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The Stepped Pyramids of Ancient Iran-Jiroft culture c. 2500BC.


Thanos5150

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1 hour ago, Antigonos said:

I have to think that your observation concerning the base of G2 not being individual blocks but actually carved as a stepped platform right out of the plateau itself is connected to the Ubaid, either as a contemporary structure or a legacy of those who came afterwards yet preceded dynastic Egypt.

As noted before, pyramids of a stepped platform variety appear in the late 1st Dynasty:

Depictions of other 1st Dynasty "pyramid"(s) were also found perhaps associated with Qa'a:

fZ0wdJ0.png

According to Emery Anedjib is the only pyramid structure found though he thinks it possible others of this later period may have been similar so for Qa'a to have built a pyramid structure makes sense. Interestingly what we see in these photos is quite misleading:

http://www.nemo.nu/ibisportal/0egyptintro/2egypt/2bildsidor/2anedjib.jpg

This is only one of 3 phases of construction which at some point later, perhaps within Adnejib's reign, a palace facade serekh mastaba was built around it otherwise completely obscuring it from view. Emery says:

  Quote

When first excavated, the superstructure of the tomb appeared to follow the familiar design of a rectangular platform, with its exterior decorated with recessed paneling [palace facade]. But further digging revealed a stepped pyramid structure hidden within it. Only the lower part of the stepped structure was preserved and it is possible it continued upwards in pure pyramid form.

Fig 43,44,45 (Archaic Egypt p82-83) show proposed reconstructions which the pyramid is set within a palace facade mastaba built around it. He continues to say it is possible this was a common feature to the palace facade tombs of the latter half of the first Dynasty, with earlier tombs that encased tumulus mounds in mud brick the likely precursor noting in particular a "Queen Her-nit". I think it is reasonable to wonder if this stepped "pyramid", and the others Emery says may have existed, was built earlier independant of later plans that encased it within a serekh mastaba.  

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And:

For what it is worth, it is interesting to note Manetho credits the 1st Dynasty king "Unephes", associated with Djet, with erecting the "pyramids", plural let alone one, near "Kochimi" which is Saqqara. Djet was two pharaohs up from Anedjib and the 4th after Narmer. Manetho also speaks of (Djoser's) pyramid being built in the 3rd Dynasty so we can at least confirm this was not a source of confusion as to what he was reffering to.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Quote

Do the original platform of G2 and the megalithic components of other nearby structures at Giza predate the earliest dynastic cemeteries we know were there before the 4th dynasty? I would love to have seen Giza in its earliest iteration.

As I much as I enjoy "toeing the line", blindly defending orthodox dogma, and doing my part to hide the "real truth" from humanity as to not upset the current paradigm, the dating of the megalithic components at Giza (G2 VT, MT, and base, G3 MT, and perhaps more) to the 4th Dynasty is something I struggle with mightily.  

Quote

It would be great if we could put into proper sequence the chronology of the occupation at Giza using what remains archaeologically. It’s all right there in front of us. The first step would be to officially acknowledge there are multiple layers of occupation preceding the 4th dynasty and that the idea of one ruler per pyramid complex is outdated. You’ve done a remarkable job breaking things down. I  find the idea that the flat topped back of the Sphinx implying it originally had a strictly practical use compelling.

I am not sure what the answers are but I am certain there are questions. 

Edited by Thanos5150
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1 hour ago, Thanos5150 said:

“As noted before, pyramids of a stepped platform variety appear in the late 1st Dynasty:

Depictions of other 1st Dynasty "pyramid"(s) were also found perhaps associated with Qa'a:”

fZ0wdJ0.png

ME: Identical to the graffiti showing Meydum as a stepped structure  before its later conversion to a pyramid.

 

“According to Emery Anedjib is the only pyramid structure found though he thinks it possible others of this later period may have been similar so for Qa'a to have built a pyramid structure makes sense. Interestingly what we see in these photos is quite misleading:

http://www.nemo.nu/ibisportal/0egyptintro/2egypt/2bildsidor/2anedjib.jpg

This is only one of 3 phases of construction which at some point later, perhaps within Adnejib's reign, a palace facade serekh mastaba was built around it otherwise completely obscuring it from view. Emery says:

  Quote

When first excavated, the superstructure of the tomb appeared to follow the familiar design of a rectangular platform, with its exterior decorated with recessed paneling [palace facade]. But further digging revealed a stepped pyramid structure hidden within it. Only the lower part of the stepped structure was preserved and it is possible it continued upwards in pure pyramid form.”


