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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)

Denial of the African origins of Ancient Egypt?

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Big Triece
PostPosted: 2011-03-05 08:45am 

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In this National Geographic documentary above ("The Real Scorpion King") this very issue is taken up in the opening scenes. With the narrator stating that early Egyptologist due to "racism" incorrectly credited an early wave of Europeans or Middle Easterners into the Nile Valley for the creation of Ancient Egypt (Dynastic race theory) and that it was indeed a product of indigneous Africans. Now from that opening statement describing racism towards African people, wouldn't black Africans be the only Africans to come to mind? Well following that opening statement the documentary goes on to portray the founders of Ancient Egypt as Middle Easterners conveying the same point that they set out to debunk.

Now this is a somewhat controversial issue, that in my opinion has less to do actual scientific fact and more to do with a particular "Western mind frame". None the less Scientific information will be a key proponent in this discussion as it conveys the point that I'm trying to make. So I will start this discussion off with an article by a leading Anthropologist Shomarka Keita:

Quote:
The Geographical Origins and Population Relationships of Early Ancient EgyptiansProfessor S.O.Y. Keita
Department of Biological Anthropology
Oxford University

Professor A. J. Boyce
University Reader in Human Population
Oxford University

What was the primary geographical source for the peopling of the Egyptian Nile Valley? Were the creators of the fundamental culture of southern predynastic Egypt—which led to the dynastic culture—migrants and colonists from Europe or the Near East? Or were they predominantly African variant populations?

These questions can be addressed using data from studies of biology and culture, and evolutionary interpretive models. Archaeological and linguistic data indicate an origin in Africa. Biological data from living Egyptians and from skeletons of ancient Egyptians may also shed light on these questions. It is important to keep in mind the long presence of humans in Africa, and that there should be a great range of biological variation in indigenous "authentic" Africans.

Scientists have been studying remains from the Egyptian Nile Valley for years. Analysis of crania is the traditional approach to assessing ancient population origins, relationships, and diversity. In studies based on anatomical traits and measurements of crania, similarities have been found between Nile Valley crania from 30,000, 20,000 and 12,000 years ago and various African remains from more recent times (see Thoma 1984; Brauer and Rimbach 1990; Angel and Kelley 1986; Keita 1993). Studies of crania from southern predynastic Egypt, from the formative period (4000-3100 B.C.), show them usually to be more similar to the crania of ancient Nubians, Ku****es, Saharans, or modern groups from the Horn of Africa than to those of dynastic northern Egyptians or ancient or modern southern Europeans.

Another source of skeletal data is limb proportions, which generally vary with different climatic belts. In general, the early Nile Valley remains have the proportions of more tropical populations, which is noteworthy since Egypt is not in the tropics. This suggests that the Egyptian Nile Valley was not primarily settled by cold-adapted peoples, such as Europeans.

Art objects are not generally used by biological anthropologists. They are suspect as data and their interpretation highly dependent on stereotyped thinking. However, because art has often been used to comment on the physiognomies of ancient Egyptians, a few remarks are in order. A review of literature and the sculpture indicates characteristics that also can be found in the Horn of (East) Africa (see, e.g., Petrie 1939; Drake 1987; Keita 1993). Old and Middle Kingdom statuary shows a range of characteristics; many, if not most, individuals depicted in the art have variations on the narrow-nosed, narrow-faced morphology also seen in various East Africans. This East African anatomy, once seen as being the result of a mixture of different "races," is better understood as being part of the range of indigenous African variation.

The descriptions and terms of ancient Greek writers have sometimes been used to comment on Egyptian origins. This is problematic since the ancient writers were not doing population biology. However, we can examine one issue. The Greeks called all groups south of Egypt "Ethiopians." Were the Egyptians more related to any of these "Ethiopians" than to the Greeks? As noted, cranial and limb studies have indicated greater similarity to Somalis, Ku****es and Nubians, all "Ethiopians" in ancient Greek terms.

There are few studies of ancient DNA from Egyptian remains and none so far of southern predynastic skeletons. A study of 12th Dynasty DNA shows that the remains evaluated had multiple lines of descent, including not surprisingly some from "sub-Saharan" Africa (Paabo and Di Rienzo 1993). The other lineages were not identified, but may be African in origin. More work is needed. In the future, early remains from the Nile Valley and the rest of Africa will have to be studied in this manner in order to establish the early baseline range of genetic variation of all Africa. The data are important to avoid stereotyped ideas about the DNA of African peoples.

The information from the living Egyptian population may not be as useful because historical records indicate substantial immigration into Egypt over the last several millennia, and it seems to have been far greater from the Near East and Europe than from areas far south of Egypt. "Substantial immigration" can actually mean a relatively small number of people in terms of population genetics theory. It has been determined that an average migration rate of one percent per generation into a region could result in a great change of the original gene frequencies in only several thousand years. (This assumes that all migrants marry natives and that all native-migrant offspring remain in the region.) It is obvious then that an ethnic group or nationality can change in average gene frequencies or physiognomy by intermarriage, unless social rules exclude the products of "mixed" unions from membership in the receiving group. More abstractly this means that geographically defined populations can undergo significant genetic change with a small percentage of steady assimilation of "foreign" genes. This is true even if natural selection does not favor the genes (and does not eliminate them).

Examples of regions that have biologically absorbed genetically different immigrants are Sicily, Portugal, and Greece, where the frequencies of various genetic markers (and historical records) indicate sub-Saharan and supra-Saharan African migrants.

This scenario is different from one in which a different population replaces another via colonization. Native Egyptians were variable. Foreigners added to this variability.

The genetic data on the recent Egyptian population is fairly sparse. There has not been systematic research on large samples from the numerous regions of Egypt. Taken collectively, the results of various analyses suggest that modern Egyptians have ties with various African regions, as well as with Near Easterners and Europeans. Egyptian gene frequencies are between those of Europeans and some sub-Saharan Africans. This is not surprising. The studies have used various kinds of data: standard blood groups and proteins, mitochondrial DNA, and the Y chromosome. The gene frequencies and variants of the "original" population, or of one of early high density, cannot be deduced without a theoretical model based on archaeological and "historical" data, including the aforementioned DNA from ancient skeletons. (It must be noted that it is not yet clear how useful ancient DNA will be in most historical genetic research.) It is not clear to what degree certain genetic systems usually interpreted as non-African may in fact be native to Africa. Much depends on how "African" is defined and the model of interpretation.

The various genetic studies usually suffer from what is called categorical thinking, specifically, racial thinking. Many investigators still think of "African" in a stereotyped, nonscientific (nonevolutionary) fashion, not acknowledging a range of genetic variants or traits as equally African. The definition of "African" that would be most appropriate should encompass variants that arose in Africa. Given that this is not the orientation of many scholars, who work from outmoded racial perspectives, the presence of "stereotypical" African genes so far from the "African heartland" is noteworthy. These genes have always been in the valley in any reasonable interpretation of the data. As a team of Egyptian geneticists stated recently, "During this long history and besides these Asiatic influences, Egypt maintained its African identity . . ." (Mahmoud et al. 1987). This statement is even more true in a wider evolutionary interpretation, since some of the "Asian" genes may be African in origin. Modern data and improved theoretical approaches extend and validate this conclusion.

