Image of 5th nome sign
Fifth Nome

Nubt (Naqada)


 "The Golden City"





 wadi hammamat



Predynastic Times

Nubt is justly revered as a site that has been used since predynastic times. Our elders say it was one of the largest predynastic sites in ancient times. There may have been a planned town here 100 years before the first dynasty.

Around 3500-3000 BC, there were three confederacies in Upper Kemet. One was the Confederacy of Nubt, which included the towns of Nubt, Gebtu, Gesy, Madu, Wast (Thebes), Iuny (Armant), and Djerty. There was also the Confederacy of Abydos and the Confederacy of Nekhen.

Over time, Egyptians have gone on pilgrimages to Nubt, Nekhen, and Abedju because of their ties to the early leaders. Nubt was the necropolis for the first dynasty, and with Gebtu, it was in a good position to be the center of the predynastic gold trade. Set was born around here and was connected to kings from the Early Dynasty on. First Dynasty queens had a title "she who sees Horus and Set." Peribsen from the 2nd Dynasty emphasized Set.

We have found lots of pottery and cylinder seals with names like Narmer, Aha, and so on. Cylinder seals are carved seals that came to Egypt in predynastic or Early Dynastic times, probably from far off Sumeria. Egyptians used the seals to imprint titles onto clay. Some had metal handles. Many in the early dynasties were held in the hand and were shaped like a scarab. They could be made of black steatite, serpentine, ivory, or wood, and they could be carried on the cord around the neck. Three kilometers northwest of what seers say will be the village of Naqada is a mastaba reputed to have stone vases and ivory labels and clay sealings with the name of Aha and Neithhotep.

Some say there are remains of predynastic Nubt in what they call the "South Town." They say predynastic Nubt probably had 50-250 people and covered a few thousand square meters to three hectares. It was a walled town of brick, connected to cemeteries. Cemetery T is rumored to be a rich cemetery, with 2,149 graves in 17 acres. But don't go digging. One person claims they weren't digging, but they did find a sherd fragment from a large black-topped red-ware vase (from Naqada I). The sherd has what looks like the red crown Narmer wears on his macehead. As everyone knows, the Red Crown is later associated with Lower Egypt. Could the symbolic Red Crown have been applied to the Lower Egypt but really started in our city? Red is of course associated with Set, and Nubt is a center for Set. Could the red color originally refer to him? The next time you see a picture of the red crown, think of Nubt.

What were our early ancestors like? Seers say that future people will name our ancestors after our city.

Naqada I

They might call 4000-3500 B.C. the Naqada I period, or Amratian. There are similar items found from Deir Tasa to Nekhen to Nubia, all belonging to the same period, and there is a concentration of sites between Nubt and Abedju/Abydos.

Some of the earliest settlements may have been camps on levees by the River edge, but this is all gone, of course. At the edge of the Nubt floodplain was one of the earliest and largest settlements. Nubt was over 90 square meters; predynastic Nekhen was smaller. The Nile fluctuated every 50 years, and when a low Nile period coincided with a low rainfall, people drew nearer the river valley as things dried up.

The earliest Egyptians had wattle and daub oval huts with hearths. They used wind breaks and cooking pots, bifacial flint knives, basalt vases, mace-heads, slate palettes, and ivory carvings. They had ritual figures of ivory or clay that could be animals or humans. Metal was rare. At first they had black-topped pottery, but that lost out to red pottery, some with white designs. The earliest graves were shallow. They covered their dead with matting, twigs, or animal skins.

Naqada II

Future people might also call 3500-3000 B.C. the Naqada II period, or Gerzean. Items from this development have been found from the Delta to the Nubian border, with most found south of Abydos. Men and women braided their hair and wore shell or stone bead necklaces. People have found Palestinian-influenced pots with tilted spouts and handles. There was more trade than before. They also had light-colored pottery of clay and calcium carbonate. At first, they decorated their pots with red patterns, but then they decorated with drawings of animals, boats, trees, and herds. Pottery was probably mass-produced in certain areas for trade. Copper was used for weapons and jewelry. They also used gold foil and silver, flint blades, and beads and amulets of metal and lapis lazuli. These Egyptians had brick houses, although they were small, one-room houses with an enclosed courtyard. They had irrigation projects. A temple at Nekhen had battered walls. Sometime in the late predynastic, people of the south tried to conquer the north. Like good Egyptians, they had funerary pottery, mortuary cults, and graves with niches for offerings. Some graves are reputed to have plastered, painted walls with rectangular pits lined with branches woven together. Our ancient ancestors put burnished pottery in the north and wavy handled jars in the south section of the tomb. Important people were buried in larger tombs away from others, showing class distinction for the first time.

 two falcons    two falcons    two falcons    two falcons


Bunson, Bunson, Margaret. (1991). "cylinder seals," "Egypt", "Naqada." A Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kamil, Jill. (1984, 1996). The Ancient Egyptians: Life in the Old Kingdom. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press.

Parsons, Marie. (1999-2003). "Naqada." Tour Egypt Feature Story. InterCity Oz, Inc.

Manley, Bill. (1996). The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt. NY: Penguin Putnam, Inc.

Shaw, Ian, and Paul Nicholson. (1995, 2003). "Naqada." The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. New York: Harry N Abrams, Inc.








Fifth Nome