Although not later built as a palace facade mastaba, I wonder what the original outside of mastaba M17 and its close counterparts looked like before the superior interior was later covered over with the mound that we see today. 

“Fig 43,44,45 (Archaic Egypt p82-83) show proposed reconstructions which the pyramid is set within a palace facade mastaba built around it. He continues to say it is possible this was a common feature to the palace facade tombs of the latter half of the first Dynasty, with earlier tombs that encased tumulus mounds in mud brick the likely precursor noting in particular a "Queen Her-nit". I think it is reasonable to wonder if this stepped "pyramid", and the others Emery says may have existed, was built earlier independant of later plans that encased it within a serekh mastaba.”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And:

“For what it is worth, it is interesting to note Manetho credits the 1st Dynasty king "Unephes", associated with Djet, with erecting the "pyramids", plural let alone one, near "Kochimi" which is Saqqara. Djet was two pharaohs up from Anedjib and the 4th after Narmer. Manetho also speaks of (Djoser's) pyramid being built in the 3rd Dynasty so we can at least confirm this was not a source of confusion as to what he was reffering to.”

ME: Excellent point. This is all great stuff. I keep mulling these things over in my head in an effort to create a linear chronology of events adhering to what the archaeology is telling us.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“As I much as I enjoy "toeing the line", blindly defending orthodox dogma, and doing my part to hide the "real truth" from humanity as to not upset the current paradigm, the dating of the megalithic components at Giza (G2 VT, MT, and base, G3 MT, and perhaps more) to the 4th Dynasty is something I struggle with mightily”. 
 

ME: Lol, yes I know how dedicated you have always been to defending the status quo at the expense of actual archaeological evidence.

“I am not sure what the answers are but I am certain there are questions.”
 

ME: IMO I believe you’ve proven that beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

Edited by Antigonos
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10 hours ago, Antigonos said:

 

It took me a bit to figure it out when I came here, maybe some one has an easier way, but when you want to respond to multiple points within a quote you need to cut and paste and requote it as you go along. 

Quote

Identical to the graffiti showing Meydum as a stepped structure  before its later conversion to a pyramid.

A very interesting thought. They certainly don't look like mastaba 3038. 

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On 4/4/2023 at 9:38 AM, Thanos5150 said:

As noted before, pyramids of a stepped platform variety appear in the late 1st Dynasty:

Depictions of other 1st Dynasty "pyramid"(s) were also found perhaps associated with Qa'a:

fZ0wdJ0.png

According to Emery Anedjib is the only pyramid structure found though he thinks it possible others of this later period may have been similar so for Qa'a to have built a pyramid structure makes sense. Interestingly what we see in these photos is quite misleading:

http://www.nemo.nu/ibisportal/0egyptintro/2egypt/2bildsidor/2anedjib.jpg

This is only one of 3 phases of construction which at some point later, perhaps within Adnejib's reign, a palace facade serekh mastaba was built around it otherwise completely obscuring it from view. Emery says:

  Quote

When first excavated, the superstructure of the tomb appeared to follow the familiar design of a rectangular platform, with its exterior decorated with recessed paneling [palace facade]. But further digging revealed a stepped pyramid structure hidden within it. Only the lower part of the stepped structure was preserved and it is possible it continued upwards in pure pyramid form.

Fig 43,44,45 (Archaic Egypt p82-83) show proposed reconstructions which the pyramid is set within a palace facade mastaba built around it. He continues to say it is possible this was a common feature to the palace facade tombs of the latter half of the first Dynasty, with earlier tombs that encased tumulus mounds in mud brick the likely precursor noting in particular a "Queen Her-nit". I think it is reasonable to wonder if this stepped "pyramid", and the others Emery says may have existed, was built earlier independant of later plans that encased it within a serekh mastaba.  