In summary, various kinds of data and the evolutionary approach indicate that the Nile Valley populations had greater ties with other African populations in the early ancient period. Early Nile Valley populations were primarily coextensive with indigenous African populations. Linguistic and archaeological data provide key supporting evidence for a primarily African origin.


References Cited:

Angel, J. L., and J. O. Kelley, Description and comparison of the skeleton. In The Wadi Kubbaniya Skeleton: A Late Paleolithic
Burial from Southern Egypt. E Wendorf and R. Schild. pp. 53-70. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press. 1986

Brauer, G., and K. Rimbach, Late archaic and modern Homo sapiens from Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia: Craniometric comparisons and phylogenetic implications, Journal of Human Evolution 19:789-807. 1990

Drake, St. C., Black Folk Here and There, vol 1. Los Angeles: University of California. 1987

Keita, S.O.Y., Studies and comments on ancient Egyptian biological relationships. History in Africa 20:129-154. 1993

Mahmoud, L. et. al, Human blood groups in Dakhlaya. Egypt. Annah of Human Biology. 14(6):487-493. 1987

Paabo, S., and A. Di Rienzo, A molecular approach to the study of Egyptian history. In Biological Anthropology and the Study
of Ancient Egypt. V. Davies and R. Walker, eds. pp. 86-90. London: British Museum Press. 1993

Petrie, W.M., F. The Making of Egypt. London: Sheldon Press. 1984

Thoma, A., Morphology and affinities of the Nazlet Khaterman. Journal of Human Evolution 13:287-296. 1984


Below is his interview with the National Geographic entitled "What Genetics can tell us" about the peopling of Ancient Egypt:

[youtube]aZssWb4MmGM[/youtube]

There is also his 6 part lecture on the Biocultural origins of ancient Egypt at Cambridge University that I will post later on.

Let the discussion begin.
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Edi
PostPosted: 2011-03-05 11:07am 

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I have decided to approve your post, but take note: We have had various idiots touting all kinds of fake bullshit over this issue on the forum, so if this thread shows any signs of going in that direction or if any requests for evidence on that score are ignored, the moderators will use the Ban Hammer without warning, since there are standing orders to do so regarding this.

Therefore this thread had better stay on track.
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Big Triece
PostPosted: 2011-03-05 12:37pm 

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Sorry here are the National Geographic videos from both Keita's interview and the documentary that were supposed to be in my first post:





S.O.Y. Keita - The Bio Cultural Origins of Egypt

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Part 4


Part 5


Part 6
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GrandMasterTerwynn
PostPosted: 2011-03-05 03:08pm 

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When I saw this thread, my first thought was "Oh no, not this again." On that note, I will also link to this prior thread to sum up the previous argument on "black Egyptians." This is relevant because the previous threads on this subject also used Professor Keita as a source.

Note: I am not saying, implying, or meaning to imply, that the OP is either a sockpuppet, troll, or board invader nearly a year late to the party. The assertion on the OP's part that "Now this is a somewhat controversial issue, that in my opinion has less to do actual scientific fact and more to do with a particular "Western mind frame"." certainly does make my antennae quiver a bit, though.
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ArmorPierce
PostPosted: 2011-03-05 03:50pm 

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Okay let me allow to clarify

African does not equal black.

Ancient Egyptians were indigenous to Africa in culture. So is of African origin.

Early egyptologist attempted to show Egyptian culture as not african and more hellenistic or something.

Local origin does not equal black which is where people are making the leap. 1+1 does not equal 3. It's a leap in logic.
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Big Triece
PostPosted: 2011-03-05 04:38pm 

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ArmorPierce wrote:
African does not equal black.


True

Quote:
Ancient Egyptians were indigenous to Africa in culture. So is of African origin.


Which stems from inner African cultures.

Quote:
Local origin does not equal black which is where people are making the leap. 1+1 does not equal 3. It's a leap in logic.


What Keita means by 'local' is Northeast African (Ethiopian, Somali, Beja, Sudanese, ect) all of these populations tend to have light to dark reddish brown to jet black skin color. Rather or not you want to consider that "black" is entirely up to you and your standards for the meaning of the term. Keita however states in his lecture that based on ecological principals the ancient Egyptians would have been dark skinned, how dark he did not say. In an email exchange he did however states that though he cannot empiracally prove this the model skin color for early ancient Egypt would likely have been the Upper Egyptian/Nubian skin tone. This makes sense based on what the biological evidence indicates about the population.
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Jawawithagun
PostPosted: 2011-03-05 04:49pm 

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Big Triece wrote:
ArmorPierce wrote:
Ancient Egyptians were indigenous to Africa in culture. So is of African origin.


Which stems from inner African cultures.


So do European, Asians...
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Big Triece
PostPosted: 2011-03-05 04:52pm 

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Jawawithagun wrote:
So do European, Asians...


:?: care to elaborate?
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2011-03-05 05:05pm 

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@Big Triece
Before this descends into snippets could you please give us your view/theory on the inhabitants of the nile through the ages? You see in your opening posts you have made no claims yourself, you have only pointed to Keita. Any discussion on Keita will descend into a debate revolving around afrocentricism which will be unproductive. Since it is already the study of plenty of papers, with Keita a very active participant. Which means that only discussing Keita would give responses with an equal amount of links without own opinions as your OP was. So a much better approach would be for you to make some claims about historical data regarding the inhabitants of the nile. That way we will actually have something to discuss, instead of eternal linking back and forth.
Thank you
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Broomstick
PostPosted: 2011-03-05 07:09pm 

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This is in reference to the linked videos.

S.O.Y. Keita - The Bio Cultural Origins of Egypt

About the concept of race: while it is true most modern scientists do not think “race” as envisioned in the 17-19th Centuries is a valid concept – that is, highly distinct populations or even different creations/species – modern science, particularly modern medicine, does support the concept of variations in populations and external appearance being a marker for some traits and ethnicities.

Note that he does state that it is most likely that the current diversity seen in Egypt is similar to that of ancient Egypt. He also notes that the northern part of Egypt historically does have influxes of non-African people (including ruling dynasties of these origins). I would also point out that Egypt equally likely had influxes from the south of dark-skinned African peoples (including ruling dynasties of those origins).

What I get from this is that he is arguing against both a purely northern origin or a purely southern origin for Egypt, either its people or its culture. In other words, Egypt has always been a mix and the culture of Egypt is truly indigenous to Egypt and not an import from elsewhere.

I find this a pleasant surprise, actually, as I have in the past seen Keita as a support for black afro-centric, that is, a southern African origin for all things Egypt. That is not what he is saying in this clip.

Part 1

After a brief introduction, this is mainly about language. Note that major language families can and do spread widely, with “Nilo-Saharic” appearing in western Africa, as an example. He does point out that the language of Egypt, both modern and ancient IS an “Afro-Asiatic” language, a family that dominates north of the Sahara in regions where people are lighter skinned and would seem to indicate more northern influences... except that Afro-Asiatic languages reach south of Egypt as well. In other words, language by itself does not indicate a definite origin or ethnic group. Based on major language family ranges, though, it would be reasonable for a person who didn't know the language group of Egypt to guess either Afro-Asiatic or Nilo-Saharic... and give that “Nile” is in both Egypt and the latter language family one might even be inclined to guess Egypt's language is a Nilo-Saharic one. It's not. It's Afro-Asiatic.

