Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Radiocarbon chronology of Neolithic and Predynastic sites in Upper Egypt and the Delta


Critical evaluation, tree-ring calibration, and statistical analysis of 95 radiocarbon dates from neolithic and predynastic sites in Upper Egypt and the Delta provide the following average age estimates in calendrical years BC.

Early Fayum Neolithicca 5200 to 4500 BC

Early Merimda Neolithicca 4800 BC

Late Merimda Neolithic ⩾4400 BC

Late Fayum Neolithicca 4000 BC

Late Badarian? (Hemamieh)ca 4400/4000 BC

Early Nagada (Nagada)ca 3750 BC

Hierakonpolis (Locs 11 & 29)ca 3550 BC

Late Nagada (South Town)ca 3450 BC

Other sites or periods are not adequately dated. In addition, further dates are needed to bolster thistentative framework.


La calibration par dendrochronologie et l'analyse statistique de 95 datations par radiocarbone des sites néolithiques et prédynastiques de la haute Egypte et du Delta, ainsi qu'une évaluation critique, offrent les estimations moyennes suivantes en années calendaires BC:

Néolithique ancien du Fayoumca 5200 a 4500 BC

Néolithique ancien à Merimdaca 4800 BC

Néolithique tardif à Merimda ⩾4400 BC

Néolithique tardif du Fayoumca 4000 BC

Badarien tardif? (Hemamieh)ca 4400/4000 BC

Nagadien tardif (Nagada)ca 3750 BC

Hierakonpolis (Locs 11 et 29)ca 3550 BC

Nagadien tardif (South Town)ca 3450 BC

Les autres sites ou périodes ne sont pas aussi bien datés pour l'instant, de plus, des datations supplémentaires sont requises afin de soutenir cet essai de chronologie.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Amer, M. 1947. Annual Reports of the Maadi excavations from 1934 to 1947.Archives, Cairo University, Faculty of Arts, Cairo.

  2. Arkell, A. J. 1975.The Prehistory of the Nile Valley. Handbuch der Orientalisk, 1. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

  3. Arkell, A. J. and Ucko, P. J. 1965. Review of Predynastic development in the Nile Valley.Current Anthropology 6:145–66.

  4. Arnold, T. R. and Libby, W. F. 1951. Radiocarbon dates.Science 113:111–20.

  5. Arundale, W. H. 1981. Radiocarbon dating in eastern Arctic archaeology: a flexible approach.American Antiquity 46 (2): 244–71.

  6. Barker, H., Burleigh, R. and Meeks, N. 1971. British Museum natural radiocarbon measurements VII.Radiocarbon 13:166.

  7. Baumgartel, E. J. 1965. Predynastic Egypt.The Cambridge Ancient History, vol. I, chapter IX (a). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  8. Bovier-Lapierre, P. 1926. Une nouvelle station néolithique (El Omari) au nord d'Hélouan (Egypte).Compte rendu, Congrès International de Géographie (Cairo, 1925): vol. 4, pp. 262–82.

  9. Brunton, G. and Caton-Thompson, G. 1928.The Badarian civilization and prehistoric remains near Badari. London: Quaritch.

  10. Burleigh, R. 1982. Two radiocarbon dates for freshwater shell from Hierakonpolis: archaeological and geological interpretations.Journal of Archaeological Science 10:361–67.

  11. Caton-Thompson, G. and Gardner, E. 1934.The Desert Fayum. London: Royal Anthropological Institute.

  12. Caton-Thompson, G. and Whittle, E. 1975. Thermoluminescence dating of the Badarian.Antiquity 49:89–97.

  13. Close, A. E. 1980. Current research and recent radiocarbon dates from northern Africa.Journal of African History 21:1–24.

  14. Close, A. E. 1984. Current research and recent radiocarbon dates from northern Africa, II.Journal of African History 25:1–24.

  15. Damon, P. E., Ferguson, C. W., Long, A. and Wallick, E. I. 1974. Dendrochronologic calibration of the radiocarbon time scale.American Antiquity 39:350–66.

  16. Debono, F. 1946. Hélouan-El Omari: fouilles du Service des Antiquités, 1943–1945.Chronique d'Egypte 21:50–4.

  17. Debono, F. 1948. El-Omari (près d'Hélouan), exposé sommaire sur les campagnes de fouilles 1943–1944 et 1948.Annales du Service des Antiquités de l'Egypte 48:561–69.

