Re-appraising the Tasian-Badarian divide in the Qau-Matmar region: a critical review of cultural proxies and a comparative analysis of burial dress

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The Tasian culture was first introduced by Guy Brunton in order to describe a small number of graves and ‘village’ objects in the Qau-Matmar region in Middle Egypt. Even though these resembled Badarian remains, Brunton advanced several arguments in order to support the notion that these belonged to a distinct pre-Badarian cultural phase. The purpose of the present paper is to re-evaluate the Tasian-Badarian cultural divide. Brunton’s criteria are first scrutinised, resulting in the questioning of their validity to construct a distinct Tasian culture. This critique is further substantiated through the results of various analyses of Tasian and Badarian burial dress (i.e. beads, shells, feathers, and bangles). These show that both grave groups cannot be differentiated on account of the types of dress used, as well as their spatial distributions, materials, technologies, attributes, and burial positions. More importantly, they possibly reveal that in both burial groups the deceased were dressed with analogous items in order to construct a sex and/or age-related identity of the deceased during burial practices. On this basis, this paper proposes that the Tasian-Badarian divide in the Qau-Matmar region is no longer tenable, and that both groups of archaeological remains may rather be merged into a single archaeological unit.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEgypt at its Origins 5
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Fifth International Conference “Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt”, Cairo, 13th – 18th April 2014
EditorsBéatrix Midant-Reynes, Yann Tristant, Ellen M. Ryan
Number of pages42
ISBN (Print)978-90-429-3443-6
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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