I do think his point that there is no evidence that there was a major invasion from elsewhere bringing in a foreign culture to Egypt is an important one. He uses the British colonization of North America as an example of where such a thing did happen, then reiterates that this is NOT the case for Egypt. Egyptian culture grew in place. This discredits the 19th/early 20th Century ideas of lighter skinned people bringing civilization to the brown or black people of Egypt. It didn't happen. Nor – and this is equally important – it was not a matter of the black/brown skinned people importing a culture to their lighter-skinned northern neighbors. Again, Egyptian culture is indigenous to Egypt.

It is also important to keep in mind his cautions in regards to how charts and illustrations can be deceptive.

TL:DR – so far, it seems that Keita is arguing that Egyptians, both modern and ancient, are neither “black” nor “white” Africans. They are Egyptian, that is, an ethnicity unto itself that, between those with lighter skin in the north and those with darker skin in the south, reflect a diversity indicating some influences from both directions but still predominantly their own, unique culture and mix of physical traits. Up to this point, most of the evidence presented is language. When I have more time I will watch the rest of these videos and see if that continues to be the case. I do find it interesting that Keita, whom I have seen as support for the “Egyptians are black Africans” camp, is actually not saying that at all. He's saying Egyptians are their own selves, grown in place, and not transplanted from elsewhere. He is "afro-centric" but not, apparently black afro-centric. So far.
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Broomstick
PostPosted: 2011-03-05 11:22pm 

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Big Triece wrote:
Jawawithagun wrote:
So do European, Asians...

:?: care to elaborate?

Go back far enough everybody comes from Africa

Back to the videos – Part 2

He continues the bit about languages, though I'm not sure this bit is extremely relevant to the topic at hand and the part here is not certain/is controversial, which he points out. He then talks about the Sahara being relatively wet and fertile 10,000-8,000 years ago, a time in which there is little in the way of human sites along the Nile. During that time people do move from the south of Africa up into the Sahara. There is movement (as depicted in his slides) from the northern coast of Africa into the Sahara. There is also evidence of people and culture moving from the Levant – the western part of the Middle East – into that region as well, with much of the evidence being domesticated animals such as sheep and goats which have their origins in the Levant and not Africa. Again, evidence of people from more than one region meeting up. This does not mean that anyone from the Levant invaded, as domesticated animals might have been an imported cultural influence. I'll interject my own point here that the herding cultures of sub-Saharan Africa are unquestionably of "black" sub-Saharan stock even though the original domestication of cattle was not in Africa and the concept and practices has to be imported from elsewhere. Goats in the Saharan are proof of a Levantine influence, it is not proof of a Levantine invasion or displacement of the native population. When the Sahara dried out to become the desert we know today some of these Saharan peoples migrated to the Nile Valley. He then goes on to describe various artifacts that come from various regions around the Nile Valley. Certainly, when the Sahara was “wet” and inhabited there was no sharp demarcation between southern and northern Africa, and again, there is clear evidence of influence from what is now the Middle East.

He then goes on to talk about race. I don't really want to summarize it because I don't think I could sum it up better than he has. He talks about different views of race and classifying populations that is important and relevant to any discussion of Egypt's “race” or ethnicity. This discussion starts at about 6:10 in this video if you want to just go to that discussion.

Part 3

There seems to be a slight gap between 2 and 3. More discussion of ancestry and descent, pointing out that there are some groups in Africa that don't look like each other but actually have a more recent common ancestor than those groups that do look like each other. This concerns diversity, selection, and the importance of which trait(s) you are basing your grouping on. This is actually some pretty good stuff about population and “race”.

Some relevant points: there is evidence that the “out of Africa” migration of modern humans passed through northeast Africa, and that all the people in the rest of the world are, in a sense, a subset of those Africans. That means all the people in the Americas, Asia, Australia, the South Pacific, and Europe might be more closely related to the Egyptians than they are to the rest of Africa despite very different appearances. That the “whiter” North Africans (those north of the Sahara today) are not the result of Middle Eastern or European migrations back into Africa but that their paler skins and other “Causasian” traits evolved in place, in Africa. He doesn't emphasize this as his focus is Egypt but he keeps hammering home about African diversity and those are inescapable thoughts if you pay attention to what he is saying.

So far, what we have is the theory that Egyptians are their own group, evolved in place, and made up of components from a diverse region of Africa with significant variations in appearance, but NOT the result of an invasion or migration from either the north or the south. In other words, he is arguing for neither "white" or "black" here. So far.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2011-03-05 11:51pm 

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Nobody is denying the "African origins" of Ancient Egypt. How could they? Egypt is in Africa, after all.

What people are denying is that one cannot say the Egyptians as such were exclusively Africans, or viewed themselves as such, or that their accomplishments were a pure African feat (unlike those, for example, of the Bantu). Egypt was much more influenced by the Semitic cultures, the Middle Eastern cultures and the Minoan/Greeks than it was from "inner africa". The Egyptian geostrategy was much more concerned with the mediterranean than it was with the south and the Egyptians treated those to the South as non-equals.

Even more important, the accomplishments of the Egyptian culture and society were not adapted in the South, but in the North, East and West. Via the Minoans (and later the Greeks), the Phoenicians, the various Middle eastern empires etc. it was adapted and transferred to all of what we call today western civilization. It would also be false to speak of an Egyptian civilization as if it was an insular development. This is not the case, the exchange of scientists etc. was common to all cultures back then. Egypt for example was very well known as being a haven for Greek scholars (like Pythagoras) and greek architects found a lot of employment (and opportunities for study) there. Via the Minoan link, Egypt is rightfully claimed by the West and the Middle East as part of their heritage, but not by the south, for it had virtually no impact on inner africa etc. OTOH, its impact on Western civilization is immediate and still really easy to find - just go open your math textbook, for once.


A note - it would be wrong to think of ancient kingdoms in terms of ethnicity. Egypt itself was a cesspool of various tribes and ethnicities. What counted in those times was political association, not skin color. Thus, there had been instances of arabs becoming Roman Emperors or North African noblemen becoming the same, or a Greek being the Egyptian chief scientist. The focus on race is a modern invention borne out of nationalism and colonialism, not an ancient way of thinking.

Thus, what people are disputing is not that Egypt is of african origin, what they are disputing is that Egypt can be claimed exclusively to be of African Origin, that the accomplishments of Egpyt belong to some "Greater African heritage" and that Egypt can serve as some poster child for the success of a "black state". What people dispute is the embellishment of Egypt as some sort of attempt on behalf of some zealous afrocentrists to go and say "Hahahah, you white people would never have had anything had it not been for black people, like Egypt", thereby missing the point that the Egyptians themselves did not think of themselves as Africans.


EDIT: Note 2: Keita himself uses the word afroasiatic when describing Egypt, which is a much more fitting term than any other for the population of Egypt.
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Broomstick
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 09:15am 

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Thanas wrote:
Nobody is denying the "African origins" of Ancient Egypt. How could they? Egypt is in Africa, after all.

