Ever since the first discovery of predynastic cemeteries in Egypt by Sir Flinders Petrie at Naqada in 1895 it was realized that the beginnings of civilization in the Nile Valley had not been found, and that remains of earlier stages might come to light. For nearly thirty years, in spite of active and more or less scientific excavation in all parts of Egypt and Nubia, no earlier settlements or cemeteries were discovered which could then be classed as older than predynastic. Flintwork of palaeolithic man abounded, especially on the high desert; and the flints of the Fayyum, in great variety, were recognized as mainly neolithic. But the ancestors or forerunners of the predynastic people seemed to have left no other trace. Probably the advance of the cultivation with the gradual rise of the mud level had obliterated all that they had left behind them. Steep slopes of desert are obviously covered less quickly than the flatter areas. The eastern desert fringing the cultivation in the Badari district of Middle Egypt presents a succession of more or less high spurs intersected by dry watercourses or wadys running down from the cliffs to the fields. It is here, and so far here only, that the much sought for precursors of the predynastic Egyptians have been revealed to us. They have been called Badarians to distinguish them from the well-known predynastic people (Amratians, Gerzeans and Semainians) with whom they are closely akin both in culture and physical type.
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