Origin of Complex Societies along the Nile River
For many years, the Nile in comparison to other major rivers in the world has been a considerable source of livelihood for numerous ethnic groups. Ever since 3000 BC, the river has acted as the sole supplier of necessities such as water and subsistence for different ethnic communities. In addition to this, the river also acted as a trading mechanism via the delivery of commodities among groups that lived along it. Nonetheless, one of the outstanding roles assumed by the Nile relates to the growth of Egyptian civilization. Undeniably, the largest flowing river in the globe offered a critical role within the development of Egypt due to possibilities and benefits it provided to the country such as economic stability, trade potential and agricultural fertility. However, much of the focus concerning the Nile’s importance revolves around it being the originator of complex societies until 3000 BC.
Since 3000 BCE, the Nile has enabled ethnic communities that lived along it to engage in diverse activities, which enabled them to impose a considerable influence even within the contemporary era. Indeed, several aspects practiced at that time influenced the origination of these societies. They comprised specialization in things such as arts and crafts, religion, agriculture and governance. One of the complex societies that engaged in the complex pastime of arts and crafts comprised the Nok community. Originating from the Benue and Niger rivers, the Nok were a civilization credited with the discovery and utilization of iron as a unique element of their cultural distinction. These individuals used iron in order to create terracottas and other artworks in the form of figurines during their existence within the Neolithic period (Fagg 43).
According to Fagg (79), this society engaged in the construction of figurine sculptures that were highly unlikely thousands of years ago. In addition to this, numerous artifact evidences characteristic of the people who settled within the region of Nok within the Jos Plateau further proves the mysterious yet fathomable influence of the Nile in enabling life and subsistence among the prehistoric people. Indeed, Fagg further asserts that the Niger and Benue rivers, which comprise some of River Nile’s sources, facilitated the existence of the complex Nok society within Nigeria (Fagg 83). Even though historians and archeologists remain dumbfounded concerning the lack of correlation between the Nok culture and other subsequent societies, the production of terracottas by the once indigenous Nigerian ethnic tribes further proves the existence of a different civilization that thrived on its iron-sculpting ability as well as the confluence of two of the Nile’s sources.
Further evidence of emergence of complex societies along the Nile relates to the Egyptian civilization. Undeniably, Egyptians also engaged in activities, which were reminiscent and descriptive of the origin of the Nile’s complex societies. One of these activities constituted agriculture. Accordingly, the predynastic civilization experienced varied levels of plant and animal disparities. On one hand, animals continued disappearing during that period due to the sudden rise in human population. Furthermore, the displacement of animals within the floodplains enabled humans living there to engage in farming activities such as runoff cultivation as well as considerable irrigation projects in order to cater for the longevity of their crops (Trigger 497). Another determinant of this civilization’s origin comprised crafts. Accordingly, Egyptians engaged in skills such as pottery. Furthermore, the establishment of settlements using the example of the Fayum A culture further proves that the development of human settlements was another factor for establishing Egyptian complex societies within 3000 BC (Trigger 498).
In conclusion, the Nile was a main source of existence for majority of the communities living along it. Over 3000 years ago, the river has been able to establish the emergence of complex societies such as the Nok and the Egyptian civilization. Due to the implications of the river, these different civilizations were able to engage in complex activities such as arts, agriculture, and the establishment of settlements at that time. Indeed, from this, it is clear that the activities engaged in by these cultural groups during 3000 BC comprise factors that illustrate the materialization of complex societies across the Nile.
Fagg, Angela. “Thoughts on Nok.” African Arts 27.3 (1994): 79-103. Print.
Fagg, Bernard. “Recent Work in West Africa: New Light on the Nok Culture.” World Archaeology 1.1 (1969): 41-50. Print.
Trigger, B.G. “The Rise of Civilization in Egypt.” The Cambridge History of Africa 1 (1982): 478-547. Print.