Variability in the Neolithic settlement patterns of the Egyptian Nile Valley

Rebecca Phillipps*, Simon Holdaway, Joshua Emmitt, Willeke Wendrich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Egypt is considered a Neolithic without villages, yet despite this characterisation, settlement pattern remains one of the more uncertain aspects of prehistoric lifeways. Reconstruction of settlement pattern often relies on environmental factors, subsistence strategies or typo-chronological associations to dictate likely modes of human settlement. Here, we examine the period from around 6,500 cal. bp to the late Neolithic in the Egyptian Nile Valley compared to selected examples from the Western Desert. Descriptions of regional settlement patterns have largely focused on divisions between Upper and Lower Egypt and the Western Desert based on a difference in subsistence strategies. We consider the features of the archaeological record in both these regions to determine whether such a dichotomy is warranted, and what this might mean in terms of the relationship between environment and socio-economic change. We suggest an alternative approach to the archaeological record to better understand the nature of Neolithic settlement pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-295
Number of pages19
JournalAfrican Archaeological Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Egypt
  • Fayum
  • Neolithic
  • Settlement pattern


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