Pan-Grave Culture: The Medjay

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The Medjay were herdsmen and warriors

The Medjay were a semi-nomadic people whose homeland was in the eastern desert ranging from Egypt to the Red Sea. They are mentioned as early as 2400 BC, when Egyptian texts recorded them as warriors serving with the Egyptian military. Later Egyptian texts also document their presence as soldiers at fortresses built along the Nile in Nubia. Their role serving the forces of authority was so enduring that by the time of the Egyptian New Kingdom the name Medjay had become a word for police of any ethnic or cultural background.

Archaeologists equate Pan-Grave burials with the Medjay

Shallow, circular graves containing distinctive black-topped red bowls are named Pan-Graves by archaeologists and are generally thought to be the burials of the Medjay people. Pan-Grave burials also include simple, rough incised bowls. Pan-Grave burials are scattered from the 3rd cataract to Middle Egypt, and their distinctive pottery is spread even further.