Al Badari, or El Badari, is known for its Pre-dynastic cemeteries. The site lies between Qau and Matmar in Upper Egypt. The Al Badari region occupies 30 km of land along the east bank of the river Nile. Two points of major interest in Al Badari are the Dier Teas and Mostageddan cemetery. The credit for discovering Al Badari and unveiling its marvels to the world goes to Gertrude Caton Thompson and Guy Brunton, who first led the investigation in this area between 1922 and 1931. The findings have been studied extensively since then in order to find out about the social history and chronology of the Badarian period. (5500-4000 B.C).
The nearest city to Al Badari is Asyut, which is about 40 km away and Cairo is 338 km away. Asyut also has an airport which can be used by tourists for a very convenient trip. Tourists can book their accommodation in Asyut. Minya is 138 km away while Qena is 159 km from Al Badari. Tourists coming here can choose any city to stay in depending on their travel plans. The city of Al Badari has a very small population.
The Badarian economy flourished between 5500 BC and 4000 BC The culture gives direct evidence of the presence of agriculture in Upper Egypt. Six hundred graves and forty settlements have been discovered which also point to social stratification at that time. Fishing, animal husbandry, and agriculture were parts of the economy of the Badarian culture, and grains like barley, lentils, and wheat were regularly consumed. The people at that time placed their deceased on mats looking west, which is very different from traditions in later dynasties which regarded the west as the land of the dead. The influence of the Badarian culture has also been found in the south of Egypt indicating it was just not restricted to the local area.
Al Badari Site
Many archaeological findings dating back to the Pre-dynastic era have been found in the Al Badari region. Slate palettes, red polished pottery pots, stone vases, ivory and terracotta anthropomorphic figures, and flint have been discovered. The pottery that was buried with the dead is the most characteristic Element of the Badarian culture. It had been given a distinctive and decorative rippled surface. Many tools like bifacial sickles, end-scrapers, axes, perforators, and concave base arrowheads have been found as well. Remains of many animals like sheep, dogs, and cats in cemeteries indicate that the people living in this city were engaged in animal husbandry and had pets.
Although there is no clear evidence of buildings at that time, remains of wooden stumps indicate huts or some shelters were constructed by the locals in ancient times. Basalt vases and elephant ivory carvings indicate that the Badarians interacted with cultures around them and the size of their pots points out the fact that they were not nomads but lived in a stavle settlement. A number of deep pits were also found which have been assumed to have been used as granaries.
Cemeteries in the Badarian Region
The decorations of Badarian graves have been very helpful for archaeologists in interpreting the culture of the Badarians. Excavations have revealed black and thin brown ceramics which indicates that there were skilled potters working during that time. The deceased were wrapped in animal skins or reed matting and simple belongings like stone beads or shells were placed on them. Some simple tools have also been found in graves. The pottery at cemeteries has also pointed to the fact that Badarians had a good food source which gave them spare time to indulge in the art.
The Nearby Town of Deir Teas
Deir Teas is a village near Al Badari. The pottery found here shows that a lot of development in terms of decoration and shape had taken place by the time of this settlement. Cups in the shape of lotus flowers have been found, for example, showing a very high level of art. This cemetery site dates to the Amratian phase belonging to Egypt's pre-dynastic culture. Some archeologists also believe that this site is an extension of Badarian culture.
Artifacts which have been found at al Badari have been quite varied. Badarian ware is the name given by Petrie to the distinctive pottery and this is because of the exclusive polished red vessels with black tops. The Badarian people were also the first in Egypt to make copper bead-shaped metal objects. Excavation of the site has given a very detailed insight into the Badarian culture but owing to the growing demand for land many of the ruins are slowly being lost.