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Maadi (Egypt)

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Definition:

Maadi (sometimes spelled Ma'adi) is the name of one of the first fully excavated predynastic sites in Egypt; and it is the type site for the Maadi culture, the Upper Egypt flavor of predynastic history. Located in a suburb of Cairo, Maadi lies on a rocky ridge next to the Nile River floodplain.

The site deposits reveal a small farming village dated about 3650 BC, with evidence of contact with the Syro-Palestine cultures. The site consists of stratified superimposed refuse dumps, and abandoned occupation floors. Dwellings at Maadi were small circular post-built huts with interior storage facilities.

Living at Maadi

Agriculture at Maadi included wheat, barley, lentils and peas, kept in clay-lined storage pits and large locally-made pottery vessels. Animal bones at the site include mostly sheep and goats, but also cattle, pigs, donkeys and dogs, including one of the first discovered domestic donkey skeletons.

Pottery vessels at Maadi include imported Palestinean proto-urban period types, as well as locally produced, hand-built jars. There is evidence for the specialized construction of copper tools, stone vases and tabular flint tools.

Archaeological excavations at Maadi were first begun in the 1930s, and again in the 1980s by the University of Rome. Most recently, excavations have been conducted at Maadi by the German Archaeological Institute.

Sources

Photos and more info available at the German Archaeological Institute website on Maadi.

Bard, Kathryn A. 1994 The Egyptian Predynastic: A Review of the Evidence. Journal of Field Archaeology 21(3):265-288.

Caneva, Isabella, Marcella Frangipane, and Alba Palmieri 1987 Predynastic Egypt: new data from Maadi. African Archaeological Review 5(1):105-114.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

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