Saturday, June 6, 2020

Was Narmer a Kushite

There is epigraphic evidence that indicates that Narmer was probably a Kushite. Narmer ruled an area extending from the Nile Valley into the Levant.

The Levant had early been settled by people from the Nile Valley. Beginning as early as 5000 years ago Kushites the ḫЗšt, lived from the Nile Valley below Egypt, all the way to the Levant and Anatolia. The Kushites belonged to the C-Group culture of Nubia. The Kushites spoke Niger-Congo and Dravidian languages (1) . The Niger-Congo (NC) Superfamily of languages is the largest family of languages spoken in Africa. Researchers have assumed that the NC speakers originated in West Africa in the Inland Niger Delta. The research indicates that the NC speakers originated in the Saharan Highlands 12kya and belonged to the Ounanian culture (1).

The Ounanian culture is associated with sites in central Egypt, Algeria, Mali, Mauretania and Niger (1). The Ounanian tradition is associated with the Niger-Congo phyla (1). This would explain the close relationship between the Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan languages.

In the Eastern Sahara many individual types of tanged and shouldered arrowheads occur on early Holocene prehistoric sites along with Green Saharan/Wavy-line pottery (2-3) . 'Saharo-Sudanese Neolithic' wavy-line, dotted wavy line and walking-comb pottery was used from Lake Turkana to Nabta Playa, in Tibesti , Mauritania, on into in the Hoggar, in Niger. This pottery evolved into the Beaker Bell ceramics of Europe.

The Kushites from the Levant and Anatolia took cattle domestication and millet cultivation to Europe. There is no archaeological evidence of the herding of Cattle and millet cultivation older than the Nabta Playa material (4).

At Nabta Playa the people herded cattle and cultivated crops. The Kushites cultivated pennisetum millet at Nabta Playa (c. 7950 BC ) and probably herded cattle (5-7).

The Kushites were called ḫЗst in Africa and the Levant. Kushites had early settled in the Levant since Narmer times. We find  Narmer's name  on jars and  serekhs from excavations in Israel and Palestine , for example Tel Erani, Arad, 'En Besor, Halif Terrace/Nahal Tillah and more(4). A bulla dating to this period makes it clear that this part of the Negev was called ḫЗts.t ("Kush") or ḫ ("Kushite").
The  presence of this bulla indicates that since this area was called ḫЗts.t or Kush, since Narmer ruled the area he was probably a Kushite. 

The modern interpretation of Gardiner’s Egyptian sign N25 as ḫЗts.t is wrong.  There is no evidence that /t/ should be added to ḫЗts.t, as a result I believe N25 was originally ḫЗs, not ḫЗst . Writing just Heqa ḫЗst means Kushite, while adding three lines makes the plural: Kushites. Thusly on the Semqen scarab we have Semqen king of the Kushites. On the Khnumhotep II  Beni Hassan inscription we have Heqa ḫЗst in front of the lead Hyksos above the Nubian ibis, and  the name Abisharie below heqa ḫЗst.

The Kushites were called ḫЗšt .Ta-Seti and Tehenu by the Egyptians (1). The Egyptian Pharaoh Sahure referred to the Tehenu leader as “Hati Tehenu” . The name  Hati, correspond to the name Hatti for a Kushite tribe in Anatolia. The Hatti  people often referred to themselves as Kashkas (9).
The early hunter-gathers and farmers in Europe from the Levant herded cattle, and cultivated millet.
A center of cattle worship was the Kiseiba -Nabta region in Middle Africa. At Nabta archaeologists have found the oldest megalithic site dating to 6000-6500 BC, which served as both a temple and calendar. This site was found by J. McKim Malville of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Fred Wendorf of Southern Methodist University.

The Kushites spread cultivation of Pennisetum millet and cattle herding into Anatolia, South Asia and Europe. As cattle herding Kushites frequently moved from place to place millet was an ideal domesticate.

Millet was an especially favorite crop for the mobile Kushites because the grains are 1) a high yield per plant; 2) millet is drought tolerant and can be grown in various terrains; 3) millet has a short growing season so pastoralists  could grow and harvest their crops in time to move their camp(s); and 4) the panicum millet has shallow roots so Kushite farmers could cultivate the crop with a hoe (7).
As a result, we have in the archaeological literature the name Ounan-Harif point. This name was proposed for the tanged points at Nabta Playa and Bir Kiseiba. Harifian is a specialized regional cultural development of the Epipalaeolithic of the Negev Desert. Harifian has close connections with the late Mesolithic cultures of Fayyum and the Eastern Deserts of Egypt, whose tool assemblage resembles that of the Harifian (8-10).

In summary, The Kushites were called ḫЗs and ḫЗst in Africa and the Levant. Kushites had early settled in the Levant since Narmer times. We find  Narmer's name  on jars and  serekhs from excavations in Israel and Palestine .For example , Narmer jars and  serekhs have come from excavations  at Tel Erani, Arad, 'En Besor, Halif Terrace/Nahal Tillah and more(4). A bulla dating to this period makes it clear that this part of the Negev was called ḫЗts.t ("Kush") or ḫ ("Kushite"). This bulla suggest that Narmer was a Kushite. Obviously since Narmer ruled the country he would not refer to himself as a foreign ruler , or foreign land because he ruled the land.

1. Winters, C. (2012). Origin of the Niger-Congo Speakers. WebmedCentral GENETICS,3(3): WMC003149 doi: 10.9754/journal.wmc.2012.003149
2. Drake N A, Roger M. Blench, Simon J. Armitage, Charlie S. Bristow, and Kevin H. White. (2010). Ancient watercourses and biogeography of the Sahara explain the peopling of the desert,  Proceedings of the National Academy of Scienece. 2011 108 (2) 458-462; published ahead of print December 27,2010, doi:10.1073/pnas.1012231108
3. Vernet R, Ott M, Tarrou L, Gallin A, Géoris-Creuseveau J.  (2007). Excavation of the mound of FA 10 (Banc d'Arguin) and its contribution to the knowledge of the culture paleolithical Foum Arguin, northwestern Sahara (Translated from French) J Afr Archaeol 5:17–46.
4. Thomas E Levy,David Alon,Yorke M. RowanYorke M. Rowan.(1995). Egyptian-Canaanite Interaction at Nahal Tillah, Israel (ca. 4500-3000 B. C. E.): An Interim Report on the 1994-1995 Excavations. Available from:      [accessed Dec 26 2017]

5.Brass, M. (2013). Revisiting a hoary chestnut: the nature of early cattle domestication in North-East Africa. Sahara (Segrate, Italy), 24, 65–70.

6. Mitchell P., Paul Lane (Ed.),(2013). The Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology. Oxford .

7. Miller N.F., Robert N Spengler, Michael Frachetti. (2010). Millet cultivation across Eurasia: Origins, spread, and the influence of seasonal climate, The Holocene , Vol. 26 10:1566-1575

8. Fregel  R, et al (2017). Neolithization of North Africa involved the migration of people from both the Levant and Europe. bioRxiv 191569; doi:
9.  Winters, C. (2018). The Kushites: Who, What, When, Where. Createspace.
10. Haplogroup R1 was spread by African Kushites into Europe. There was no Back Migration from Europe to Africa,

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