Big Triece wrote:
Did you even watch the videos you linked to? Keita specifically mentions domesticates such as goats coming from the Levant.
I meant precisely what I stated and what is consensus amongst mainstream scholars. There is no evidence of Demic Diffusion of farming into the Nile Valley from the Middle East:
Why are you even bring up demic diffision? Who here is saying there was an influx of people from the Middle East? I certainly haven't, in fact, I keep saying the exact opposite
– adoption of foreign things (goats, whatever) does NOT require immigration of foreigners. Are you even reading my posts, or are you trying to make this more adversarial than necessary?
It does not require an invasion of Levantine people in order for a cultural meme such as domestication of animals to spread to other groups. It doesn't make the Egyptians somehow less African to adopt a Levantine technology.
No one is denying that some domesticated livestock were incorporated into the Nile Valley.
Good, I'm glad we got that
What you seem to be implying is that merely the incorporation of these animals is somehow evidence to place Middle Easterners into the Upper Nile Valley during Pre-Dynastic times.
Nope – I've been very clear that it does NOT require a bunch of people from the Middle East for Ancient Egypt to incorporated foreign ideas, technologies, or anything else. There's no question that the Egyptians had a lot of native know-how and ingenuity in any area of endeavor you care to name.
The only one to discuss non-Africans going into Egypt to any degree was Thanas, and if I read his posts right he was emphasizing the trade and scholarly connections which at least as much to do with foreigners coming to Egypt to learn from the Egyptians then returning to their homes as anything else.
You are totally mis-reading my posts if you think I'm advocating some sort of “invasion” from outside Africa. I think some of the Lower Egyptians were paler than the Upper, but there's enough variation withing African to account for all of that. It does not require a Levantine migration of any sort.
Loan words are not always indicative of adoption of foreign technology or cultural memes.
Again no one is denying that those traits came from the Levant, what has been dismissed by Keita and other scholars are that the idea that the incorporation of these animals into the already in place foraging system was the result of mass settlement. The fact that these words did not stem from Near Eastern languages is simply evidence of the latter, not that cultural exchange did not occur.
Again – I am NOT “advocating” what you think I am. WHERE did you get this idea? I've been very clear that while there may have been non-African influences on Egypt that does NOT require a population displacement.
Due to both human nature and sheer proximity there was undoubtedly some
population exchange between Egypt and the Levant but it was minor at best as far as affecting the Egyptian genetics, and it would be just as accurate to describe it as an African influence on the Middle East, as it would have gone both ways (the Biblical Exodus, while not up to historical levels of proof, can be read as an African invasion of the Middle East given that the Israelites had been in Egypt quite some time and thus would have been Africanized, if they weren't wholly of African origin to begin with).
Trade, ideas, technologies, and agricultural products were what were exchanged more than people. Egypt benefited far more from this exchange from other African nations that had less access to the Middle East, and it's part of what made Egypt unique. That doesn't mean anyone is saying the Levant invaded, or even contributed a significant number of people at any time.
There might well have been an indigenous tradition of domesticating animals, that doesn't prove domestic goats did not come from the Levant rather than Africa.
Again no one is denying that Goat as well as other livestock did not filter into the Nile from the Levant. What I am arguing against are the implications made by you that this places Levantine people into the Upper Nile.
I'm glad we finally agreed about the damn goats!
And NO – one more time, I am NOT saying a bunch of Levantines invaded Egypt. WHERE are you getting this from?
That is irrelevant to findings that he and just about every other anthropologist studying Egyptian remains have already made and have concluded about skeletal remains found in the region. As Mentuhotep has stated above Keita maintains that based on those skeletal remains the ancient Egyptians biologically resembled modern Horn African populations (which he states in the article that I posted on page one). If I'm not mistaking somewhere in either his literature or an email to a student he states that the ancient Egyptians would have been "Somali like" in appearance, based on their skeletal remains.
In other words, they would have fallen somewhere among the various shades we currently see in that region, which vary from what I would call a medium dark to very dark. Or, more likely, Ancient Egypt would have had a range
of skin colors, with people tending to be a bit lighter (but not what we would call “white”) in the north and a bit dark in the south. That's one of the reasons it's silly to say “What color were the Egyptians?” because they aren't and never were any one color.
North Africans are still Africans and they unquestionably contributed to Ancient Egypt. That doesn't mean they were in the majority numerically.
By North Africans do you mean the Maghreb?
Yes. What else could I have possibly meant? Is there a different
“north part of Africa” we're unaware of?
The Maghreb including parts of the Sahara and the Sahel which has already been noted as a major contributor to the original populating of the Nile.
Yes. What I've been saying – there were other influences besides just Nubia at work here.
No one denying that the Egyptians are African, I think the dispute is the proportion of southern vs. northern and indigenous vs. foreign influences.
