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Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt

(Cracow, Poland: 28th August - 1st September 2002)
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News about the Clayton Rings:
Long distance Desert Travellers during Egypt's Predynastic


Heinrich Barth Institut, Köln (Germany)


In the 2000 volume of the Sahara journal we summarised the evidence regarding a nearly unknown ancient pottery type which is distributed over a large area of the Eastern Sahara (Riemer & Kuper 2000). Amongst the artefacts are standardised rings open at both ends, and perforated disks. They are discovered and excavated during the Cologne's B.O.S. and ACACIA expeditions in the early eighties and the late nineties. Potmarks and radiocarbon dates suggested a Late Predynastic or Early Dynastic age. Parallels were already known from a site which was discovered by P.A. Clayton during his desert expedition in 1930-31 east of Gebel Kamil in Egypt's Southwest (Clayton 1937). As a descriptive term was still lacking and in honour of this great geographer, we named this type of pottery "Clayton rings". In the mean time, older publications were studied, and more information gathered, as thus throwing some light on the distribution and dating of this pottery. Further research by the ACACIA mission has completed our picture of its distribution, potmarks, and fabrics.

Although we have no clue as to the purpose of the Clayton rings, the climatic and environmental conditions of the desert during this period would point to it being used by long distance desert travellers.


CLAYTON, P.A., 1937.
The South-Western Desert Survey Expedition 1930-1931. Bulletin de la Société Royale de Geographie d'Egypte 19,3: 241-265.

RIEMER, H. & KUPER, R., 2000.
"Clayton rings": enigmatic ancient pottery in the Eastern Sahara. Sahara, 12: 91-100, pl. G-I.


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