Nubia, Kom Ombo and Ta Seti

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Those of us who study archaeology performed in Africa should know the term  “Naqada” refers to Egyptian burial excavations. On the other hand Nubian burial sites were classified by A-group through X-group by George Reisner. We must know that archaeological and political borders are different. If we adhere to modern political borders and old archaeology, yes, some may find the location Kom Ombo to be in Egypt. But if one sticks to the rule of using multiple disciplines to substantiate such a claim, also new information as well as the information of our elders and ancestors, we would have to consider such a claim insufficient to answer the perplex question of whether Kom Ombo or /nybt/ originally fell under Egyptian borders or if it was a region of Ta Nehesi, which we know as Nubia.

 With the evidence provided in Maria C. Gatto’s reassessment of the A-group culture, also in her “Cultural entanglement at the dawn of the Egyptian history: a view from the Nile First Cataract region”, and primarily the work done in “Nubians in Egypt: Survey in the Aswan-Kom Ombo Region”,  we find the latest archaeological evidence to substantiate the claims of the Late Great Dr.Ben, that Ta Seti, or Nubia, was the mother of Egypt.

 The Egyptian name for Kom Ombo is /nwbt/ “gold”. For simplicity’s sake let’s throw “Kom Ombo” out for a minute and establish that Ancient Egyptians called this region /nwbt/ “gold”. It has been argued in earlier research that the abundance of gold and gold mines in the regions of Kom Ombo in Ta Seti could indeed be related to the Greek use of the term Nubia. Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop wrote “...the etymology of Nubia is said to signify ‘gold’. Historically, Nubia was the country from which Egypt acquired all of her gold.”(1987: 105). Rosemarie Klemm & Dietrich Klemm discussed the etymology of Nubia being related to the Egyptian term “nub” (2012). Here we find a reference to Alfred Grimm’s citation of the primary source of a phrase/term “/tA nbw/ “The land of Gold”, coming from the 5th dynasty fragment list of Djedkare where exotic goods brought back from “Ta Nebu” were accounted. In Madjai-A Handbook for the Conscious Community I produced a term /smr-nbw/ “gold friends” which was associated with a particular people of Ta Seti. Fergus Sharman is another scholar who offers work on the etymology of Nubia and its relation to gold from the Bantu perspective. Sharman points to the quite plausible pronunciation of the Egyptian /nwb/ “gold” as NU-BWE by demonstrating its relation to the Bantu term M-BWE; precious stone. Sharman goes on to demonstrate the interchangeability of the N- and M- between the Ancient Egyptian and Bantu languages to substantiate a theory that the Ancient Egyptian term /nwb/ is etymologically related to Nubia. The evidence that Nybt is the etymon to Nubia is not overwhelming but it prevails over the lack of evidence to the contrary so much so that it causes its opponents to inadvertently switch their stance from what Nubia means to where Nubia is. If you go look over my previous articles address the meaning and etymology of Nubia  you will see the former argument concerned the meaning of the name “Nubia”. This document concerns the borders of Egypt against Nubia and whether or not Kom Ombo is in what we call Nubia.

The current argument for scholars who disagree is now “Kom Ombo, or Nybt is within the ancient and Modern borders of Egypt, not in Nubia”.  This definitive statement is subjected to the same rigorous scrutiny performed under the control of primary sources to see if the aloof nature of such a claim is qualified by one’s own research. Like; “Where you get that from?” or, can you please cite the primary source, i.e. ancient map or manuscript that one is using to definitive establish the “ancient borders” of Egypt?

In the first two parts of this Nubia Trilogy (two chapters can be found in Madjai-A Handbook for the Conscious Community) I presented primary accounts of the “borders of Egypt” which were left to us by Remetch (Egyptians). To Remetch the city /nwbt/ was in the first Sepat (nome).

Map of Kemety Nomes

 

 Another map below show all the nomes of upper and lower Egypt. Sites 1a, 1b, 1c, and 1d are all in Ta Seti. Notice 1c in the list below. See more at http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/geography/cities.htm;

 

 Medu Netcher for Ta SetiFirst Nome: Ta Seti: Land of the arch or Ta Khentit : the frontier

  • 1a– Pawareq (p-jw-rq ; Coptic Pilak, Greek Philae): Island, Isis temple complex (3rd cent. BCE). Temples of Hathor, and of the Nubian gods Mandulis and Arensnuphis
  • 1b– Swentet (swn.w ; Greek Syene, modern Aswan) : Temple of Isis
  • 1c Nebeet, Nubyt (Greek Ombi-Kom, modern Ombo): Capital of the nome during the Ptolemaic period. Temples of Sobek and Horus (2nd cent. BCE)
  • 1d– Abu (Abw ; Greek Elephantine): Capital of the nome. Frontier and garrison town, built on an island in the Nile. Temples of Khnum and Satet (since predynastic at least) and of Amenhotep III which was destroyed in the 19th century, Nilometer
  • Kheny (modern Gebel)

 

Nome Map 2

 

