Egyptologist Barbara Adams was the Co-Director of the Hierakonpolis Expedition, originally recruited from the Petrie Museum for her enthusiasm and encyclopedic knowledge of the site and the history and work of those who have dug there. Last week we asked the Em Hotep BBS crew to share their own encyclopedic knowledge about this diva of Egyptology and her remarkable work at this site, ancient even by Egyptological standards.
Posts Tagged ‘Hierakonpolis’
What was daily life like in ancient Egypt? That was the question we pondered with this week’s Em Hotep Digest. How did Egyptian families get along? What was town and home life like? What did they eat and drink? How did they attire themselves? What did they do for entertainment? All these issues are considered within.
The more we learn about Hierakonpolis, the more likely it seems that during the Naqada II Period this ancient township was the capital of a province that reached well beyond its immediate boundaries. While it may be too early to call it a kingdom—we don’t know if the position of chieftain was hereditary or not—it was certainly headed in that direction.
Had consolidation been emphasized just a little more, and a tighter grip exercised over the northward expansion, Hierakonpolis might have become the capital of a united Egypt 500 years earlier than Narmer (Andelkovic, 2011, p. 29). As it turned out, expansionism during Naqada II was more about the gradual assimilation of Lower Egypt, and consolidation was focused on three cities rather than just one—Hierakonpolis, Naqada, and Abydos. But the roots of royalty were firmly established at Naqada II Hierakonpolis.
The unification of Egypt is credited to Narmer, the traditional first king of a unified Egypt, who extended his pharaonic mace from his capitol at Hierakonpolis to smite the backward villages of Lower Egypt and rein them in to southern ways.
Well, maybe not exactly.
The unification of Egypt was a process, not a historical event that can be neatly situated into a single time and place, much less a single person. But one thing is for certain, that process began to take recognizable shape at Hierakonpolis and the earliest roots of that development began with the Badarian culture. As we shall see in this article, the Naqadian people would build on the material culture of the Badarians, mostly through innovation and improvement of existing types, and this process would plant the seeds for pharaonic Egypt first at Hierakonpolis. But as sometimes happens, we are getting ahead of ourselves.
It would be easy to think that the ancient Egyptians, for all their amazing accomplishments in the arts and sciences, were morbidly obsessed with death. After all, what do you think of when you imagine ancient Egypt? The Pyramids: tombs. Tutankhamun: a golden mummy. Valley of the Kings: a cemetery.
But the truth of the matter is that the Egyptians were obsessed with life, and they fully expected it to continue on the Other Side. Just as we work, save, and invest for our retirement today, the ancient Egyptians prepared for their eternal retirement amongst the gods. Most of the art and artifacts connected to this planning, what we would call the funerary tradition and/or architecture, was considered to be the machinery of the afterlife, the tools and rituals required for the care and feeding of a departed spirit.