The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also Naqada), a complex of Aeneolithic remains in Upper Egypt dating from the fourth millennium B.C. Situated north of Luxor on the left bank of the Nile, Neqada consists of a vast necropolis, with more than 2,100 burials, and of two settlements (the southern and the northern). It represents a number of stages in the development of predynastic Egyptian culture, which are divided into two periods—Neqada I (Amratian) and Neqada II (Gerzean).

The culture of Neqada I combined land cultivation with hunting, fishing, and gathering. The tools were made primarily of flint and stone. From time to time, hammered copper perforators are found. The principal forms of vessels were flat-bottomed bowls, round-bottomed bowls, bowls on pedestals, palettes, bottles, tumblers, and double vases. Some bowls were made from basalt and alabaster. Ornaments included bracelets made of ivory, sea-shells, and stones, as well as beads made of ostrich eggshells, carnelian, steatite, seashells, and coral. The dead were buried in a strongly contracted position in round or oval pits.

Neqada II was characterized by land cultivation and stock raising. There was progress in all branches of production. The settlements were surrounded by walls. The tools included wide knifelike blades, with one face worked by fine pressure flaking. Copper implements, both hammered and cast, included chisels, adzes, daggers, and needles. New types of vessels appeared, as did faience beads. Ornaments made from various stones (carnelian, steatite, rock crystal), ostrich eggshells, and bones were common, as were bone amulets in the form of animals, birds, and insects. Naturalistic statuettes were replaced by conventionalized “block figures.” The dead were buried in rectangular pits, sometimes lined with mud or partitioned.

Neqada’s production and culture attest to the deterioration of primitive communal relationships and to the rise of a class society. A number of archaeologists attribute the differences between Neqada I and Neqada II to the active Asian influences that penetrated Upper Egypt through the Eastern Desert.


Childe, V. G. Drevneishii Vostok v svete novykh raskopok. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from English.)
Baumgärtel, E. J. The Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt, vols. 1–2. London, 1947–60.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.