Amratian culture

Amratian culture

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The Amratian Culture was a cultural period in the history of predynastic
Predynastic Egypt
The Prehistory of Egypt spans the period of earliest human settlement to the beginning of the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt in ca. 3100 BC, starting with King Menes/Narmer....

 Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt is the strip of land, on both sides of the Nile valley, that extends from the cataract boundaries of modern-day Aswan north to the area between El-Ayait and Zawyet Dahshur . The northern section of Upper Egypt, between El-Ayait and Sohag is sometimes known as Middle Egypt...

, which lasted approximately from 4000 to 3500 BC. It is named after the site of El-Amra, about 120 km south of Badari
Badari
The Badarian culture provides the earliest direct evidence of agriculture in Upper Egypt during the Predynastic Era. It flourished between 4400 and 4000 BCE, and might have already existed as far back as 5000 BCE. It was first identified in El-Badari, Asyut.About forty settlements and six...

, Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt is the strip of land, on both sides of the Nile valley, that extends from the cataract boundaries of modern-day Aswan north to the area between El-Ayait and Zawyet Dahshur . The northern section of Upper Egypt, between El-Ayait and Sohag is sometimes known as Middle Egypt...

. El-Amra was the first site where this culture group was found without being mingled with the later Gerzean culture group. However, this period is better attested at the Naqada
Naqada
Naqada is a town on the west bank of the Nile in the Egyptian governorate of Qena. It was known in Ancient Egypt as Nubt and in classical antiquity as Ombos. Its name derives from ancient Egyptian nub, meaning gold, on account of the proximity of gold mines in the Eastern Desert.Naqada comprises...

 site, thus it also is referred to as the Naqada I culture. Black-topped ware continued to be produced, but white cross-line ware, a type of pottery which has been decorated with close parallel white lines being crossed by another set of close parallel white lines, begins to be produced during this time. The Amratian period falls between S.D. 30 and 39 in Petrie's Sequence Dating
Sequence Dating
Sequence Dating, a relative dating method, was a method of dating developed by the Egyptologist William Matthew Flinders Petrie. By linking styles of pottery with periods, he was the first to use seriation in Egyptology, a new method for establishing the chronology of a site...

 system.

Trade between Upper and Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt is the northern-most section of Egypt. It refers to the fertile Nile Delta region, which stretches from the area between El-Aiyat and Zawyet Dahshur, south of modern-day Cairo, and the Mediterranean Sea....

 is attested at this time, as new excavated objects attest. A stone vase from the north has been found at el-Amra, and copper, which is not present in Egypt, apparently was imported from the Sinai, or perhaps from Nubia
Nubia
Nubia is a region along the Nile river, which is located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt.There were a number of small Nubian kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages, the last of which collapsed in 1504, when Nubia became divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate resulting in the Arabization...

. Obsidian
Obsidian
Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock.It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth...

 and an extremely small amount of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 were both definitively imported from Nubia during this time. Trade with the oases also was likely.

New innovations such as mud-brick buildings for which the Gerzean period is well known also to begin during this time, attesting to cultural continuity. However, they did not reach nearly the widespread use that they were known for in later times. Additionally, oval and theriomorphic cosmetic palette
Cosmetic palette
The cosmetic palettes of middle to late predynastic Egypt are archaeological artifacts, originally used to grind and apply ingredients for facial or body cosmetics. The decorative palettes of the late 4th millennium BCE appear to have lost this function and became commemorative, ornamental, and...

s appear to be used in this period. However, the workmanship was still very rudimentary and the relief artwork for which they were later known is not yet present.