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The Egyptian Predynastic and State Formation

Stevenson, A; (2016) The Egyptian Predynastic and State Formation. Journal of Archaeological Research , 24 (4) pp. 421-468. 10.1007/s10814-016-9094-7. Green open access

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When the archaeology of Predynastic Egypt was last appraised in this journal, Savage (2001a, p. 101) expressed optimism that “a consensus appears to be developing that stresses the gradual development of complex society in Egypt.” The picture today is less clear, with new data and alternative theoretical frameworks challenging received wisdom over the pace, direction, and nature of complex social change. Rather than an inexorable march to the beat of the neo-evolutionary drum, primary state formation in Egypt can be seen as a more syncopated phenomenon, characterized by periods of political experimentation and shifting social boundaries. Notably, field projects in Sudan and the Egyptian Delta together with new dating techniques have set older narratives of development into broader frames of reference. In contrast to syntheses that have sought to measure abstract thresholds of complexity, this review of the period between c. 4500 BC and c. 3000 BC transcends analytical categories by adopting a practice-based examination of multiple dimensions of social inequality and by considering how the early state may have become a lived reality in Egypt around the end of the fourth millennium BC.

Type: Article
Title: The Egyptian Predynastic and State Formation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10814-016-9094-7
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10814-016-9094-7
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2016 Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: State formation; Social complexity; Neo-evolutionary theory; Practice theory; Kingship; Predynastic Egypt
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1496035
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