The old-fashioned chimerical concept of "race" is hopelessly inadequate to deal with the human biological reality of Egypt, ancient or modern. The study of clines or clusters alone cannot present a complete account, either. An assessment of both is necessary before we can begin to understand the biological nature of the people of the Nile Valley. Because the ancient Egyptians lived with this knowledge of themselves, they "did not think in terms of race" ( Yurco 1989, 24). For our own part, we should recognize how "presumptuous" it is "to assign our own primitive racial labels" ( Yurco, 58) to them or to anyone else. These not only prevent us from dealing with human biological variation in an adequate fashion, but they also lend themselves to the perpetuation of social injustice. The "race" concept did not exist in Egypt, and it is not mentioned in Herodotus, the Bible, or any of the other writings of classical antiquity ( Brace 1990). Because it has neither biological nor social justification, we should strive to see that it is eliminated from both public and private usage. Its absence will be missed by no one, and we shall all be better off without it. R.I.P.
Reprinted, with revisions, by permission from Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 36 ( 1993).
For access to the collections mentioned in tables 2, 3, and 5 we are in debt to a large number of curators, collection managers, technicians, and others associated with their care. Most of these have been previously acknowledged ( Brace, Rosenberg and Hunt 1987; Brace, Brace and Leonard 1989; Brace and Hunt 1990; Brace, Smith and Hunt 1991; Brace and Tracer 1992). For additional material used in the present study, we are especially thankful for the help rendered by C. Duhig and G. Man at the Duckworth Laboratory, Cambridge University; D. L. Greene and D. P. Van Gerven of the Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder; A. E. Marks, F. Wendorf, and R. K. Wetherington of the Department of Anthropology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas; P. Bennike, Panum Instituttet, Copenhagen; B. Kaufmann, Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel; O. da Veiga Ferreira and G. Zbyszewski, Serviços Geológicos de Portugal; J. M. Cruz, Instituto di Antropologia, Universidade do Porto; C. Simon, Département d'Anthropologie, Université de Genève; J. Wahl, Landesdenkmalamt, and A. Czarnetzki, Institut für Anthropologie und Humangenetik, Tübingen; W Scheffrahn, Anthropologisches Institut, Universität Zürich, Irchel; A. Langaney and J.-L. Heim, Musée de l'Homme, Paris; J. Papadopoulos, Verroia, Greece; and R. J. Rodden, Saffron Walden, Essex, England. Valuable suggestions were provided by M. Bernal, Department of Government, Cornell University, Ithaca. Partial support was provided by the Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People's Republic of China ( 1980, 1985), by the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology Research Fund ( 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992), by the L. S. B. Leakey Foundation ( 1986), by Diana Blaban Holt ( 1987), by the National Science Foundation (BNS-8616298, 1987, 1988), by the Irene Levi Sala CARE Ar