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Friday, February 15, 2013

Which Civilization Came First Nubia or Egypt?

Which Civilization Came First:

Nubia or Egypt?
For many years archaeologists and other scholars knew little about either the Egyptians or the Nubians. Then, in 1822, Jean-Franqois Champollion used the Rosetta Stone to decode the language of the ancient Egyptians. His work gave the world the key to understanding their written records. These writings, however, gave only the Egyptians' view of the Nubians. For nearly 150 years, most scholars believed that the Nubians were of little importance.

It was not until the 1960s that archaeologists and scholars began to learn more about ancient Nubia. They have uncovered and studied artifacts and monuments that show that Nubia had a highly developed civilization.

Now some scholars wonder which civilization, the Nubian or the Egyptian, affected the other more. One topic of the debate centers on which civilization was the first to have a unified government ruled by a single king. The opinions of two scholars follow on page 175.

Bruce Williams
Bruce Williams, an archaeologist at the University of Chicago, believes that Nubian artifacts from 3300 B.C. show the world's earliest representations of kings. One of the artifacts Williams has studied is a stone incense burner that shows a falcon and a human figure.

The falcon means a god.... That [figure] is definitely a representation of a king, and he's wearing a crown.... The burner is definitely a typical Nubian, not an Egyptian, object.

David O’Connor
David O'Connor of the University of Pennsylvania believes that the Nubians copied many Egyptian ideas, including that of having a united government ruled by a king.

I think there may well have been an elite group in Nubia at the time, in charge of a complex chiefdom. But the artifacts Williams's argument depends on are almost certainly Egyptian, not Nubian traded to Nubia in early ... times. The kings he sees were Egyptian kings.


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