There in my opinion is no dispute for the issues that you listed. The vast majority of Egypt's early population was Upper Egyptian in origin and it is Upper Egypt where the Dynastic culture has been confirmed to have originated.
So are you totally ignoring anyone who isn't Upper Egyptian or Nubian, or do you acknowledge that other influences are part of what made Egypt distinct from its neighbors?
The Indigenous aspects of Egypt are overwhelming and are considered African in origin by most contemporary scholars:
Uh, yeah – is there anyone arguing that Egypt is somehow NOT “mostly African”? Seriously? I haven't seen one person in this thread make that statement, although I did reference that that erroneously information used to be, in the past
the “accepted wisdom”. It was mentioned strictly to refuted it. Absolutely NO ONE in this thread is claiming that Egypt is a result of a foreign invasion. Why are you fixated on this? It's a non-issue.
"From Petrie onwards, it was regularly suggested that despite the evidence of Predynastic cultures, Egyptian civilization of the 1st Dynasty appeared suddenly and must therefore have been introduced by an invading foreign 'race'. Since the 1970s however, excavations at Abydos and Hierakonpolis have clearly demonstrated the indigenous, Upper Egyptian roots of early civilization in Egypt. (Ian Shaw ed. (2003) The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt By Ian Shaw. Oxford University Press, page 40-63)
AS NOTED – this “invasion” bullshit USED to be the party line – NO ONE here has advocated it.
This is where the “afro-centric” argument starts to look extreme, with a denial that there were and always have been non-African influences at work on Egypt.
I really take offense to anyone attempting to label me an "afro-centric" as it tends to be associated with negative "racist" connotations. I see nothing "afro-centric" at all about asserting the African origins or ancient Egypt, which has for centuries been fought tooth and nail against by truly and overtly "racist" individuals for obvious social and political reasons.
Nor is it a denial of African origins to point out that Nubia was not the sole influence on Ancient Egypt, and that the lighter skinned (that is, not so much “white” but relatively lighter) peoples of the Lower and Delta regions were just as African
as their darker neighbors.
If that's NOT your position don't get your panties in a twist over it.
I'm pointing out that the stereotypical Afro-centristic denies the contribution of anyone that isn't sufficiently African enough (which is all too often code for “black enough”) and that's just as inaccurate as those in the past who refused to acknowledge that dark skinned people could form a civilization on their own. Egypt was neither a “white” empire nor a “black” one, it was an Egyptian
empire. It is doubtful that the Ancient Egyptians would recognize modern racial divisions, they might even consider them silly or ridiculous. They stereotypical Afro-centrist doesn't want evidence, he wants support for a political viewpoint.
I don't think that's what you're saying, for what it's worth.
Belgian geneticist Olivier Hanotte, who headed the new study, said the research "reconciles the two schools of thought" about how cattle domestication occurred in Africa.
"There were Near Eastern influences" on African herds, he said, "but they came after local domestication."
Since then, there has been considerable mixing of African and Asian breeds
Like I said, the trade went both ways. I'd love to throw that in the face of some people I know, whose heads would explode at the notion that the Middle East had any sort of influx from African. Only a racist would fail to acknowledge that there was and always has been some level of exchange between the Middle East and Africa. Hell, there's evidence of such even before H. sapiens
arrived on the scene, all the way back to H. erectus
. And, as I said, the exchange went both ways.
Again, that does not
mean anyone is proposing some sort of Levantine invasion. “Exchange” does not require that. If anything, we have some evidence of the opposite
occurring, people leaving Africa for the Middle East, but that's getting away from the main discussion of Egypt.
OK, let's take this one more time, just a bit slower. A bit of data like “non-Africans are more closely related to Egyptians than to all other Africans” does not negate another bit of data like “Egyptians are African” or even “Egyptians are more closely related to other Africans than to non-Africans”. Saying my cousin is more closely related to me than, oh, the current Emperor of Japan in no way negates that my sister is more closely related to me than my cousin.
Well what I got from your statement was that through the fact that all non African descend from Northeast Africans and for that reason resemble Northeast Africans in some biological aspects that it created some superficial relationship between the Egyptians (who are Northeast Africans) and non Africans. The only way in which I can think of off the top of my head in which non Africans are closer to Northeast Africans than other Africans are is crania morphology. Yet as you noted above relying on this practice alone is not enough to come to such a conclusion. Therefore I referred to an unpresented genetic study of Africans in which it refutes such a notion that Northeast Africans are closer to non Africans than other Africans.