Such denials used to be routine in at least high school textbooks in the early half of the 20th Century (I have seen such. For all I know it showed up in college texts as well, but I'm not familiar with those so I can't speak with any authority on those). It was explained by, basically, white people invading Egypt and taking over, giving any native Africans living there (that is, black people) culture, language, writing, etc. This sort of thing is alluded to by Keita when he says that there is no evidence of people invading from outside Egypt and/or importing a culture into Egypt. The idea arose out of racist ideas that negros were incapable of achieving civilization on their own, and ties in with historical justifications for slavery that are now rejected.

Quote:
What people are denying is that one cannot say the Egyptians as such were exclusively Africans, or viewed themselves as such, or that their accomplishments were a pure African feat (unlike those, for example, of the Bantu). Egypt was much more influenced by the Semitic cultures, the Middle Eastern cultures and the Minoan/Greeks than it was from "inner africa". The Egyptian geostrategy was much more concerned with the mediterranean than it was with the south and the Egyptians treated those to the South as non-equals.

That is certainly the counter-argument to the idea that everything about Egypt arises from the south. I'm not sure they considered those to the north or east their equals either, but it's not uncommon for a nation to believe itself superior to all others.

The more rational folks might say that while the Egyptians were mostly African there is irrefutable evidence of influences from outside Africa at play, both cultural and genetic. It seems there is room for debate on the proportions of African vs. non-African input into Egypt. Certainly by Ptolemaic times the focus seems more on the north. Earlier there might have been more contributions from interior Africa though I've always been puzzled why so few seem willing to accept the idea that Ancient Egypt had many things purely indigenous to the Nile Valley.

And, you may not encounter them, but here in the US there is a subset of people who vehemently deny ANY influence on Egypt from outside of Africa as adamantly as the 19th Century wanted to deny any influence from inside Africa, even when the written records set down by the Egyptians themselves provide evidence to the contrary. Either extreme is a ridiculous distortion of the facts. What I find interesting is that Keita, who is often quoted in support of the "Egyptians are black Africans with no influence from anywhere else" group, does not actually hold that position. We saw that with Vastatosaurus Rex and the threads linked earlier in this thread, and I believe Edi was making reference to it in his comment as well. If you, Thanas, have not encountered these people yourself then count yourself fortunate. They are really, really annoying, on par with religious Fundies, creationists, and flat earthers.

The only way I can explain this is that when Keita talks about Saharan/sub-Saharen influences they latch onto that and go "See! SEE! This PROVES our theory!" while totally ignoring what he says about all the other inputs into Egypt from elsewhere.

So, if nothing else, this thread has informed me about Mr. Keita and what he has actually said, as opposed to what a bunch of extremists think he said.

Quote:
Even more important, the accomplishments of the Egyptian culture and society were not adapted in the South, but in the North, East and West. Via the Minoans (and later the Greeks), the Phoenicians, the various Middle eastern empires etc. it was adapted and transferred to all of what we call today western civilization. It would also be false to speak of an Egyptian civilization as if it was an insular development. This is not the case, the exchange of scientists etc. was common to all cultures back then. Egypt for example was very well known as being a haven for Greek scholars (like Pythagoras) and greek architects found a lot of employment (and opportunities for study) there. Via the Minoan link, Egypt is rightfully claimed by the West and the Middle East as part of their heritage, but not by the south, for it had virtually no impact on inner africa etc. OTOH, its impact on Western civilization is immediate and still really easy to find - just go open your math textbook, for once.

I don't disagree with you. However, the "Egyptians are black Africans" crowd say this is the black man bringing civilization to the white man. Personally, I see no evidence to support this at all. If anything, civilization in the Middle East/Mediterranean/North Africa/Nile Valley regions was a group effort, with many peoples contributing bits and pieces. Again, Keita references this in speaking about domestic animals coming from the Levant - even if most of people of Egypt came from dark-skinned Africa (which is debatable) that is a major, major component of their civilization that came from outside of Africa, and at a very early stage (8k-10k years ago, pre-dynastic, pre-literate Egypt).

Or, as I said in a prior thread - Egypt has always been a crossroads and engaged in commerce. It has always adopted things from other peoples. It has always had a biologically diverse population. It is as wrong to shoehorn Egypt into a box labeled "black African" as it is to attempt to shoehorn them into some other box. But, apparently some people have an agenda.

Quote:
A note - it would be wrong to think of ancient kingdoms in terms of ethnicity. Egypt itself was a cesspool of various tribes and ethnicities.

Well, I'm not sure I'd use the word cesspool due to the negative connotations, but yes, it was and is a melting pot/tossed salad/very diverse/whatever term is fashionable these days.

Again, as I pointed out in a prior thread, Egyptian mummies run the gamut from red haired, pale-skinned "Caucasians" to dark skinned people with sub-Saharan features. Pick any neighbor to Egypt you want, you'll find some Egyptians that look just like them. I don't know why this ever surprised anyone. I don't know why people who live in a world where a man of Japanese descent has been president of Peru and a black man president of the US and most nations have sizable minorities of people with ancestry from far away find it impossible to consider that ancient societies might have also been multi-ethnic. Clearly ancient peoples did move around, if they didn't we'd all still be in Africa instead of all over the globe.

Quote:
What counted in those times was political association, not skin color. Thus, there had been instances of arabs becoming Roman Emperors or North African noblemen becoming the same, or a Greek being the Egyptian chief scientist. The focus on race is a modern invention borne out of nationalism and colonialism, not an ancient way of thinking.

Absolutely. Unfortunately, many modern people just don't know or just don't comprehend that.

I'm hoping the world is moving back to that. Sure, someone might know their ancestors came from a distant continent but their current national/regional/local affiliation is much more important than where their grandfather was born.

I think the meme "Egyptians were invaded by white people with civilization" was part and parcel of a world view that had a great deal of stake in justifying slavery, colonialism, and keeping one group on top and the rest on the bottom. The "Egyptians were all black Africans" is an extreme reaction to that. The latter viewpoint may be more common in areas like the US where race-based slavery persisted for quite awhile, as opposed to other areas where black slavery was less common and/or slavery was not so strongly based on skin color.

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Thus, what people are disputing is not that Egypt is of african origin, what they are disputing is that Egypt can be claimed exclusively to be of African Origin, that the accomplishments of Egpyt belong to some "Greater African heritage" and that Egypt can serve as some poster child for the success of a "black state". What people dispute is the embellishment of Egypt as some sort of attempt on behalf of some zealous afrocentrists to go and say "Hahahah, you white people would never have had anything had it not been for black people, like Egypt", thereby missing the point that the Egyptians themselves did not think of themselves as Africans.

This reminds me of the black Afrocentrist argument that it was black Africa that invented iron-working and no one would have steel if not for them. Well, yes, some sub-Saharan groups did invent a crude form of iron refining and the ability to work iron, but these techniques never spread beyond those groups. Everyone else came up with iron working independently, or got it from somehow outside of sub-Saharan Africa, as I'm sure you're aware of. Egypt is currently believed to have acquired iron working from diffusion from the Anatolia point of origin - again, another bit of proof that Egypt was never entirely African and quite happy to adopt technology from elsewhere.

