Late Predynastic Egyptian "Black-Topped Ware": a study in ceramic specialisation and chronology

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Black-topped ware is a distinctive Predynastic Egyptian pottery type which ii regarded as a chronological marker for the Early Predynastic (Naqada I: 4,000-3,500 BC) and Middle Predynastic (Naqada II: 3,500-3,200 BC) periods in Upper Egypt. It was far less common in the later part of the Middle Predynastic period, and by the late Predynastic era (Naqada III: 3,200-3,000 BC), many scholars have assumed that it died out completely. An examination of the archaeological evidence shows that this is not the case. Black-topped ware continues to be produced into the First Dynasty (ca. 3,000 BC), although the range of shapes is more limited and the function of the vessels appears restricted to ritual or funerary uses. Examples of these ritual vessels have also been found in the Delta which suggests that certain Nile Valley religious practices had spread north. This can be associated with the gradual spread of Upper Egyptian culture and the domination of the Delta region by the southern kings during the period of Egyptian unification.
(The content of this paper was developed and more fully published by the author in JEA 85 [1999]).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Ceramic Monographs
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the International Ceramics Conference 25-27 July 1994, Sydney Australia
EditorsC. C. Sorrell, A.J. Ruys
Place of PublicationSydney
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Ceramics Conference : Forming the Future - Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 25 Jul 199427 Jul 1994
Conference number: 4th

Publication series

NameInternational Ceramic Monographs
PublisherAustralasian Ceramic Society
ISSN (Print)1322-2309


ConferenceInternational Ceramics Conference
Abbreviated titleAustceram 94


  • Egypt--History--Early Dynastic Period, ca. 3100-ca. 2686 B.C.
  • Egypt--Prehistory
  • Ceramics
  • Egyptian rituals


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