Look, anyone leaving Africa on foot had to
go through the north east, and the Nile Delta region is a heck of a lot more hospitable than some of the alternative routes. Likewise, travel along the northern coast is easier that going through the Sahara. In other words, it's a lot easier to see the relatively pale northerners making it to the Middle East in significant numbers than, say, people from the Congo region. IF pale skin/hair evolved in the region north of the Sahara and IF those people found it easier to make the trek then it might well account for why most other people in the world are paler than sub-Saharan Africans (which notable exceptions, which probably had to do with settling in tropical climates and re-evolving dark skin). That doesn't mean no one
dark skinned ever left Africa, I'm sure quite a few did, but they might not have been the majority. Granted, that's mostly speculation
However, the genetic information gives us a bunch of different lineages in Africa, and fewer elsewhere. Where there is overlap, it seems to overlap “some people in north east or north Africa” with “everywhere else in the world”. That's based on Y chromosomes and mitochondria, not crania. Genes are a little harder to see with the naked eye than skull shape, and the technology to study them is much more recent. This makes sense when you look at the geography, too.
Of course, you have to be careful about making definitive statement because people do wander around, some of them a great deal. Sometimes you find a skeleton in the “wrong” place because of that. This is becoming much more common with modern transportation, but travel has always existed. There are also conditions like albinism and melaninsm that can throw off the casual observer. That's why this is all averages and statistics and number crunching.
One would expect some gene flow from Egypt to the Middle East just given geography.
With gene flow from the Middle East or a foreign area in general comes a biological affinity towards the population from which it's coming from. So far I have come across no evidence that earlier Egyptian biological affinity lies with Middle Eastern populations. I have only come across empirical evidence that both Northern and Southern Egyptians were indigenous tropically adapted African populations.
Um... you quoted me talking about flow from Egypt to the Middle East and you somehow turned that completely around. Please tell me that was not deliberate. Are you reading what I'm saying, or what you want to hear? This is a classic example of how you are totally misreading what I say, to the point you quote me then misrepresent my position as the opposite
of what I actually just said.
it makes sense that the genetics would reflect that, with Egyptians showing a closer relationship to non-Africans than any other Africans.
Not necessarily! Modern Upper Egyptians (such as the man in the video that I posted earlier) while they along with some Lower Nubian populations have absorbed somewhat substantial gene flow from the Near East and Europe over time are still primarily African genetically and group with other African populations before they do non Africans.
One more time – just because there is more affinity between a particular African population and the non-African population in the rest of the world does not make that group any less African
. It's NOT that the African group is somehow closer to everyone else, they certainly can be closer to Africans than non-Africans, it's that the non-Africans are closer to them
And of all the African groups, all of which appear to be more closely related to each other than any of those Africans are to non-African groups, Egypt is the one that is slightly
closer to non-Africans than any of the other Africans. Egypt is still closer to the rest of Africa than to, say, Australia but it remains that the connection from Africa to the rest of the world seems to run through Egypt. Perhaps I could have been clearer on that, I admit, but if you read what I've been saying you'll see my point.
Got that? Egyptians can be closer to other Africans than to anyone else. At the very same time, Europeans, Asians, etc. can be closer to Egyptians than any other Africans. This bit is not about the relationship of Egypt to other Africans, it's about how everyone else
is related to Africans. And this is consistent with technological exchange, and with geographic trade and travel routes. The route into or out of Africa, aside from boats, was through Egypt.
Northern Egyptians on the other hand have received the brunt of every European and Asian migration or invasion into the Nile Valley, and for this reason Keita and others find that out of the two they are the least likely to resemble their early Egyptian ancestors. They as you noted above do tend to group genetically and craniometrically with non African populations.
Which is why we have to be careful in discussing time periods, don't we? During the Egyptian Empire there were more instances of Egypt going into the Middle East than vice versa. There were some times when a Middle Eastern group did get a toehold, but never in sufficient numbers to displace the native population (if they had, it would be reflected in the mitochondrial and Y chromosome data. It's not). No doubt this was partly because the Nile River could support relatively large populations, and the native Egyptians would tend to vastly outnumber invaders. The later invasions were documented historically, in writing (albeit tending to be very biased depending on the writer) and were most significant from the Medieval period forward, well after the time we're discussing here.
However, even today's northern Egyptians still
show “African” mitochondria and Y chromosomes. I put “African” in quotes because those same “African” traits are actually found at a low rate all over the world. That's because no one is “pure” and people have always traveled. Genes get around. It's all about statistical rates of occurrence. These traits may show up a little less often among today's northern Egyptians, but they show up more often than anywhere outside of African and still shows that northern Egypt is still
predominantly of African descent. Yes, some outside genes have had an effect on the phenotypes. Back in the Egyptian Empire times you'd probably find a similar sort of thing in the Middle East, that is, an influx of genes from outside of that particular region and probably a significant contribution from Africa, primarily Egypt. You'd also find some from further into Africa, but at a lower rate, simply because it would be harder for people further away to make the journey, and more likely for those genes to take a couple generations to travel through intermediate cultures.
Those other influences are part of what make them distinctly Egyptian.