It's this funny idea that a good idea somehow only shows up once in history. It's not true. Iron working is just one example. Writing is another - it seems writing arose at least four times: China, the Middle East, Egypt, and Central America. It's hilarious to read 19th Century attempts to explain how writing only arose once (usually in Europe, but sometimes China) and then spread elsewhere despite the chronology of the evidence making that impossible. For centuries no one attempted to read Mayan writing because everyone "knew" that writing had only arisen in the Old World, and that after the American Natives had already moved to the western hemisphere. Bizarre, because the invading Spanish knew darn well that the Mayans were writing and deliberately destroyed all their books that they could find. Or, some others in the 19th Century did think those carvings on all those ruins were writing but they were convinced it was somehow related to the Egyptian writing system and even made up stories about Egyptians somehow washing up in Central America to "carry" writing to the ignorant New World savages - again, pernicious ideas about how the New World natives weren't as clever as Old World people played into this.

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EDIT: Note 2: Keita himself uses the word afroasiatic when describing Egypt, which is a much more fitting term than any other for the population of Egypt.

Yes. But I suspect you and I are on the same side in this - I'm just wondering when the OP is going to show up again.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 11:12am 

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Broomstick wrote:
Thanas wrote:
Nobody is denying the "African origins" of Ancient Egypt. How could they? Egypt is in Africa, after all.

Such denials used to be routine in at least high school textbooks in the early half of the 20th Century (I have seen such. For all I know it showed up in college texts as well, but I'm not familiar with those so I can't speak with any authority on those). It was explained by, basically, white people invading Egypt and taking over, giving any native Africans living there (that is, black people) culture, language, writing, etc. This sort of thing is alluded to by Keita when he says that there is no evidence of people invading from outside Egypt and/or importing a culture into Egypt. The idea arose out of racist ideas that negros were incapable of achieving civilization on their own, and ties in with historical justifications for slavery that are now rejected.


Huh. Didn't know that, but doesn't surprise me given the thinking of the time.


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That is certainly the counter-argument to the idea that everything about Egypt arises from the south. I'm not sure they considered those to the north or east their equals either, but it's not uncommon for a nation to believe itself superior to all others.


Well, in their heyday the Egyptians did not consider themselves the equal of anyone. However, the difference was that they repeatedly got their teeth kicked in by the others, but not by the south. When an army with superior technology is right on your doorstep (Hethites) or even conquers you (Assyria) it is pretty hard to keep up the facade of "we're superior").

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The more rational folks might say that while the Egyptians were mostly African there is irrefutable evidence of influences from outside Africa at play, both cultural and genetic. It seems there is room for debate on the proportions of African vs. non-African input into Egypt. Certainly by Ptolemaic times the focus seems more on the north. Earlier there might have been more contributions from interior Africa though I've always been puzzled why so few seem willing to accept the idea that Ancient Egypt had many things purely indigenous to the Nile Valley.


Yes. It is not my specialty but iirc the same thing happened with military technology as well, with an advantage for the Egyptians in the beginning (mostly related to their superior economy due to the nile) and then the balance starts to shift as "western" and "Eastern" technology starts to catch up. Certainly by the Minoan civilization there was near-parity, with an absolute advantage for the west in the area of the greek city states.

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The only way I can explain this is that when Keita talks about Saharan/sub-Saharen influences they latch onto that and go "See! SEE! This PROVES our theory!" while totally ignoring what he says about all the other inputs into Egypt from elsewhere.

So, if nothing else, this thread has informed me about Mr. Keita and what he has actually said, as opposed to what a bunch of extremists think he said.


Keita is absolutely right in pointing out that Egypt did not have one particular face as such. Keep in mind though that Keita is merely one voice among many. There are other legitimate arguments besides his, though they largely disagree only on the degree of overlap, not that one happened. I am personally of the opinion that when Egypt came into contact with other cultures and intermarriages happened, is when the true development of what we regard as ancient Egypt started, because rarely do we see a culture develop things on their own. In fact, when no intermmarriages or contact/mingling of cultures happens, then we get insolar, backwards and stagnating cultures once a certain level has been reached. See China. The fact that Egyptian culture as such was always competitive with the others and remained even an important factor in Roman times, seems to suggest to me that a high degree of mixing and conflicts were quite commonplace (written records also speak of intermarriages and we also see varying skin tones in frescii etc.)


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I don't disagree with you. However, the "Egyptians are black Africans" crowd say this is the black man bringing civilization to the white man. Personally, I see no evidence to support this at all. If anything, civilization in the Middle East/Mediterranean/North Africa/Nile Valley regions was a group effort, with many peoples contributing bits and pieces. Again, Keita references this in speaking about domestic animals coming from the Levant - even if most of people of Egypt came from dark-skinned Africa (which is debatable) that is a major, major component of their civilization that came from outside of Africa, and at a very early stage (8k-10k years ago, pre-dynastic, pre-literate Egypt).


TBH, I don't really care who brought civilization to whom. I think you are correct, but in the long run it barely matters who brought what to whom. What matters is who utilized it and continued to develop it. If any people want to derive a sense of superiority from that, even if we assume they are correct, then this is illogical in itself. For it implies that they had the technology, but were incapable of holding on to it. Which makes them really, really inept.

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Yes. But I suspect you and I are on the same side in this - I'm just wondering when the OP is going to show up again.


Hopefully soon. He at least seems to be willing to debate, instead of posting stuff and then hurling obscenities and racist slurs when contradicted like the other afrocentrists who have shown up so far.
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Big Triece
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 11:27am 

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Spoonist wrote:
@Big Triece Before this descends into snippets could you please give us your view/theory on the inhabitants of the nile through the ages? You see in your opening posts you have made no claims yourself, you have only pointed to Keita.


No problem:

My opinion is that the early ancient Egyptians were an indigenous Northeast African population most closely related to more southerly Northeast African populations. From the Pre-dynastic to the second intermediate period before the New Kingdom the biological evidence that I've came across shows them grouping only with African populations to the south. From the New Kingdom period onwards however major infiltration into the Nile Valley began to take place, coming from the Middle East and Europe and settling primarily in Northern Egypt. This migration has lead to a major population shift from the south to the north and signifigant geneflow from those regions into the Nile Valley, which lead to group Egyptians biologically grouping with non Africans.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 11:36am 

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How do you reconcile this viewpoint with the fact that even in the early Dynastic period, trade was already well underway with the levant, and that in the old Kingdom, trade with Lebanon was crucial for the economy? How do you reconcile it with the fact that developments which occurred first elsewhere, like livestock, was introduced before your time period into Egpt?

But even more importantly, how do you reconcile this with Egyptian writings that speak of major intermingling even before your period, with foreigners from Asia/Levante even seizing power before your cutoff point and drving the indigenous pharaohs into exile?
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Big Triece
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 12:44pm 

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Broomstick wrote:
that is, highly distinct populations or even different creations/species – modern science, particularly modern medicine, does support the concept of variations in populations and external appearance being a marker for some traits and ethnicities.


No one denies that there is physical and genetic variation between geographic populations, but the implication that these populations distinctly conform to contemporary racial categorizations (i.e. Caucasoid, Mongloid, Negroid ect ect) has been debunked by modern science. As you noted though the geographic and environmental variance in populations is very much a factor in medical usage.

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Note that he does state that it is most likely that the current diversity seen in Egypt is similar to that of ancient Egypt.


