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Early Dynastic Egypt

The last phase of the prehistoric period in Egypt is now generally known as the Naqada III period. However, there are already in Naqada III many inscribed objects, showing that writing was evolving and the country was developing towards a highly organised state. At the end of the Naqada period there are already hieroglyphic inscriptions attested which could be interpreted as the names of kings (Iry-Hor, Crocodile, Ka). The later sources open the history of Egypt with a king named Menes, and identified explicitly as the first king of Egypt. In current research there is no agreement as to which king known from contemporary sources should be identified as the king Menes of the later kinglists. Usually he is identified with either Narmer or Aha.

The Early Dynastic Period refers to the First and Second dynasties. In the Early Dynastic Period, Egyptian culture started to develop and Egyptian civilisation entered what is variously perceived today as its initial or formative phase.

The period saw progress in almost all technologies visible (metal working, faience). There is evidence of large-scale monumental architecture (kings' tombs in Abydos). Writing and art become standardised. A more complex administration and a calendar were developed. Excavations have shown that Abydos must have been the cemetery of the kings of the First Dynasty.



Many of the objects and finds of the Early Dynastic in Digital Egypt come from Tarkhan. Tarkhan is with about 2000 excavated, recorded and published tombs one of the major cemeteries of the period. Several important finds from the cemetery are in the Petrie Museum. The tombs and objects from this site amply illustrate the culture of the time.


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