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And:

For what it is worth, it is interesting to note Manetho credits the 1st Dynasty king "Unephes", associated with Djet, with erecting the "pyramids", plural let alone one, near "Kochimi" which is Saqqara. Djet was two pharaohs up from Anedjib and the 4th after Narmer. Manetho also speaks of (Djoser's) pyramid being built in the 3rd Dynasty so we can at least confirm this was not a source of confusion as to what he was reffering to.

More: 4th Dynasty Tomb of Debhen-Pyramids and Buildings

In the Tomb of Debhen is also depicted a truncated pyramid with temple on top:

Debhen.png

 

Square in the center flanked on the side by a ramp (stairs).

The same structures are depicted on 1st Dynasty artifacts such as the Narmer mace head:

Narmer_Macehead.png

576px-Narmer_Macehead_Quibell_1900.jpg

Among other artifacts:

560px-EbonyLabelOfDen-BritishMuseum-Augu

These are depictions of the Heb-Sed festival. 

In the reign of Qa'a, as noted above regarding 1st Dynasty pyramids, there is an inscription featuring a double stairway:

4d74c18c655490b3d5727d90ab8d654a--cleopa

I have argued the depiction of only a half stepped pyramid was done for artistic economy, i.e. to save space with what is depicted directly above in the Qa'a inscription being the complete structure-a tower center flanked by steps. 

I noticed an interesting hieroglyph on the 5th Dynasty Palermo Stone a while back which relates to this. Speaking of the 1st Dynasty pharaoh Den, 3rd row register 3 reads reads: "Appearance (in glory) of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Heb-sed."
Palermo Stone. p4.

The hieroglyph for Heb-Sed used on the Palermo Stone is the double stairway or stepped pyramid. Gardiner sign list 041:
hiero_O41.png?93ee9 To the people of the 5th Dynasty it was depicted as a stepped pyramid yet if it was really only a single stairway as rendered then they would have just used that sign instead: hiero_O40.png?4c8a7

What is interesting to me is that the Heb-Sed structure was obviously very important since the foundation of Dynastic Egypt, apparently a monumental piece of permanent architecture, yet not a single example of one has been found. Saqqara is given as the lone example of a Seb-Hed court, which still is lacking the stepped pyramid, uh...., hmmm, anyways- but to read Egyptologists like Romer this is more wishful imposition than anything related to facts. In reality they don't know what the Saqqara court is for or if it is related to the Seb-Hed. This was something concocted by inference from early Egyptologist and it gets repeated enough that it is "fact" when reality it is not. The Heb-Sed is surprisingly poorly understood which there seems to be no real indication later Egyptians understood what it originally meant either.

 

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I love these depictions of the stepped structures and the Heb-Sed. A most interesting topic that I want to further immerse myself in.

That double stairway inscription from Q’aa’s tomb at Abydos is a great one, it’s still in good condition and is very clear about what it depicts.  I noticed several of his serekhs too. (As an aside, man do I love serekhs! To me their depictions of kingship/queenship are much more dynamic than the later cartouches. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also enamored with cartouches, but I think serekhs are far and away superior to them for the power they convey artistically. Not least because of their representations of the Great House with its tied lotus flowered motif both signifying the Mesopotamian connection).

Thanks for the translation of Den’s hieroglyph on the Palermo Stone. I followed the link and zoomed in on the row/register you provided, it’s a beauty. I keep going back to it. 

Your point about the Heb-Sed structure being depicted as a single stairway to save space is to me a logical one. A type of ancient shorthand.

Regarding its importance and the puzzling lack of any archaeological remains:

You’ve stated that each Heb-Sed stepped pyramid was a monumental piece of permanent architecture. Is it possible they were only SEMI- permanent and disassembled after the death of the ruler it was made for?

