Naqada III
Naqada III (Egypt)
Naqada III (Northeast Africa)
Geographical rangeEgypt
PeriodEarly Bronze I
Datesc. 3,300 BC – 2,900 BC[1]
Major sitesNaqada, Tarkhan, Nekhen
Preceded byNaqada II
Followed byEarly Dynastic Period (Egypt)
The Narmer Palette, thought to mark the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt; note the images of the goddess Bat at the top, as well as the serpopards that form the central intertwined image.

Naqada III is the last phase of the Naqada culture of ancient Egyptian prehistory, dating from approximately 3200 to 3000 BC.[2] It is the period during which the process of state formation, which began in Naqada II, became highly visible, with named kings heading powerful polities. Naqada III is often referred to as Dynasty 0 or the Protodynastic Period[2] to reflect the presence of kings at the head of influential states, although, in fact, the kings involved would not have been a part of a dynasty. In this period, those kings' names were inscribed in the form of serekhs on a variety of surfaces including pottery and tombs.


The Protodynastic Period in ancient Egypt was characterised by an ongoing process of political unification, culminating in the formation of a single state to begin the Early Dynastic Period. Furthermore, it is during this time that the Egyptian language was first recorded in hieroglyphs. There is also strong archaeological evidence of Egyptian settlements in southern Canaan during the Protodynastic Period, which are regarded as colonies or trading entrepôts.

State formation began during this era and perhaps even earlier. Various small city-states arose along the Nile. Centuries of conquest then reduced Upper Egypt to three major states: Thinis, Naqada, and Nekhen. Sandwiched between Thinis and Nekhen, Naqada was the first to fall. Thinis then conquered Lower Egypt. Nekhen's relationship with Thinis is uncertain, but these two states may have merged peacefully, with the Thinite royal family ruling all of Egypt. The Thinite kings were buried at Abydos in the Umm el-Qa'ab cemetery.

Early Egyptologists such as Flinders Petrie were proponents of the Dynastic race theory which hypothesised that the first Egyptian chieftains and rulers were themselves of Mesopotamian origin,[3] but this view has been abandoned among modern scholars.[4][5][6][7][8]

Most Egyptologists consider Narmer to be both the last king of this period and the first king of the First Dynasty. He was possibly preceded over some parts of Upper Egypt by Crocodile, Iry-Hor, Ka, and perhaps by the king Scorpion II, whose name may refer to, or be derived from, the goddess Serket, a special early protector of other deities and the rulers.[9]

Naqada III extended all over Egypt and was characterized by some notable firsts:

And at best, a notable second:

According to the Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities, in February, 2020, Egyptian archaeologists have uncovered 83 tombs dating back to 3,000 B.C, known as the Naqada III period. Various small ceramic pots in different shapes and some sea shells, makeup tools, eyeliner pots, and jewels were also revealed in the burial.[12][13]

Decorative cosmetic palettes

Main article: Cosmetic palette

Many notable decorative palettes are dated to Naqada III, such as the Hunters Palette.

Other artifacts

See also


  1. ^ Hendrickx, Stan. "The relative chronology of the Naqada culture: Problems and possibilities [in:] Spencer, A.J. (ed.), Aspects of Early Egypt. London: British Museum Press, 1996: 36-69": 64. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b Shaw 2000, p. 479.
  3. ^ Derry, D.E. (1956). "The Dynastic Race in Egypt". Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. 42: 80–85. doi:10.1177/030751335604200111. S2CID 194596267.
  4. ^ Wilkinson, Toby (1999). Early dynastic Egypt. London: Routledge. p. 15. ISBN 0415186331.
  5. ^ Yurco, Frank (1996). "An Egyptological Review". (1996). Black Athena revisited. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 62–100. ISBN 0807845558.((cite book)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Zakrzewski, Sonia R. (2007). Population continuity or population change: Formation of the ancient Egyptian state. Highfield, Southampton: Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton.
  7. ^ *Pg33-"Early Nile Valley populations were primarily coextensive with indigenous African populations. Linguistic and archaeological data provide key supporting evidence for a primarily African origin".Shomarka Keita and A.J. Boyce "The Geographic and Origins and Population Relationships of Early Ancient Egyptians". Celenko Theodore (ed). (1996). Egypt in Africa. Indianapolis, Ind.: Indianapolis Museum of Art. pp. 20–33. ISBN 0936260645.
  8. ^ *Pg84-85 "major burial sites of those founding locales of ancient Egypt in the fourth millennium BCE, notably El-Badari as well as Naqada, show no demographic indebtedness to the Levant. They reveal instead a population with cranial and dental features with closest parallels to those of other longtime populations of the surrounding areas of northeastern Africa, such as Nubia and the northern Horn of Africa".Ehret, Christopher (20 June 2023). Ancient Africa: A Global History, to 300 CE. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 83–86, 167–169. ISBN 978-0-691-24409-9.
  9. ^ Shaw 2000, p. 71.
  10. ^ Meza, A.I. (2007) “Neolithic Boats: Ancient Egypt and the Maltese Islands. A Minoan Connection” J-C. Goyon,C. Cardin (Eds.) Actes Du Neuvième Congrès International Des Égyptologues, p. 1287.
  11. ^ Robinson, D. (2012). "Review of: Anderson, A., et al. (2010), The Global Origins and Development of Seafaring". International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. 41 (1): 206–208. doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2011.00333_2.x. S2CID 162515460.
  12. ^ Geggel, Laura (21 February 2020). "Dozens of ancient Egyptian graves found with rare clay coffins". Retrieved 2020-06-28.
  13. ^ "الكشف عن 83 مقبرة أثرية بمنطقة آثار كوم الخلجان بمحافظة الدقهلية". اليوم السابع. 2020-02-12. Retrieved 2020-06-28.
  14. ^ Brovarski, Edward. "REFLECTIONS ON THE BATTLEFIELD AND LIBYAN BOOTY PALETTES": 89. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

Further reading