Normally I’m a bit averse to Keita, who waffles on like he’s being paid by the word. I was also initially rather put off by the iffy paper on the Badarians, which had a couple of glaring problems with it, as does this one. But, you can’t really look at North Africa without reading his publications.
He takes a viewpoint that the partially Eurasian derived Berbers and Egyptians are mainly ‘indigenous Africans’. Once you get your head around that ‘indigenous African’ doesn’t mean black or sub Saharan African but also refers to Egyptians and modern Berbers, his work makes a lot more sense. He’s massively misquoted by the muppets on Egyptsearch, who always manage to ignore that Keita explicitly states in one paper that modern Egyptians are mainly the same as the pre-Neolithic Egyptians, with some immigration due to the Neolithic and later invasions, which is exactly what everyone else sane says. He’s also on the record as saying Egyptians look pretty much the same. He also rambles on a bit. But then, Brace is irritatingly self contradictory at times. So I guess no author is without their faults
Keita on Egyptians.
..current inhabitants of the Nile valley should be understood as being in the main, although not wholly, descendants of the pre-neolithic regional inhabitants
S.O.Y. KEITA AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 83:35-48 (1990)
ABSTRACT Historical sources and archaeological data predict significant population variability in mid-Holocene northern Africa. Multivariate analyses of crania demonstrate wide variation but also suggest an indigenous cranio- metric pattern common to both late dynastic northern Egypt and the coastal Maghreb region. Both tropical African and European metric phenotypes, as well intermediate patterns, are found in mid-Holocene Maghreb sites. Early southern predynastic Egyptian crania show tropical African affinities, displaying craniometric trends that differ notably from the coastal northern African pattern. The various craniofacial patterns discernible in northern Africa are attributable to the agents of microevolution and migration.
That both phenotypes are found, not really a shocker as the DNA studies show continuity in North Africa since the 12,000 BP Taforalt site.
The analyses demonstrate the metric heterogeneity of pre-Roman mid-Holocene Maghreban crania. The range of variation in the restricted area described extends from a tropical African metric pattern to a European one and supports the phenotypic variability observed in and near Carthage by ancient writers and in morphological studies. Thus the population emerges as a composite entity, no doubt also containing hybrid individuals. However, the centroid value of the combined Maghreb series indicates that the major craniometric pattern is most similar to that of northern dynastic Egyptians, not northwest Europeans. Furthermore, the series from the coastal Maghreb and northern (Lower) Egypt are more similar to one another than they are to any other series by centroid values and unknown analyses.
The upper Nile Valley series show close affinities to one another and to tropical African series. Thus variation is also present in the Egyptian Nile Valley, as the northern pattern trend is distinguishable from the southern one. The Badari and Nagada I cranial patterns emerge as tropical African variants (with Kerma). Badari remains show little affinity to the mass of Maghreban crania. Notable Nagada/Kerma metric overlapis observed with the first dynasty series,which shares the pattern to a lesser degree, as indicated by its centroid values.
In summary, canonical variate analysis demonstrates the impressive variation suggested previously for early northern Africa. It also suggests that there was a modal craniometric phenotype common to northern-Egypt and the coastal Maghreb in the mid Holocene, intermediate to European and southern Egyptian Nile Valley/tropical series.
A few comments on this paper. He points out that NW Europeans have absolutely no resemblance to these North Africans (fair enough) but neglects to mention how similar or dissimilar they are to SE Europeans. Which is particularly odd, since a moderate Neolithic inflow from SE Europe/near East is accepted by him in another publication. So, you’d think a comparison to SE Europeans or Levantine populations would be more appropriate. Then, another paper uses NW Europeans as the base line for all Europeans when comparing them to the Badarians, instead if groups like Greeks or Levantine people or modern North Africans, or heaven forbid, modern Egyptians. Which makes no sense. And he had the cheek to criticise Brace and other authors on their choice of sample populations.
Just for once I’d like to see a direct comparison of ancient to modern Egyptians, for hair, limb length and crania with the few DNA samples taken chucked in for good measure.
Also, my long running bugbear is his quote from Strouhal.
Strouhal(1971) also analyzed hair in his study of 117 Badari crania, in which he concluded that >80% were Negroid; most of these were interpreted as being hybrids
I’ve seen material from Strouhal; it doesn’t say the hair was greater than 80% negroid. I’ve seen ‘sterotypically mulatto’ and a detailed description that was anything other than >80% negroid. Strouhal also describes the Badari crania as a ‘mix of races’, slightly overweighted to the European. Which is pretty standard for the older crania studies. So I’m baffled as to the exact reference for this. However, points he and I agree on are that there was a 24k or so old expansion from upper Egypt so I know he’s not an idiot.