Introducing Naqada and Nubt, Pre-Dynastic onwards

Introducing Naqada and Nubt, Pre-Dynastic onwards
This week I'd like to share the Egypt Exploration Society's latest survey and site report from one of the most important Pre-Dynastic sites in Upper Egypt. You may not have heard of this site, (yet!) but you've probably heard of its local deity: Set.

Nubt was an important city in Upper Egypt and lies in the region of 2 other important cities which are fairly well known:

☥ Abydos (Abdju) - an important cult centre and place of pilgrimage throughout Egypt's history and
☥ Hierakonpolis (Nekhen) - the probable home town of King Narmer and findspot of the famous 'Narmer Palette', and the enclosure of 2nd Dynasty King Khasekhemwy whose nomenclature included references to both Horus and Set.

Further study of Nubt may help clarify the relationship between the three cities and perhaps more interestingly (to me at any rate), to inform our understanding of their primary deities: Osiris, Horus and Set.

"Whereas Nubt occupies an important place in the history of Egyptology, the site has in recent years been overshadowed by the extraordinary findings at Abydos and Hierakonpolis. The confusion resulting from the terminology has aggravated this. Petrie named the site ‘Naqada’ despite the fact modern Naqada is located several kilometres to the south and there being several archaeological sites in between as well as at modern Naqada. Here the ancient name of the dynastic part of the site is used: Nubt, ‘Gold Town’.

The History of Nubt
The city of Nubt is most famous for the Predynastic settlement of South Town and its associated cemeteries, such as the large communal cemetery N East and the elite cemetery N West, as well as the smaller special cemeteries of N T, N G, and N South. The dates for these graves range from Naqada IA (ca. 3,900 BC) to Naqada IIIC1 (ca. 3.060 BC). There are only a few Dynastic cemeteries that range from the Old Kingdom to the New Kingdom, as well as Ptolemaic to Roman. The city is spread over three spurs and the lower area in front of them. The earliest occupation was on Temple Spur, probably dating to Naqada I. Occupation on South Town Spur seems to begin from early Naqada II. This area seems to consist of a palace area, with indications for other areas of activities (including storage facilities and workshops).

The temple area at Nubt has a large amount of research potential, Petrie found evidence of a 4th Dynasty temple, which is overlain by a 12th Dynasty temple, and by an 18th Dynasty temple (in which the names of Thutmose I, Thutmose III, Amenhotep II and Amenhotep III are mentioned). It is probable that all of these kings enhanced and enlarged the Temple of Seth, Lord of Nubt, which appears to have later been appropriated by Ramesses II. The largest ever faience was-Sceptre, dating to the reign of Amenhotep II, was discovered in the Temple of Seth. One of the latest objects is a vase with the name of Sheshonq, indicating that the temple continued to function into at least the Third Intermediate Period, although there is no evidence for Ptolemaic or later use. Also on the Temple Spur is a large multi-period settlement, which in all probability dates back to the earliest graves in the cemeteries. On the surface Old Kingdom beer jars can still be found, along with New Kingdom pottery.

In the desert to the west of the temple four rock-cut tombs belonging to the priests from the Temple of Seth are located, dating to the 18th Dynasty. In front of these tombs is a lot of Roman and Late Antique pottery, along with a few Middle Palaeolithic stone tools.

Another important area is Pyramid Spur, that has the minor step pyramid of Nubt (sometimes identified as Ombos, Tukh, Naqada) located on it. This pyramid was probably built by king Huni at the end of the 3rd Dynasty as part of a series of such structures all around Egypt. This structure desperately needs a lot of conservation as well as protection."

I'm looking forward to learning more about this fascinating site!

For further reading, see the reading list at the end of the article.
Petrie's original publication of Naqada and Ballas:


  1. I do my best to keep my posts free of parasites and trolls, but please do also report these precious little humans as well if you see them before me so we can keep G+ a great place to interact. <3


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