Ancient Egyptian Urbanism in a Comparative, Global Context

In: Journal of Egyptian History
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  • 1 Arizona State University
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For more than 50 years, archaeologists have debated whether or not Egypt was a “civilization without cities.” The publication of Nadine Moeller’s book, The Archaeology of Urbanism in Ancient Egypt: From the Predynastic Period to the End of the Middle Kingdom, provides the opportunity to reconsider this issue, using a more complete record of the relevant archaeological finds. I present a new, flexible approach to urban definition, and then I examine the ways in which ancient Egyptian urbanism resembled and differed from other early urban traditions. I conclude that Egypt was indeed an urban society, and that Egyptian urban patterns were highly distinctive within the canon of ancient urban systems. I place these points within the context of competing ideas about the nature of global history.

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