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Egyptian Prehistory Monographs

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Egyptian Prehistory Monographs

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A  Holocene Prehistoric Sequence in the Egyptian Red Sea Area: The Tree Shelter

Pierre M. Vermeersch (ed.)

The prehistory of the Eastern Desert of Egypt is not well understood. A Holocene Prehistoric Sequence in the Egyptian Red Sea Area: The Tree Shelter is an important contribution to our knowledge of the Epi-Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Predynastic occupation of the area. It presents the results of an excavation of a small rock shelter near Quseir, Egypt, which is one of the rare stratified sites in the Eastern Egyptian desert. The stratigraphic sequence starts around 8000 bp and continues until about 5000 bp. The archaeological material attests clear connections with the Nile Valley and the Western Desert during the wet Holocene period. Topics covered in the book include the site’s lithics and ceramics, microwear analysis of the lithic artefacts, and the woody vegetation of the Neolithic period.

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Etude anthropologique du squelette du Paléolithique supérieur de Nazlet Khater 2 (Egypte)

Apport à  la compréhension de la variabilité passée des hommes modernes

Isabelle Crevecoeur

The study of modern human origin, variation and behaviour focused mainly on two distinct periods: the oxygen isotopic stages OIS 6 and 5e with the oldest anatomically modern human remains from Africa and the Middle East and the oxygen isotopic stages 2 and 1 with the expansion of modern humans all over the world. Currently, genetic studies agree to consider that extant human populations reflect only a restricted part of past modern human diversity. One of the key periods to try to understand the complex evolution of Homo sapiens is the oxygen isotopic stage 3. However, few complete human remains are known for this period which limits the knowledge of the Upper Pleistocene modern human variation. The Nazlet Khater 2 (NK 2) human remains represent the oldest OIS 3 complete modern human skeleton from Northern Africa. It was discovered in 1980 near Tahta in Upper Egypt by the Belgian Middle Egypt Prehistoric Project (BMEPP). This specimen, voluntarily buried, is associated to the Nazlet Khater 4 chert mining site whose exploitation period ranged from 40 to 35 Kyr BP. The Nazlet Khater 2 skeleton is complete and belongs to a young adult male. It is well preserved with the exception of the distal part of the legs and the feet. Morphological and biometrical comparative analyses of this specimen underline the complex morphology of modern humans from this time period. NK 2 exhibits several retained archaic features notably on the face and the mandible. The set of particular labyrinthine traits identified on NK 2 inner ear distinguished it partially from extant humans. Its postcranial remains are characterized by strong muscular insertions. Cross-sectional geometric properties of the long bones show adaptations to high biomechanical strengths. Furthermore, Nazlet Khater 2 has vertebral and membral lesions which are unusual for such a young specimen and might be related to intensive mining activities. The study of this specimen provides an opportunity to increase our understanding of modern human variation during this time period (OIS 3) for which few human remains are known.

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Les peintures sur vases de Nagada I - Nagada II

Nouvelle approche sémiologique de l'iconographie prédynastique

Gwenola Graff

Ce travail propose une nouvelle approche de l'iconographie prédynastique égyptienne. Il s'agit d'étudier les vases à décorations complexes de la culture de Nagada. Le travail présenté ici regroupe pour la première fois le plus vaste ensemble possible de ces objets. L'ensemble fournit près de 650 documents, dont un certain nombre d'inédits. Le décor de ces vases a été analysé selon les principes de la sémiologie. Cette étude s'inscrit dans un contexte historique d'une période préparatoire à l'écriture et à la civilisation pharaonique sur lequel elle permet de donner un éclairage original. Le travail se présente sous la forme de deux volumes : le premier contient l'étude et les planches qui l'accompagnent. Le second est divisé en deux parties : la première est un inventaire des signes. La seconde partie du deuxième volume est consacrée au corpus des objets, comportant une illustration de bonne qualité et les renseignements muséographiques et bibliographiques les concernant. This work proposes a new approach to Egyptian Predynastic iconography, based essentially on a study of vases with complex painted decorations from the prehistoric Naqada culture. It describes and illustrates for the first time 650 of these objects-the widest collection yet to be studied-along with some unpublished material. The author fully explains the rules of composition and the implementation of the decoration, thus elucidating the image function as well as the origin of some iconographic themes of the Pharaonic period. The book's original and instructive perspective defines the historic context, revealing a period getting ready for the emergence of writing and Pharaonic civilization.

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