This is true, but Keita does not give a specific period in Egypt's pharonic history to which the modern diversity would be seen. In that same interview with the National Geographic Keita also states that there is no evidence that Egypt's biological origins are anything other than Northeast African, which directly refutes a claim that the modern diversity was always present in Egypt. It would be silly of anyone to deny that non Africans began to integrate into Egypt throughout its history, and even small scale migration prior to the New Kingdom.

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He also notes that the northern part of Egypt historically does have influxes of non-African people (including ruling dynasties of these origins).


Prior to the New Kingdom Northern Egypt was sparsely populated while the vast majority of Egypt's populations resided in the south. The fact that Northern Egypt is adjacent to the Levant it would make sense that migrants from the Near East would have settled primarily in the section. These major influxes however did not occur until the later part of Egyptian history.

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I would also point out that Egypt equally likely had influxes from the south of dark-skinned African peoples (including ruling dynasties of those origins).


The only problem that I have with this statement is that the population of Upper Egypt (the origins of Dynastic culture) was already the result of settlement from "dark skinned African peoples" from the south. Those people were the original Egyptians, and even to this day Egypt's southern population is for the most part "dark skinned".

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What I get from this is that he is arguing against both a purely northern origin or a purely southern origin for Egypt, either its people or its culture.


I didn't get that from those statements. Keita as well as just about every serious Egyptologist are in agreement that the origins of Dynastic Egyptian culture lies in Upper Egypt. This is the main reason why most studies conducted on the remains of the ancient Egyptians are focused on early Upper Egypt. In fact most Egyptologist even discount that there was even a unified Lower Egyptian state prior to unification.

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In other words, Egypt has always been a mix and the culture of Egypt is truly indigenous to Egypt and not an import from elsewhere.


I also agree with this. The north and the south did have separate cultures, but it was Upper Egyptian culture that dominated and overtook Lower Egyptian culture to form Dynastic Egypt.

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I find this a pleasant surprise, actually, as I have in the past seen Keita as a support for black afro-centric, that is, a southern African origin for all things Egypt. That is not what he is saying in this clip.


Most modern scholars actually attribute Egypt's origins to the south and have been doing so much earlier than Keita's intervention into the subject. Northern Egypt through contact and trade with he Levant did incorporate some techniques from those regions into their own culture, but nothing significant enough to label their culture non African or non indigenous.

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He does point out that the language of Egypt, both modern and ancient IS an “Afro-Asiatic” language, a family that dominates north of the Sahara in regions where people are lighter skinned and would seem to indicate more northern influences


Afro-Asiatic however has it's origins in Sub Saharan East Africa and spread both further into the south and northward up the Nile and bi-directional into both northwestern Africa and the Levant. The only language in the family to be spoken in both Africa and Asia is Semitic. This exact migration of Afro-Asiatic has been confirmed by recent genetic studies that trace the spread of Haplogroup E. As far as "northern influences" could you please go into further detail on them?

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who didn't know the language group of Egypt to guess either Afro-Asiatic or Nilo-Saharic... and give that “Nile” is in both Egypt and the latter language family one might even be inclined to guess Egypt's language is a Nilo-Saharic one. It's not. It's Afro-Asiatic


Despite being an Afro-Asiatic language Egypt was a mixture of both AA and Nilo-Saharan speaking Africans from the south. This mixture of heterogeneous African ancestry is what Keita is implying in his interview with the National Geographic.

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Nor – and this is equally important – it was not a matter of the black/brown skinned people importing a culture to their lighter-skinned northern neighbors. Again, Egyptian culture is indigenous to Egypt.


As far as early Northern Egyptians being "lighter" that is simply speculation. That population was an indigenous tropically adapted one unlike the Levantine populations
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Big Triece
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 01:58pm 

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Broomstick wrote:
There is also evidence of people and culture moving from the Levant – the western part of the Middle East – into that region as well, with much of the evidence being domesticated animals such as sheep and goats which have their origins in the Levant and not Africa.


Incorrect Keita and numerous other scholars refute the claim that Demic Diffusion occurred from the Near East and instead these cultural traits originated in the Sahara with Nilo-Saharan populations. The fact that the ancient Egyptians words for these domesticated animals from the Near East are not loan words from those Near Eastern languages, argues against any sort of mass settling or colonization into Nile Valley at those early times. Furthermore these traits were incorporated into an already established indigenous African agricultural system.

The skeletal remains of these ancient sites also refute the claim that a significant amount or any Near Easterners were present during this period, as the only affinities of these ancient people lie with other inner African populations and not the Near East.

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I'll interject my own point here that the herding cultures of sub-Saharan Africa are unquestionably of "black" sub-Saharan stock even though the original domestication of cattle was not in Africa and the concept and practices has to be imported from elsewhere.


Incorrect the domestication of cattle in Africa has recently been found to have been independent of any non African intervention, the Saharan Nilo-Saharan speakers were likely the original domesticators of these African cattle.

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Certainly, when the Sahara was “wet” and inhabited there was no sharp demarcation between southern and northern Africa, and again, there is clear evidence of influence from what is now the Middle East.


There were also no sharp demarcations because the Sahara and what we now refer to as Sub Saharan Africa. This fact is explained by the numerous ancient Sahara-tropical skeletal remains found in modern Northern African countries like Libya.

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That means all the people in the Americas, Asia, Australia, the South Pacific, and Europe might be more closely related to the Egyptians than they are to the rest of Africa despite very different appearances.


Not necessarily! The most extensive genetic study conducted on Africans found that the East African genetic cluster while it was the closest in relation to the other African clusters to non Africans it was much closer to the other Africans. As far as craniometrical variation this is somewhat true, but the relationship is obviously superficial. The populations whom the ancient Egyptians groups the closest with are obviously Sub Saharan and Saharan East Africans, but due to OOA non Africans tend to group with these Sub Saharan Africans. It should also be noted that recent studies support that that elongated African head shape seen in those populations descend from broad featured Africans.

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That the “whiter” North Africans (those north of the Sahara today) are not the result of Middle Eastern or European migrations back into Africa but that their paler skins and other “Causasian” traits evolved in place, in Africa.


He states that he "can" make that argument, but the fact that half of the North African genetic profile is Eurasian while the other half is Sub Saharan African to me supports that their generally radically different phenotypic variation from most other Africans is the result of admixture from Eurasia.

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So far, what we have is the theory that Egyptians are their own group, evolved in place, and made up of components from a diverse region of Africa with significant variations in appearance, but NOT the result of an invasion or migration from either the north or the south.


How can they not be the result of migration from the south when those migrations are the very reason for early settlement on the Nile?
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Big Triece
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 02:46pm 

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Thanas wrote:
Egypt was much more influenced by the Semitic cultures, the Middle Eastern cultures and the Minoan/Greeks than it was from "inner africa".


I would like to see you source a scholar who agrees with this assertion, otherwise I'll have to contend that this claim is completely unfounded.

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The Egyptian geostrategy was much more concerned with the mediterranean than it was with the south and the Egyptians treated those to the South as non-equals.


How could they have been more concerned with the Northern end of culture in the beginning when it was in Upper Egypt adjacent to Nubia where Dynastic culture originated? If the Mediterranean was the source the civilization then why did Upper Egyptian culture in the Sudan overtake the cultures of the north instead of visa versa?

Also Egyptians treated all non Egyptians as non-equals, as evident by their art. They have Semitic and Libyan captives along side the Nubian ones. None the less out of those three enemies the Nubians have been proven time and time again to be the populations who were ethnically the closest to the ancient Egyptians.