  18. Debono, F. 1956. La civilization prédynastique d'El Omari (nord d'Héiouan).Bulletin de l'Institut d'Egypte 37:329–39.

  19. Derricourt, R. M. 1971. Radiocarbon chronology for Egypt and North Africa.Journal of Near Eastern Studies 30 (4):271–92.

  20. Einwanger, J. von 1978. Erster Vorbericht über die Wiederaufnahme der Grabungen in der neolithischen Siedlung Merimde-Benisalame.Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archaologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo 34:42.

  21. Einwanger, J. von 1979. Zweiter Vorbericht über die Wiederaufnahme der Grabungen in der neolithischen Siedlung Merimde-Benisalame.Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo 35:23–57.

  22. Flight, C. 1973. A survey of recent results in the radiocarbon chronology of northern and western Africa.J. African History 14:531–54.

  23. Ginter, B., Kozlowski, J. K. and Silwa, J. 1979. Excavation report on the prehistoric and Predynastic settlement in El-Tarif during 1978.Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo 35:87–102.

  24. Ginter, V. B., Kozlowski, J. K., Pawlikowski, M. and Silwa, J. 1982. El-Tarif und Qasr el-Sagha, Forschungen zur Siedlungsgeschichte des Neolithikums, der Frühpredynastischen Epoche und des Mittleren Reiches.Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo 38:97–129.

  25. Hassan, F. A. 1976. Boekbesprekingen-Egyptologie.Bibliotheca Orientalis 33 (5/6):326–27.

  26. Hassan, F. A. 1978. Boekbesprekingen-Egyptologie.Bibliotheca Orientalis 35 (1/2):73–74.

  27. Hassan, F. A. 1980. Radiocarbon chronology of Archaic Egypt.Journal of Near Eastern Studies 39 (3):203–7.

  28. Hassan, F. A. 1981.The Predynastic of Egypt: sub istence-settlement studies in the Nagada-Knattara region. Final Report to the National Science Foundation, Washington D.C.

  29. Hassan, F. A. 1984a. The beginnings of Egyptian civilization at Hierakonpolis.Quarterly Review of Archaeology 5 (1):13–15.

  30. Hassan, F. A. 1984b. Radiocarbon chronology of Predynastic Nagada settlements, Egypt.Current Anthropology 25:681–83.

  31. Hassan, F. A. 1984c. A radiocarbon date from Hemamieh, Upper Egypt.Nyame Akuma 24/25:3.

  32. Hassan, F. A. and Matson, R. G. In press. Seriation of Predynastic Potsherds from the Nagada region. InLate Prehistory of the Nile Basin and the Sahara (ed. L. Krzyzaniak). Poznan.

  33. Hayes, W. C. 1965.Most ancient Egypt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  34. Hays, T. R. 1976. Predynastic Egypt: recent field research.Current Anthropology 17:552–54.

  35. Hays, T. R. and Hassan, F. A. 1976.Neolithic economy at El Khattara. Technical Report to National Science Foundation, Washington D.C.

  36. Hoffman, M. A. 1982.The Predynastic of Hierakonpolis. Egyptian Studies Association, Publication No. 1, Cairo University Herbarium, Egypt.

  37. Junker, H. 1928. Bericht über die von der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien nach dem Westdelta entsendete Expedition.Denkschr. Akad. der Wissensch. Wien, Phil.-Hist. Klasse, LXVIII (3):14–24, 25–33, and Plates II–VI and XIV–XXV.

  38. Junker, H. 1929–1940.Anzeiger der Akad. der Wissenschaften in Wien, Phil.-Hist. Klasse XVIXVIII (1929):156–250; V–XIII (1930): 21–83; I–IV (1932): 36–97; XVI–XXVII (1933):54–97; X (1934):118–32; I–V (1940):3–25.

  39. Kaiser, W. 1956. Stand und Probleme der ägyptischen Vorgeschichtsforschung.Zeitschrift fur ägyptische Sprache und Alterkunde 81:87–109.

