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Merimde Beni Salama

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Site on the west bank of the Nile Delta, Egypt, representing one of the earliest cultures of Egypt, similar to that of the Fayyum (Faiyum). It yielded a radiocarbon date of 5060 BC and was occupied for about 600 years, probably c 4900-4300 BC, by a population up to 16,000. Three occupation phases showed progressively more substantial shelters, beneath which the dead were buried in a crouched position. Barley and emmer, cattle, sheep, and pigs are attested. Sickle flints and hollow-based arrowheads, pyriform and spherical maceheads, sling stones, fishhooks, spindle whorls, and simple stone axheads have been found. The pottery was poor, plain, straw-tempered and often covered with a slip. It is the earliest evidence for fully sedentary village life in the Nile valley. The Merimda phase of the Lower Egyptian Predynastic Period appears to have been roughly contemporary with the late Badarian and Amratian phases in Upper Egypt.