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Even more important, the accomplishments of the Egyptian culture and society were not adapted in the South, but in the North, East and West.


In the Old Kingdom to strengthen northern and southern relations, elites from the south where most of the population resided were buried in the North. None the less at this point it's pretty much futile to argue against Egypt's southern origins.

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Egypt is rightfully claimed by the West and the Middle East as part of their heritage, but not by the south, for it had virtually no impact on inner africa etc. OTOH, its impact on Western civilization is immediate and still really easy to find -


You seem to be explaining the influences of Egypt on later civilizations and not the influence that lead to Dynastic Egyptian culture, which was inner African.

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Thus, what people are disputing is not that Egypt is of african origin, what they are disputing is that Egypt can be claimed exclusively to be of African Origin, that the accomplishments of Egpyt belong to some "Greater African heritage" and that Egypt can serve as some poster child for the success of a "black state".


Egypt's origins were primarily of African origins. It's Dynastic culture stems from the traditions of Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan speaking Africans and that's just the fact dude. As far as some "Greater African heritage" that is primarily an African American thing. In an attempt to recollect history past enslavement here in New World is pretty impossible for the most part without the intervention of genetic testing. From those genetic tests and what we know about African history and migrations it shows that African American "African" ancestry ranging from the Gold Coast and the Red Sea and into the Congo.

The fact that Egyptian is proven to stems from inner African culture and people, to me makes it more of an African accomplishment than anything else. Common sense, without an origin then you cannot leave a "legacy" am I wrong?

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What people dispute is the embellishment of Egypt as some sort of attempt on behalf of some zealous afrocentrists to go and say "Hahahah, you white people would never have had anything had it not been for black people, like Egypt"


That's just a result of the racial mindset that the Western world has been advocating for the past several centuries. While it's ridiculous for anyone to think like that, the fact is people do think this way in our society. What should also be noted is that the "zealous Afrocentrics" are just a result of arrogant racist early Colonial Eurocentric ideas that became mainstream view in Western society. Africans did not see themselves as collective "black" or "African" this was something that was imposed on them by colonialism. It was this idea of grouping people in such a collective manner that lead to those colonial Egyptologist to blatantly lie about the "African" origins of Egypt which some wrote about even back then.

Rather or not you want to call the ancient Egyptians or Northeast Africans in general "black" is entirely up to you, but there is simply no denying the fact that they were indigenous Northeast Africans.

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thereby missing the point that the Egyptians themselves did not think of themselves as Africans.


Nubians did not think of themselves as Africans, the Ashanti did not think of themselves as Africans, the Songhai did not think of themselves as Africans, but none the less they are all regarded as such.

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EDIT: Note 2: Keita himself uses the word afroasiatic when describing Egypt, which is a much more fitting term than any other for the population of Egypt.


Afro-Asiatic is a language family that originated in Sub Saharan East Africa and migrated up the Nile into what later became Egypt. That is no way implies that they were non African.
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Big Triece
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 02:56pm 

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Thanas wrote:
How do you reconcile this viewpoint with the fact that even in the early Dynastic period, trade was already well underway with the levant, and that in the old Kingdom, trade with Lebanon was crucial for the economy?


What does trade with foreign lands have to do with the general population of early ancient Egypt? How does trade with people in Levant negate the fact that the early ancient Egyptians were an indigenous Northeast African population most closely related to African populations to the south of it?

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How do you reconcile it with the fact that developments which occurred first elsewhere, like livestock, was introduced before your time period into Egpt?


You are talking as though there was not already an indigenous African culture and agricultural practices in place when this trade of ideas occurred. These livestock were incorporated into the agricultural system that was already in place. As I noted the fact that the ancient Egyptian words for those live stock introduced were not loan words from the Semitic or Indo European languages argues against settlement or mass migration of those non Africans onto the Nile.

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But even more importantly, how do you reconcile this with Egyptian writings that speak of major intermingling even before your period, with foreigners from Asia/Levante even seizing power before your cutoff point and drving the indigenous pharaohs into exile?


What "Egyptian writings" are you speaking of?
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 03:02pm 

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@Big Triece
When you say "incorrect" followed by a statement reliant on research, could you the please link to the research you say make that claim. Already I can see that your interpretation of Keita's data does not follow Broomstick's interpretation of Keita's data.
So when you make a claim that Keita says X it would be nice to be able to check out the data instead of the interpretation of the data.
Thank you
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Big Triece
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 03:30pm 

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Spoonist wrote:
@Big Triece
When you say "incorrect" followed by a statement reliant on research, could you the please link to the research you say make that claim. Already I can see that your interpretation of Keita's data does not follow Broomstick's interpretation of Keita's data.
So when you make a claim that Keita says X it would be nice to be able to check out the data instead of the interpretation of the data.
Thank you


No problem here are is his co-authored study:

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Ovacaprines appear in the western desert before the Nile valley proper (Wendorf and Schild 2001). However, it is significant that ancient Egyptian words for the major Near Eastern domesticates - Sheep, goat, barley, and wheat - are not loans from either Semitic, Sumerian, or Indo-European. This argues against a mass settler colonization (at replacement levels) of the Nile valley from the Near East at this time. This is in contrast with some words for domesticates in some early Semitic languages, which are likely Sumerian loan words (Diakonoff 1981).. This evidence indicates that northern Nile valley peoples apparently incorporated the Near Eastern domesticates into a Nilotic foraging subsistence tradition on their own terms (Wetterstrom 1993). There was apparently no “Neolithic revolution” brought by settler colonization, but a gradual process of neolithicization (Midant-Reynes 2000). (Also some of those emigrating may have been carrying Haplotype V, descendents of earlier migrants from the Nile valley, given the postulated “Mesolithic” time of the M35 lineage emigration). It is more probable that the current VII and VIII frequencies, greatest in northern Egypt, reflect in the main (but not solely) movements during the Islamic period (Nebel et al. 2002), when some deliberate settlement of Arab tribes was done in Africa, and the effects of polygamy. There must also have been some impact of Near Easterners who settled in the delta at various times in ancient Egypt (Gardiner 1961). More recent movements, in the last two centuries, must not be forgotten in this assessment.

[url]Genetics, Egypt, and History: Interpreting Geographical Patterns of Y Chromosome Variation[/url]

http://wysinger.homestead.com/keita.pdf

S.O.Y. Keita & A. J. Boyce, History in Africa, 32 pp. 221-246 (2005)
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Serafina
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 03:56pm 

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Quote:
What does trade with foreign lands have to do with the general population of early ancient Egypt? How does trade with people in Levant negate the fact that the early ancient Egyptians were an indigenous Northeast African population most closely related to African populations to the south of it?
What "relation" are you talking about? Race? Why should it matter what race they were?
Cultures are shaped mostly by their surroundings - by geography and their neighbors. Egypt prospered due to the Nile (which enabled large-scale agriculture far earlier) and it's access to the Mediterranean Sea. The latter applied to many other cultures of the ancient world, including Rome. The former applied to many other cultures, such as the Mesopotanian High cultures and parts of China. The Greek city states would have not existed in their historical form without their geographical seperation on the greek peninsula. European colonialism was heavily influenced by prevailing winds and sea currents. The industrial revolution was enabled by access to coal and iron in Europe. I could go on like this forever, and i completely left out cultural interactions - the bottom line is that race has nothing to do with Egypts success, or that of any other culture.
If you want to understand cultures, their race is of nearly no concern.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 04:01pm 

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Big Triece wrote:
Thanas wrote:
Egypt was much more influenced by the Semitic cultures, the Middle Eastern cultures and the Minoan/Greeks than it was from "inner africa".


