Nile Valley Scholars Debate

Published: 2019-10-04 07:30:00
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The Nile Valley scholars debate has been in existence for many years now. The debate aims to find the answer for the race of the ancient occupants of the Nile Valley. Many western scholars particularly those of the early twentieth century did not accept that black people were the ancient occupants of the Nile Valley because they viewed blacks as unable to build the great civilization of the place.

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Scholars have had different views on the racial identity and culture of ancient Egyptians. While some scholars viewed that Afro-Asiatic populations in Northeast Africa had an influence on ancient Egyptian culture, others argued that the culture was influenced by some Nubian groups in Europe (Zaki 1). The debate intensified during the period of trying to end slavery in the United States. Some scholars such as Samuel Morton argued that black people existed in ancient Egypt, but they were slaves and servants (Morton 41). Modern Ancient Egypt scholars have responded to this debate in different ways. However, most of them have increasingly come to reject the hierarchical and typological models of the race for geographical models and agree that Egyptians were native to the Nile Valley.

The Nile Valley Scholars debate has been there for a long time. Scholars have had different views on the race of ancient Egyptians. The question of the genetic affiliations and the phenotypical characteristics of ancient Egyptians is still a point of debate for many scholars. However, many scholars have come to agree that the geographical model is more suitable for the study of ancient Egypt.

Africa as the Home of the Earliest Human

Many scholars consider Africa as the home of the earliest humans. Though many people who have some information about the evolution theory probably understand that Africa was the home of the earliest humans, some may not know how this conclusion by scientists came to be. Many scholars believe Africa to be the home of early humans because the fossils of early humans were present in the continent.

The quest for finding human fossils started after Charles Darwin speculated in his book The Descent of Man that humans originated from Africa (Darwin 85). The speculation was based on the fact that the closest relatives of humans gorillas and chimpanzees live on the continent. Human beings and apes have many identical characteristics showing that they share a common ancestor. Most scientists agree that the first evolution of humans was in Africa because most fossils of early human beings come entirely from Africa (Tattersall 1). From their origins, humans were then able to migrate to other continents and populated many other parts of the world. Some of the fossil remains that offered important clues to the identification of early humans include bones, tools, footprints, and evidence of hearths among others. The historical significance of this claim is that it allows scientists to carry more research to find fossils that would offer credible evidence to the origins of man as well as find the missing links in the evolution process.

The fossil records have resulted in a comprehensive outline of the history of human evolution. From teeth and skeletons to the tools that mankind used, scientists have found more than six thousand fossils of humans. Though there are new discoveries every year, what remains clear is that the earliest human fossils were in Africa. As a result, most scholars have come to believe Africa as the earliest home of mankind.

Discussion of Historical Terms

The Curse of King Tut

Stories about the curse of King Tut claim that whoever tries to violate the final resting place of King Tutankhamun would face a terrible curse. The kings tomb is in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, and there are many claims that people who dared open the tomb soon became victims of the curse and died in mysterious circumstances (Radford: The Curse of King Tut). The curse allows for a better understanding of world history because it challenges researchers to find if the curse is real and its origins.


Ziggurats were types of temples in the form of pyramids with terraces of successively receding stories that were common to people of ancient Mesopotamia. It was believed the Ziggurats were the places where the gods lived as they made them closer to man. The facings of the temples had different colors believed to have astrological significance (Niroumand, Zain, and Jamil 11). Researchers want to find archaeological evidence that links the Egyptian pyramids to the Ziggurats and therefore, know if the Mesopotamian culture spread to other parts of the world.


The Epic of Gilgamesh was written in c. 2150-1400 BCE in which Gilgamesh was the main character. Gilgamesh was portrayed as a demigod who had superhuman strength and lived a long life. He was the king of Uruk and using his strength he built the walls of the city to defend his people (Moseley 63). Gilgamesh contributes to historical research as many scholars view him as a historical figure since there exist inscriptions which show the existence of other characters in the epic.

The River Nile

The River Nile is located in Egypt and is the longest river in the world. Ancient Egyptians considered the river a source of life hence making it a vital part of the history of the country (Wilson 27). As a result of it being an important part of the life of Egyptians, many important myths of the country have a significant relation to the Nile River. Among the most notable myths that mention the river is the Osiris myth. The river was important to ancient Egypt as well as being an integral part of their gods.

The Moabite Stone

The Moabite Stone is a monument of ancient Moab with inscriptions consisting of thirty-four lines that contain approximately 260 words. It is believed that the King of Moab, Mesha, made the inscriptions on the stone in about 860 B.C (Emerton 483). The inscriptions show that Mesha was paying tribute to Israel. The Moabite Stone is important as it has contributed precious information to the history and religion of Moab which until the discovery had been scanty.

Works Cited

Darwin, Charles. The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981.

Emerton, John A. "The value of the Moabite stone as a historical source." Vetus Testamentum 52.4 (2002): 483-492.

Morton, Samuel George. Crania Aegyptiaca: Or, Observations on Egyptian Ethnography, Derived from Anatomy, History, and the Monuments. J. Pennington, 1844.

Moseley, Merritt. "The Epic of Gilgamesh." The Hero's Journey (2009): 63.

Niroumand, Hamed, Muhammad Fauzi Mohd Zain, and Maslina Jamil. "Earth Architecture: The Famous Buildings Based on Iranian Architecture in Iran." Advanced Materials Research. Vol. 457. Trans Tech Publications, 2012.

Radford, Benjamin. "The Curse of King Tut: Facts & Fable". Live Science, 2014. Online. Internet. 18 Jun. 2016. Available:

Tattersall, Ian. "Human origins: out of Africa." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106.38 (2009): 16018-16021.

Wilson, John A. The culture of ancient Egypt. University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Zaki, Adel. "Ancient Egyptian Race Controversy." Heart Mirror (2009): 1-2.

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Nile Valley Scholars Debate. (2019, Oct 04). Retrieved from


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