egyptian hostility in effecting an abandonment of Lower Nubia and the extinction of the A-Group culture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available