I would like to see you source a scholar who agrees with this assertion, otherwise I'll have to contend that this claim is completely unfounded.


That is rich, demanding citations when you have so far provided none. Nevertheless, what influences were there from inner africa on Egypt? Note that inner africa means the aquetorial regions.

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How could they have been more concerned with the Northern end of culture in the beginning when it was in Upper Egypt adjacent to Nubia where Dynastic culture originated? If the Mediterranean was the source the civilization then why did Upper Egyptian culture in the Sudan overtake the cultures of the north instead of visa versa?


The Mediterranean is the source of civilization, true. This also includes Egypt, which delivered many of the basics. However, metalworking, philosophy etc. are all non-Egyptian inventions. Secondly, civilization does not always translate into superior military strength.

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Also Egyptians treated all non Egyptians as non-equals, as evident by their art. They have Semitic and Libyan captives along side the Nubian ones. None the less out of those three enemies the Nubians have been proven time and time again to be the populations who were ethnically the closest to the ancient Egyptians.


Yes, but the degree of overlap is still a matter of dispute.

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In the Old Kingdom to strengthen northern and southern relations, elites from the south where most of the population resided were buried in the North. None the less at this point it's pretty much futile to argue against Egypt's southern origins.


Learn to read, please. Nobody is denying that part of the population migrated from the south. How is that important when it comes to ascertaining the impact of Egypt on the future development of mankind?


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You seem to be explaining the influences of Egypt on later civilizations and not the influence that lead to Dynastic Egyptian culture, which was inner African.


Do you think the Egyptian culture evolved on its own, without any help from the outside?

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Egypt's origins were primarily of African origins. It's Dynastic culture stems from the traditions of Afro-Asiatic


This is getting comical. If it is Afro-Asiatic, then per definition it is at least significantly Asiatic in part. In short, the definition already has it as a mixed origin.

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The fact that Egyptian is proven to stems from inner African culture and people, to me makes it more of an African accomplishment than anything else.


Remind me again, which great scholars from inner Africa studied in Ancient Egypt and left a lasting impact on civilization?

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Common sense, without an origin then you cannot leave a "legacy" am I wrong?


This proves your point how? Goths had a Scandinavian/Ukrainian origin, yet left their impact primarily on the Roman Empire. The Arabs are as much a part of the civilization of Spain as they are of North Africa. It is not an either or in such cases. History is shifting and cannot be contained in a nationalistic container, no matter how hard some people try.

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That's just a result of the racial mindset that the Western world has been advocating for the past several centuries. While it's ridiculous for anyone to think like that, the fact is people do think this way in our society. What should also be noted is that the "zealous Afrocentrics" are just a result of arrogant racist early Colonial Eurocentric ideas that became mainstream view in Western society. Africans did not see themselves as collective "black" or "African" this was something that was imposed on them by colonialism. It was this idea of grouping people in such a collective manner that lead to those colonial Egyptologist to blatantly lie about the "African" origins of Egypt which some wrote about even back then.


So what? You won't find anybody who argues like that here, so this is rather pointless.

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Rather or not you want to call the ancient Egyptians or Northeast Africans in general "black" is entirely up to you, but there is simply no denying the fact that they were indigenous Northeast Africans.


Not all of them and they quickly intermarried with others, at least where the nobility and the kings were concerned.

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Nubians did not think of themselves as Africans, the Ashanti did not think of themselves as Africans, the Songhai did not think of themselves as Africans, but none the less they are all regarded as such.


And the Egyptians are not regarded primarily as Africans. Why might that be so? Could it be because the egyptians themselves do not claim an African heritage?

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Afro-Asiatic is a language family that originated in Sub Saharan East Africa and migrated up the Nile into what later became Egypt. That is no way implies that they were non African.


Blatant lie.



Big Triece wrote:
What does trade with foreign lands have to do with the general population of early ancient Egypt? How does trade with people in Levant negate the fact that the early ancient Egyptians were an indigenous Northeast African population most closely related to African populations to the south of it?


Trade = intermarriages, exchange of ideas, cultural exchange. For example, scholars would travel from city to city, learning and teaching. Thus, as soon as there is trade, mingling of the culture occurs.

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You are talking as though there was not already an indigenous African culture and agricultural practices in place when this trade of ideas occurred. These livestock were incorporated into the agricultural system that was already in place.


That does in no way answer my question, nor does your ridiculous strawman in any way matter to this discussion, because nobody claimed that there was no agriculture before livestock were introduced. Especially in an area where, thanks to the Nile, livestock was not a conditio sine qua non for agricultural production.

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As I noted the fact that the ancient Egyptian words for those live stock introduced were not loan words from the Semitic or Indo European languages argues against settlement or mass migration of those non Africans onto the Nile.


So? The Roman word legate is not related to the Greek word strategos, yet Greek political and military science influenced Rome nonetheless. So what is your source with regards to this?

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What "Egyptian writings" are you speaking of?


For someone who wants to discuss the origins of ancient Egypt, your knowledge about Egyptian history is pretty much lacking. We have the Hyskos appearing first around 2100 BC (eleventh dynasty) and eventually ruling in the fifteenth dynasty of Egypt. You can read about them in Josephus, or in the Rhind Papyrus. These are also the guys under whose bronze forging was instituted, egyptian documents and writings were first copied en masse, who brought cattle with them, used mass chariots and composite bows. And these are just a few examples of Egypt profiting from "foreign" technology.
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Big Triece
PostPosted: 2011-03-06 04:08pm 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2010-11-01 02:28pm
Posts: 276
Serafina wrote:
Quote:
What does trade with foreign lands have to do with the general population of early ancient Egypt? How does trade with people in Levant negate the fact that the early ancient Egyptians were an indigenous Northeast African population most closely related to African populations to the south of it?
What "relation" are you talking about? Race? Why should it matter what race they were?
Cultures are shaped mostly by their surroundings - by geography and their neighbors. Egypt prospered due to the Nile (which enabled large-scale agriculture far earlier) and it's access to the Mediterranean Sea. The latter applied to many other cultures of the ancient world, including Rome. The former applied to many other cultures, such as the Mesopotanian High cultures and parts of China. The Greek city states would have not existed in their historical form without their geographical seperation on the greek peninsula. European colonialism was heavily influenced by prevailing winds and sea currents. The industrial revolution was enabled by access to coal and iron in Europe. I could go on like this forever, and i completely left out cultural interactions - the bottom line is that race has nothing to do with Egypts success, or that of any other culture.
If you want to understand cultures, their race is of nearly no concern.


That's not what I am getting at with this thread. I am asking why do some people fight tooth and nail against the undenial fact that Egypt's ORIGINS come from inner Africa? It's almost as though some people know that it is the truth, but will tap dance around stating it because of whatever social implications that THEY obviously feel that it will make.
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