Natufians: their Nile Valley - Levantine connections...

Biological Relations of Egyptians and Eastern Mediterranean Populations during pre-dynastic and Dynastic Times
Journal of Human Evolution
1972 (1) pg 307-313:

“Against this background of disease, movement and pedomorphic reduction off body size one can identify Negroid (Ethiopic or Bushmanoid?) traits of nose and prognathism appearing in Natufian latest hunters (McCown, 1939) and in Anatolian and Macedonian first farmers (Angel, 1972), probably from Nubia via the predecesors of the Badarians and Tasians….".

X-ray Atlas of the Royal Mummies (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1980).

Courtesy of James Harris and Edward Wente:

The difference between late XVII and XVIII dynasty royal mummies and contemporary Nubians is slight. During the XVIV and XX dynasties we see possibly some mixing between a Nubian element that is more similar to Mesolithic Nubians (low vaults, sloping frontal bone, etc.), with an orthognathous population. Since the Ramessides were of northern extraction, this could represent miscegenation with modern Mediterraneans of Levantine type. The projecting zygomatic arches of Seti I suggest remnants of the old Natufian/Tasian types of the Holocene period.

If the heads of Queens Nodjme and Esemkhebe are any indication, there may have been a new influx of southern blood during the XXI Dynasty.

In summation, the New Kingdom Pharaohs and Queens whose mummies have been recovered bear strong similarity to either contemporary Nubians, as with the XVII and XVIII dynasties, or with Mesolithic-Holocene Nubians, as with the XVIV and XX dynasties. The former dynasties seem to have a strong southern affinity, while the latter possessed evidence of mixing with modern Mediterranean types and also, possibly, with remnants of the old Tasian and Natufian populations. From the few sample available from the XXI Dynasty, there may have been a new infusion from the south at this period.

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The Emergence of the Natufian

The emergence of the Natufian is explained by Bar-Yosef (1998) as follows: “On the one hand, climatic improvements around 13,000BP provided a wealth of food resources. On the other hand, contemporaneous population growth in both the steppic and desertic regions made any abrupt, short-term climatic fluctuation a motivation for human groups to achieve control over resources” (p.167). He sees a semi-sedentary lifestyle resulting from environmental change which led to a “shift of resource scheduling” (p.167).

Fellner (1995) states that “the transition from the Geometric Kebaran to the Early Natufian culture can be described as the most important cultural change within the Epipalaeolithic of Palestine, as the lifestyle of the Natufian groups differed very substantially from that practiced by their Geometric Kebaran ancestors” (p.122) The Natufian is usually seen as a key stage in Near Eastern Prehistory as it represents many features usually associated with the Neolithic. - courtesy of neareast historians, uk; epipaleolithic background.

The Mushabian-Natufian connection:

Pleistocene connections between Africa and SouthWest Asia: an archaeological perspective.
By Dr. Ofer Bar-Yosef, 1987;
The African Archaeological Review;
Chapter 5, pg 29-38.

“The Mushabians moved into the Sinai from the Nile Delta, bring North African lithic chipping techniques.”

“Thus the population overflow from Northeast Africa played a definite role in the establishment of the Natufian adaptation, which in turn led to the emergence of agriculture as a new subsistence system.”

But then we have this:

The Mushabian is founded in southern Jordan, the Negev, and Sinai. It is usually divided into an earlier phase (c.14,500-12,800bp) and a later phase which overlaps with the Early Natufian (12,800-11,000bp).

The Classic Mushabian is characterized by a dominance of arched-back bladelets, La Mouillah points, and scalene triangles, all of which were truncated at one end using the microburin technique. Helwan lunates are also featured.

Evidence for economic activities are few and far between – there are very few botanical or faunal remains, but some rare pounding tools suggest that plant exploitation was a feature of the economy. Bar-Yosef and Meadow (1999) hypothesize that the subsistence strategies employed in the Mushabian were much the same as those of the steppic Geometric Kebaran and Hamran groups.

The Mushabian was traditionally thought to derive from North Africa via the Nile Delta and the Sinai: “The Mushabian sites in Sinai are interpreted as the remains of mobile groups budded off from the Nile region who were attracted to the expanding, lusher steppic environment” (Bar-Yosef and Meadow 1999, p.55). This view was based on the early occurrence of the microburin technique in industries like the Sisilian. “However, the recent discovery of even earlier use of the microburin technique in the Azraq Basin fundamentally weakens the argument, and may even indicate diffusion of this technique in the other direction” (Fellner 1995, p.26). Fellner believes that the Mushabian is most likely to derive from the Nizzanian of the Negev. - courtesy of neareast historians, uk; epipaleolithic background.


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