This sepat on the first cataract was called Ta Seti. As Dr. Ben taught us, we all know Ta Seti existed as what we today call Nubia before an “Egypt” ever had sepats or even existed. The archaeology tells us this also. It is because the pottery of the Nubian A-group seems to blend seamlessly with the Tazain and Badarian cultures that preceded the Naqada cultures of Kemet (Gatto: 2005). Yet the contemporary Naqada culture (Naqada I) started in Abydos then moved southward leaving some grave sites retaining close to 20% Nubian materials. Abydos is not in Ta Seti and if Egyptian culture is first found around Abydos then it stands to argue that the original inhabitants of Ta Seti were not culturally Egyptians. Nubians were in Ta Seti before the concept of Egypt arose. It was the Naqada culture that descended on the areas of Kom Ombo and therefore the original natural “border” would lie between the original Egyptians and Nubian burial sites in the area.  Also Kom Ombo /nwbt/ is not to be confused with Naqada /nwbt/ then by default erroneously lumped in with Naqada culture. Naqada (a different /nwbt/) is its own city located north of Edfu, Karnak and Luxor in the third sepat (nome) while Naqada Culture is an archaeological classification of burial sites in the area named after Naqada. The only extraction sites actually in Naqada is Naqada III, which is dated from 3200-3000 BCE and is contemporaneous with the decline of A-Group culture and the unification of Egypt. This means exactly what is stated, that Nubian Culture in the regions of Ta Seti was in decline at the same time Egypt is being formed.  This makes it hard for one to argue Kom Ombo was originally in Egypt unless the subject’s uses an “ancient map” from the time where Egypt dominated and then enveloped the areas of Ta Seti. There is no primary source map extant from these time periods for one to draw such a conclusion about Ta Seti. If one is searching for ancient borders it would be an unfair assessment for one to not consider the political structure of the dominating empire that envelopes smaller or less powerful towns, villages or even nations into their own culture under the auspices of unification. Before the Unification of Egypt and the structuring of Egyptian political power no ancient Borders of Egypt could have existed or being enforced and Ta Seti. Ta Nehesi and Nybt stood independently in times when Egypt was not. At this time Kom Ombo was in Ta Seti (Nubia). Nubia did not move or go anywhere but its lower portions were engulfed by Egypt. As cited before, Nubian A-group archaeology resembles the Tazian and Badarian culture that preceded Egyptian culture in the area. Ta Seti was /tA sty/ before Egypt existed and Kom Ombo is still in Ta Seti. Now Ta Seti is a nome of Egypt but originally is was what we call Nubia today.

It was Ta Seti, the areas of Edfu south to Kom Ombo, Aswan on to the second cataract (before they were enveloped into the Egyptian sepat system) which Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan calls “The Mother of Egypt”. In “Cultural entanglement at the dawn of the Egyptian history: a view from the Nile First Cataract region” Gatto reveals the debt of field research that has caused her to question whether the borders of Egypt enveloped Nybt (Kom Ombo) or not. Regardless archaeologist in 2015 place the borders of the classical Nubia north of Kom Ombo, in Jebel es-Silsila.

Gatto; Nubians in Egypt: A Study of the Aswan-Kom Ombo region. The Sudan Archaeological Research Society, p.74

I hope I have begun to detail why conducting a survey of this type by only using linguistic tools would cause one to form error riddled conclusions about the borders of Egypt. This has been one of my mistakes. The manifestation of an A-group Tumulus just east of Kom Ombo and Roman (Nubian) Tumuli just to the north of Wadi Kubbaniya are new developments in the research of Ta Seti that caused scholars to question  ancient borders. As we see above Gatto discussed the border being more northward towards Gebel es-Silsila, between the modern towns of Kom Ombo and Edfu. this work is never done but I hope we can see that there is enough source material available beyond these three articles for us to research and begin to conclude that Kom Ombo was in Ta Seti.

 

 Sources;

  • Alfred Grimm: tA-nbw “Goldland” und “Nubien”. Zu den Inschriften auf dem Listenfragment aus dem Totentempel des Djedkare. In: Göttinger Miszellen (GM). Band 106, 1988, S. 23–28.
  • Diop, Cheikh Anta. Precolonial Black Africa: A Comparative Study of the Political and Social Systems of Europe and Black Africa, from Antiquity to the Formation of Modern States. Westport, CT: L. Hill, 1987. Print.
  • Klemm, Rosemarie, and Dietrich D. Klemm. Gold and Gold Mining in Ancient Egypt and Nubia: Geoarchaeology of the Ancient Gold Mining Sites in the Egyptian and Sudanese Eastern Deserts. Heidelberg: Springer, 2013. 380. Print.
  • M.C. Gatto. Nubians in Egypt: Survey in the Aswan-Kom Ombo Region. Sudan & Nubia, No 9, published by The Sudan Archaeological Research Society, 2005
  • M.C. Gatto. The Nubian A-Group: a reassessment.
  • M.C. Gatto. The most ancient evidence of the “A-Groups” culture in Lower Nubia.Studies in African Archaeology 7, Poznan Archaeological Museum 2000.

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