We know that the use of First Dynasty royal enclosures was limited to the lifetime of each ruler, after their deaths they were closed, filled in, etc. and a new one was built for the next ruler. Similarly, might each Heb-Sed structure have been taken apart after the death of the ruler who had used it in life? And might the postulated semi permanent construction materials  (like the cedar wood imported from Byblos perhaps?) have later been repurposed, the cedar as timbers for the ceilings in their tombs? Whatever part of their ideology that necessitated the abandoning of each royal enclosure after the death of the king/queen may also have been the catalyst for doing the same with the Heb-Sed stepped platforms, maybe? 
 

I read an online article about Shunet-el-Zabib yesterday. It was talking about some recent renewed excavations within its walls. One discovery was described as a “mound used possibly for religious purposes.” Perhaps once the location of Khasekhemy’s Heb-Sed stepped platform?

I know ideologies shifted over time and I don’t know at this moment how this may have applied post 2nd Dynasty. Just spitballing here. 

Another possibility might be that they were all deconstructed for building materials much later after the fact. Hell, if the entire city of Memphis could have been hauled away for that purpose why not.

In The Rape of Tutankhamun, Romer quotes Champollion’s petition to Viceroy Mohammed Ali Pasha regarding the destruction of Egyptian monuments by Europeans. In it he says that fourteen entire temples had been demolished. “Once they have gone, they never will return.”

 I think Egypt has lost a lot more than we today will probably ever know.

The notion that even the later Egyptians did not understand the original Heb-Sed festival is interesting and puts me in mind of your idea that although Djedefre revived the practice of boat burying he may not have understood the original context behind the much earlier burial of the “moored fleet” at Abydos. 
 

I’m sure at one point there must have existed a plethora of contemporary papyri dealing with the Heb-Sed, temple records that archaeologists could have used to increase our understanding of it had any of the libraries within them been spared the ravages of time. I live in hope of papyri caches covering all types of subjects one day being recovered from the sand. 

As an aside because I thought of it when talking about cedar timbers in the First Dynasty:

The recreation in stone of wooden timbers on the ceiling within the tomb of Senwosret III of which you posted a photo of few years ago is to me a pretty overt homage to the real cedar posts in the tombs of the archaic rulers (your reason for posting it I would guess). Added to the fact that SIII’s tomb is also at Abydos near the first kings of Egypt, well away from his monumental architecture; to me it’s a strong reinforcement of the central thesis of your Where are the Pharaohs? thread. The rest of the missing pharaohs tombs may also be at Abydos. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Antigonos
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22 hours ago, Antigonos said:

I love these depictions of the stepped structures and the Heb-Sed. A most interesting topic that I want to further immerse myself in.

Cool. 

Quote

 

Regarding its importance and the puzzling lack of any archaeological remains:

You’ve stated that each Heb-Sed stepped pyramid was a monumental piece of permanent architecture. Is it possible they were only SEMI- permanent and disassembled after the death of the ruler it was made for?We know that the use of First Dynasty royal enclosures was limited to the lifetime of each ruler, after their deaths they were closed, filled in, etc. and a new one was built for the next ruler. Similarly, might each Heb-Sed structure have been taken apart after the death of the ruler who had used it in life? And might the postulated semi permanent construction materials  (like the cedar wood imported from Byblos perhaps?) have later been repurposed, the cedar as timbers for the ceilings in their tombs? Whatever part of their ideology that necessitated the abandoning of each royal enclosure after the death of the king/queen may also have been the catalyst for doing the same with the Heb-Sed stepped platforms, maybe? 

 

All good thoughts. They are no where to be found so this is certainly possible. What is pictured in Debhen seems quite substantial to be something just to be dismantled after a ceremony, but then again proportion in DE art is not always related to its actual size, but rather its importance. 

I find it interesting not only is the Heb-Sed platform always depicted the way it is with stairs and platform, why are the stairs important, but on a different note also that this convention was abandoned apparently from the MK onward with the focus more on the running of the race and/or raising the djed. 

Another example likely from the reign of Qa'a:

Qa_heb_sed.jpg

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1 hour ago, Thanos5150 said:

I find it interesting not only is the Heb-Sed platform always depicted the way it is with stairs and platform, why are the stairs important, but on a different note also that this convention was abandoned apparently from the MK onward with the focus more on the running of the race and/or raising the djed.