  40. Kaiser, W. 1957. Zur inneren Chronologie der Nagadakultur.Archaeologia Geographica 6:69–77.

  41. Kantor, H. J. 1965. The relative chronology of Egypt and its foreign correlation before the late Bronze Age. InChronologies in Old World Archaeology (ed. R. W. Ehrlich): pp. 1–46. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  42. Kemp, B. 1980. Egyptian radiocarbon dating: a reply to James Mellaart.Antiquity 54:25–28.

  43. Kemp, B. J. 1982. Automatic analysis of Predynastic cemeteries: a new method for an old problem.Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 68:5–15.

  44. Klein, J., Lerman, J. C., Damon, P. E. and Ralph, E. K., 1982. Calibration of radiocarbon dates.Radiocarbon 24 (2):103–50.

  45. Krzyzaniak, L. 1977.Early farming cultures on the lower Nile. The Predynastic period in Egypt. Travaux du Centre d'Archéologie méditerranéenne de l'Académie polonaise des Sciences, 21. Warsaw.

  46. Libby, W. F. 1955.Radiocarbon dates. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  47. Long, R. D. 1976. Ancient Egyptian chronology, radiocarbon dating and calibration.Zeitschrift fur ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 103:30–48.

  48. Long, A. and Rippeteau, R. 1974. Testing contemporaneity and averaging radiocarbon dates.American Antiquity 39:205–15.

  49. Menghin, O. 1931, 1932, 1934. Die Grabung der Universität Kairo bei Maadi.Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo II:143–47; III: 150–54; V:111–18.

  50. Menghin, O. and Amer, M. 1932.The excavations of the Egyptian University in the Neolithic site at Maadi, first preliminary report. Cairo: Government Press.

  51. Menghin, O. and Amer, M. 1936.The excavations of the Egyptian University in the Neolithic site at Maadi, second preliminary report. Cairo: Government Press.

  52. Michels, J. W. 1973.Dating methods in archaeology. New York: Seminar Press.

  53. Olsson, I. U. 1959. Uppsala natural radiocarbon measurements I.Radiocarbon 1:87–102.

  54. Olsson, I. U. and Osadebe, F. A. N. 1974. Carbon isotope fractionation and fractionation corrections in14C dating.Borea 3:139–46.

  55. Petrie, W. M. F. 1896.Naqada and Ballas. London: British School of Archaeology in Egypt.

  56. Petrie, W. M. F. 1900. Sequences in prehistoric remains.Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 29:295–301.

  57. Petrie, W. M. F. 1901.Diospolis Parva. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

  58. Petrie, W. M. F. 1920.Prehistoric Egypt. London: British School of Archaeology in Egypt.

  59. Ralph, E. K., Michael, H. N. and Han, M. C. 1976. Tree-rings and carbon-14 scale. InDatations absolues et analyses isotopiques et préhistoire: méthodes et limites (eds J. Labeyrie and C. Lalou): pp. 101–26. Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

  60. Vries, H. G. de and Barendsen, G. W. 1954. Measurements of age by the C-14 technique.Nature 174:1138.

  61. Ward, G. K. and Wilson, S. R. 1978. Procedures for comparing and combining radiocarbon age determinations: a critique.Archaeometry 20:19–31.

  62. Waterbolk, H. T. 1971. Working with radiocarbon dates.Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 37:15–33.

  63. Wendorf, F. and Schild, R. 1976.Prehistory of the Nile Valley. New York: Academic Press.

  64. Wendorf, F., Schild, R. and Said, R. 1970. Problems of dating the late Palaeolithic in Egypt. InRadiocarbon variations and absolute chronology (ed. I. U. Olsson): pp. 57–79. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell.

  65. Wenke, R. J., Buck, P., Hanley, J. R., Lane, M. E., Long, J. and Redding, R. R. 1983. The Fayum archaeological project: preliminary report of the 1981 season.American Research Center in Egypt, Newsletter 122:25–40.

  66. Whittle, E. 1975. Thermoluminescent dating of Egyptian pottery from Hemamieh and Qurna Tarif.Archaeometry 17:119–22.

Download references

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hassan, F.A. Radiocarbon chronology of Neolithic and Predynastic sites in Upper Egypt and the Delta. Afr Archaeol Rev 3, 95–115 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01117456

Download citation


  • Critical Evaluation
  • Cultural Study
  • Radiocarbon Date
  • Radiocarbon Chronology
  • Predynastic Site