Egypt and Nubia in the 5th–4th millennia BCE: A view from the First Cataract and its surroundingsMaria Carmela Gatto
British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan 13 (2009): 125–45
Prehistoric sites were first found in the area of the First Cataract of the Nile more than a century ago (Weigall 1907; Reisner 1910; Junker 1919). These sites were assigned to the A-Group culture (Reisner 1910) because of the Nubian elements indentified in their material remains. A Nubian cultural affiliation was expected since the sites were located in the region of Aswan, positioned at the border between Egypt and Nubia. However, a review of the available data has shown that, in the area surrounding Aswan and southward to Metardul, the percentage of Nubian material is always extremely low compared to the Egyptian component, thus suggesting that the sites in this region should be affiliated with the Naqada culture rather than the Nubian A-Group (Gatto and Tiraterra 1996; Gatto 1997; 1998; 2000; 2006a; 2006b).
This revised cultural affiliation, however, does not answer the question of how the Nubian and Egyptian components are related. Before this relationship can be assessed, two questions must be addressed:
1) What is a frontier, and so how should we define the Egyptian-Nubian frontier?
2) What are the cultural consequences resulting from the interaction of two human groups in their boundary zone, and how can this be detected in the archaeological record?