 

These different but consistent ideological shifts we see throughout AE history, of which I believe what you described above qualifies as another example, are all very intriguing, each in their own way.

Why did this one happen, who initiated it, and what exactly was the catalyst for the focus shifting away from the stepped platforms. Perhaps they symbolized something associated with early dynastic Egypt which the MK rulers for some reason wanted to actively disassociate themselves from. Original ideas which were ancient even then, being disregarded as outdated? The gradual effects of a foreign influence having entered the priesthood and central administration? Or was it the result of the whim of a single but powerful individual’s decision? A strictly human decision, or one with religious/political motivations?

Prioritizing the ruler’s running of the court may have been simple vanity exhibited by one ruler and the precedent he set just stuck, gradually eroding the stepped platform’s importance over time until it was disregarded altogether. 
 

Maybe the meaning behind the symbolism of the race and raising of the djed pillar grew to such greater proportions than previously that the priesthood made the decision to combine the symbolism of the platforms with the those of the former and the structures themselves came to be considered superfluous. 

Or maybe I’m just overthinking it. I come across (or in this case, am provided with) unanswered questions concerning history  and my brain goes off to the races. But I think there must be something there at any rate.

Either way I need to learn more about it first because I’ve only scratched the surface of this very interesting subject. 

Edited by Antigonos
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22 hours ago, Antigonos said:

These different but consistent ideological shifts we see throughout AE history, of which I believe what you described above qualifies as another example, are all very intriguing, each in their own way.

Why did this one happen, who initiated it, and what exactly was the catalyst for the focus shifting away from the stepped platforms. Perhaps they symbolized something associated with early dynastic Egypt which the MK rulers for some reason wanted to actively disassociate themselves from. Original ideas which were ancient even then, being disregarded as outdated? The gradual effects of a foreign influence having entered the priesthood and central administration? Or was it the result of the whim of a single but powerful individual’s decision? A strictly human decision, or one with religious/political motivations?

Prioritizing the ruler’s running of the court may have been simple vanity exhibited by one ruler and the precedent he set just stuck, gradually eroding the stepped platform’s importance over time until it was disregarded altogether. 
 

Maybe the meaning behind the symbolism of the race and raising of the djed pillar grew to such greater proportions than previously that the priesthood made the decision to combine the symbolism of the platforms with the those of the former and the structures themselves came to be considered superfluous. 

Or maybe I’m just overthinking it. I come across (or in this case, am provided with) unanswered questions concerning history  and my brain goes off to the races. But I think there must be something there at any rate.

Either way I need to learn more about it first because I’ve only scratched the surface of this very interesting subject. 

Looking forward to hearing all about it. 

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Below we see Jiroft to the south and Susa in the north:

main-qimg-9778032da97bda1f8f37009b982ca8

main-qimg-7bb5b14a6dce06fa00af5a0ddb846e

Susa is the main city of ancient Elam dating back to at least 4300BC (Late Ubaid Period). Since the beginnings of the 4th millennium Susa was heavily influenced by the Uruk culture of Mesopotamia so much so some argue it was an Uruk colony. Susa also has monumental stepped platforms, which like palace facade architecture in general dates back to the mid 6th millennium. Several other sites even older also have monumental stepped platforms which like the Ubaid was considered the standard public building program. 

Stepped platforms were ubiquitous within the Ubaid cultural sphere whose influence spread to ancient Iran as early as the 5th millennium. By c.3000BC the first ziggurats appear at Uruk and Sailk. Like the numerous other Mesopotamian influences (including Elamite) found in Egypt in the 4th millennium, discussed many times before, just like the Mesopotamian/Mesopotamian inspired serekh building it should not surprise us to see stepped platforms as well and if anything wonder why they do not appear sooner.  

Edited by Thanos5150
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At this point in your research, are you still convinced that the first wave of the Uruk expansion into Egypt was Elamite and came from the Red Sea by way of the Wadi al-Batin,  and that the second wave was Sumerian and came by way of the Levant?

 

Apologies, I know this doesn’t concern the OP but the other day when I went off about serekhs I was mistakenly of the mind that they fell out of use after the first appearance of the cartouche in the 3rd Dynasty. I don’t know why that thought gets stuck in my head especially having read thru your threads so often. I guess because there’s so much information in them it takes a while for everything to sink into my brain and stay there.

