The Prehistory of Egypt in Africa: Beyond the Black Athena Wars

Posted: 18 Apr 2013

Date Written: April 18, 2013


Over the past two decades, popular images of Egypt's past in Africa have been dominated by controversies over Martin Bernal's (1987, 1991) claims of African and Asian roots for classical Greek culture, and the furious reactions to these claims. Those debates continue, but should not overshadow analyses that are at once broader in scope-because they look at Egyptian history over greater time-depths-and more modest in aim-because they seek to understand Egypt in its own context, and not necessarily in relation to classical Europe. This paper will provide and overview of archaeological data on the culture history of the Nile Valley in relation to surrounding areas, for comparison with linguistic and genetic data, with particular attention paid to the Neolithic through Early Dynastic periods. The ultimate goal of such research should involve 'normalising' Egypt-in-Africa, as area with connections both within and without the continent and with its own particular historical trajectories.

Suggested Citation

MacEachern, Scott, The Prehistory of Egypt in Africa: Beyond the Black Athena Wars (April 18, 2013). Available at SSRN:

Scott MacEachern (Contact Author)

Bowdoin College ( email )

Brunswick, ME 04011
United States

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