The purpose of this site is to discuss all the cultural aspects of
a particular period of the Ancient Egyptian History.
These aspects -History, Archaeology, Epigraphy/ Language, Arts, Religion/
Mythology, Economy/ Administration- will help us to reconstruct the
events, the monuments and the mentality of the Ancient Egyptian.
The period in object, which covers my main interest in Egyptology,
stretches from Naqada I/II to the Old Kingdom.
Some of these aims have not yet been discussed, but with time you
will see this site continuously grow up: give a look at the Updates
page to see how frequently I add new material, and to be informed
of future plans.
I have always loved archaeology and history in general, but especially
those of Ancient Egypt and Mesoamerica.
The Archaic or Early Dynastic, is one of the most puzzling and obscure
periods of the history of Ancient Egypt.
We can find many characteristics of the later dynastic period developing
in their earliest forms just in the 3 'Naqada phases', in the Thinite
period and in the Early Old Kingdom. On the other hand some features
(artistic styles, dreadful funerary practices, types of monuments)
will suddenly disappear or slowly develop into the later and better
known forms of the classic Old Kingdom. Although I am caught by the
whole predynastic and dynastic periods, my attention and study of
Egyptian history is focused here on the first three dynasties and
on the Late Predynastic which immediately preceded them.
Therefore you won't find many mentions of the late Old Kingdom reigns
and still less of the Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom and Later Period;
with few exceptions, these will only appear in discussions dealing
with the first c. 30 kings of the dynastic period like N.K. king lists
and papyri, myths and later mentions of ancient sovereigns whose memory
was sometimes still handed down up to the reigns of Sethi I, Ramses
II, the Ethiopic and Saite rulers, or the Lagids during the first
two of whose (Ptolmis I-II) the 'historian' Manetho did live.
If you are searching for informations about Neferkara Pepi, Nebhepetra
Montuhotep, Sekenenra Taa, Nebpehtyra Ahmose, Ankhkheprura Smenkhkara,
Nebkheprura Twtankhamon, Usermaatra Setepenra Ramses, go elsewhere.
The EARLY DYNASTIC PERIOD is the nest of the Old Kingdom; the giant
pyramids of Giza are 'in the egg' of the royal tombs of the
Dynasty 1, 2 and 3; G.A. Reisner was one of the first archaeologists
to trace (in 1936) the various stages of the evolution of the funerary
monuments of the ancient Egyptian kings; J. P. Lauer, W.Kaiser, B.J.
Kemp, J. Brinks, R.Stadelmann, D. O'Connor have continued the work
and added, through their important studies, many contributes which
have now enlightened the role of the funerary enclosures, of tomb
superstructures, of palace facade walls; in a similar way the dedication
of the philologists added more and more knowledge on the meaning and
contents of hieroglyphic texts, and the names, events, myths and cerimonies
which the texts hided; in the meantime archaeologists like Petrie,
Junker, Reisner, Lauer, Emery opened the way with their great discoveries
to the disputes about the many problems of these archaic ages, with
the Saqqara - Abydos royal tombs, the pottery seriations, the New
Race invasions and Mesopotamian influences, the hard efforts to estabilish
the chronologies of the early dynasties, with their protagonists like
Narmer - Menes - Hor Aha, Den, Peribsen, Khasekhemwy, Djoser and the
ephemeral sovereigns who almost left no trace of themselves.
New streams of thought, theory and practice have, since the seventies,
brought fresh new air in an Egyptology which was beginning to be too
conservative; thanks to the contributions of the anthropologists or
anthropology influenced american archaeologists we have become more
open to multidisciplinary theoretical and practical approaches, and
the structuralism and functionalism have followed the evolutionist
methods, posing new objectives and newer ways to pursue and realize
them in the field of Egyptological researches.
The discovery of the period in object was made by de Morgan, at the
end of '800. Petrie was just going to start his excavations at Naqada.
In the next years Abydos, Hierakonpolis, and Saqqara became the pivotal
centers of the researches on the Early Dynastic Period. Many more
added in those years and later (Koptos, Bet Khallaf, Tura, Naga ed
Deir, Tarkhan, Abu Rawash, Armant, Helwan, Elephantine, Buto; cfr
Hoffmann 1979, Wilkinson 1999).
But now we are ready to sink in the waves among the sprinkles of
these sources which began to spring circa 5500 years ago; we will
float on these waters for one millenium, thus landing on the shores
of the pyramids harbours.
Francesco Raffaele, Napoli
31 Luglio 2001