Rereading through your Meidum mastabas thread again I saw that it stayed in use until the MK and a Wiki source says there are even examples from the 30th dynasty. 
 

Embarrassing to have a passion for a subject yet make such remedial mistakes about basic knowledge. That’s what happens when trying to play catch-up for lost time I guess.

Anyway some of the sources on Wiki look promising to follow up with.

Edited by Antigonos
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2 hours ago, Antigonos said:

At this point in your research, are you still convinced that the first wave of the Uruk expansion into Egypt was Elamite and came from the Red Sea by way of the Wadi al-Batin,  and that the second wave was Sumerian and came by way of the Levant?

I have yet to progress on this beyond HERE. Kind of interesting though. The next step is to see what predynastic sites if any along this route may have some clues. There were a few I had bookmarked to take a dive on but haven't followed up yet. 

Quote

 

Apologies, I know this doesn’t concern the OP but the other day when I went off about serekhs I was mistakenly of the mind that they fell out of use after the first appearance of the cartouche in the 3rd Dynasty. I don’t know why that thought gets stuck in my head especially having read thru your threads so often. I guess because there’s so much information in them it takes a while for everything to sink into my brain and stay there.

Rereading through your Meidum mastabas thread again I saw that it stayed in use until the MK and a Wiki source says there are even examples from the 30th dynasty.

Embarrassing to have a passion for a subject yet make such remedial mistakes about basic knowledge. That’s what happens when trying to play catch-up for lost time I guess.

 

No worries brother. We are all just squirrels looking for a nut. I saw that and was going to make a comment but got side tracked somewhere. 

Quote

Anyway some of the sources on Wiki look promising to follow up with.

Be interested to see what you come up with. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
 

QMFE:

The Forgotten Kingdom of Kerma and Its Incredible Deffufas

Quote

The first settlement in Kerma can be traced back to the 4th millennium BC. This phase has been called ‘Pre-Kerma’. The Kingdom of Kerma, however, was established around 2500 BC. The timeline of this kingdom has been divided into three phases – Ancient / Early Kerma (around 2500 BC – 2050 BC), Middle Kerma (around 2050 BC – 1750 BC) and Classic Kerma (around 1750 BC – 1500 BC). Around 1500 BC, this Nubian kingdom came to an end, as it was during this period of time that the Egyptian pharaoh, Thutmosis I, defeated it and brought its territories under Egyptian rule.

Quote

The word Deffufa descends from either the Nubian term for mud-brick building, or from the Arabic word Daffa meaning "mass" or "pile". Although the religious nature of the Deffufas can not be doubted, their precise function has not been determined. While some regard the buildings as temples, others see them as royal residences. Whatever their function might have been, their architectures are unparalleled elsewhere in the ancient world and their importance to the people of Kerma is comparable to that of the Ziggurat to the people of Sumer. So far three Deffufas have been discovered; the Western Deffufa, which is the largest and the best preserved; the Eastern; and a third little explored Deffufa

Here.

cgroupmap.jpg

The "Western Deffufa":
http://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/western-deffufa.jpg?itok=BUMJfhxV.

Interesting to note this deffufa is surrounded by a cemetery of at least 30,000 graves and the Western around 1,000.

Doing a cursory search, through the Kerma culture was around since sometime in the 4th millennium BC it was not considered a "kingdom" until 2500BC. How these dates were arrived at I do not know but the latter in particular I am certainly interested to find out. This is a good lead: NUBIAN PHARAOHS AND MEROITIC KINGS: THE KINGDOM OF KUSH

Regarding the deffufas, dating seems to loosely fall between 2500-1700BC with consensus c. 2,000BC. One source nebulously suggests as early as 3,000BC of which regardless there is evidence of organized urban settlements there dating to at least this old. Ziggurats as a rule were built on over and over again for centuries, which makes me wonder if the foundations of the deffufas may in fact predate 2,000BC if not date to 3,000BC or earlier. Quite interesting if they did.

A few resources:
Here.
Here.

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