How so? If Upper Egyptian culture from which Dynastic Egyptian culture came is confirmed to be "indigenous" (meaning locally African) then how would the "other influences" which you indicate as being "foreign" to Africa and Egypt make them "distinctly Egyptian"?
As an example - the Egyptians might have imported Levantine goats, but they developed their own breeds that were better suited to their needs and environment. Or, when the Egyptians adopted certain types of metal technology they didn't make metal items exactly like those from whom they got the techniques, they make objects in an Egyptian style. Egyptian adoption and assimilation of things from elsewhere set them apart from their other neighbors.
But mostly, by “other influences” I mean other than just the Upper Egypt/Nubian ones you so strongly favor. Again, a group doesn't have to been in the majority to have an impact. It is ludicrous to completely ignore than Lower Egypt contributed to the empire as well, even if they were not the numerical majority.
Again, as a recent example – Americans of recent African descent are only about 20% of the US population. So... 80% of Americans don't look like them, don't carry the typically African gene markers, don't share their African skeletal features, and so forth. Yet that 20% has had an enormous impact on US culture, from music to dance to food... not to mention being a factor in a civil war.
Biologically, that is, in genes and body type, the northern Egyptians were never a majority. No one is arguing they were. But culture and civilization is more
than just genes. While we can present data that the north was not the major biological influence the data is more sketchy on what else they may or may not have contributed. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The only honest answer is “we don't know for sure”.
No doubt, given the significant difference between the climate and topography of Upper and Lower Egypt they did make different contributions. For sure, papyrus technology came from the Delta, because that's where the stuff is native to and grows best, and having paper/papyrus had a significant impact on Egyptian writing and record keeping. Don't forget, most of what we know comes from massive stone carvings and tomb items, which almost certainly trace back to Upper Egypt. But, due to higher rainfall and more arable land, the Lower and Delta regions might have had more agricultural impact. They might have had more effect in non-stone architecture (not everything was built of stone, of course). The major petroleum deposits are in the north eastern part of Egypt, and are the ancient source of things like bitumen, which was used for waterproofing everything from boats to (in some eras) mummies. Gold mining was originally alluvial, and also concentrated in the Eastern Desert. It was not until the New Kingdom that Nubian gold veins were tapped, so in the early period gold came not from the south/Upper Egypt but from the north and east. Sea salt would have had to come from the Delta, and it goes without saying salt was an important commodity in the ancient world. Sea-based trade would of necessity been based in the Delta. These are some of the ways in which the northerners could have significant impact on the civilization without being a numerical majority.
and proximity to Europe it would be odd if there wasn't some mixing going on, but you could just as easily argue that North Africa influenced southern Europe as much as vice versa.
Yes. Something I've been pointing out for several threads now – any exchange went both ways. Egypt was and always has been a crossroads. That is part of what makes it uniquely Egypt. It's not that the Kingdom of Kush (what we now call Nubia) wasn't a powerful and important nation in its day, but because it did not share certain traits with Egypt (among them easier trade with others, particularly in the Middle East) it was not as wealthy or influential. Geography matters. Between the Nile River and ease of access to the Middle East Egypt, not to mention the protective barriers of desert and mountain, Egypt was uniquely placed to be able to trade at will, but be very hard to invade and conquer. This gave it a stability not seen by any nation in the Middle East, and a culture of wide-ranging trade and exchange with people outside of Africa not shared with any African nation below the Sahara.
Because you consistently deny the contributions of those who did not originate south of Egypt in making up what we know as Dynastic Egypt. Again, those other groups don't ever have to be a majority by numbers to have a significant impact.
The problem that I have with this assertion on your behalf is that you have presented no evidence biological evidence even suggesting that they were present in Pre-Dynastic Upper Egypt. You seem to base your belief that they were somehow in Upper Egypt on the presence of goats in the Nile Valley and nothing more than speculation beyond that. There is no cold hard evidence for your claim.
Biology isn't the only evidence used in history. Cultural impact also counts. For example – papyrus is a Delta
product, not an Upper Egypt product, yet it was used in Upper Egypt as extensively as anywhere else. Egypt had trade all up and down the Nile, with products going from one end of the country to the other. Although Upper Egypt had some agriculture and irrigation works, simple climate and geography dictated that the north was always more productive agriculturally than the south, and no doubt contributed heavily to keep everyone fed. Likewise, the hard rock used in monumental architecture wasn't coming from the silty ground of the north, it had to come from more southerly regions. The biology of the people don't dictate these things, geography does.
And, once again, you are somehow conflating “northern Egyptian” with “non-African”. Why do you continue to do this? I haven't stated over and over that northern Egyptian are JUST as African as southern Egyptians
. Is it that hard a concept? The goats might have been imported, by and large the people were not. Once the empire was united it does those people a disservice to view them as somehow “not Egyptian enough”. Lower Egyptians were as much a part of Egypt as Upper Egyptians.