Egyptian Timeline:

Early Dynastic Period (3100 B.C.2700 B.C.)


Prehistoric and Predynastic Periods First Intermediate Period The Middle Kingdom Second Intermediate Period New Kingdom Third Intermediate Period Late Period Graeco-Roman Period Byzantine Period Early Dynastic Period Old Kingdom
The Early Dynastic Period, sometimes called the Archaic Period in earlier studies, consisted of Dynasties 1 and 2. Some Egyptologists also place some of the kings known to have ruled Upper Egypt prior to the unification of the country in a group called Dynasty 0. Other scholars place these pre-unification kings in the Predynastic Period.
The political union of the kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt, although traditionally assigned to the ruler Menes, probably was carried out under several reigns. Attempts to equated this Menes of Manetho's chronology with historical individuals such as Aha and Narmer are theoretical [17435]. 17435
During this period, the essentials of pharaonic culture were established, completing a long period of development extending back through the Predyanstic Period. These included a centralized royal administration, a written form of the language, artistic canonization of relief and sculpture, stone building techniques and large-scale mudbrick constructions.
The extensive cemetery at Abydos, where the ancestors of the first rulers of united Egypt were buried, continued as the site of the first royal necropolis. Large subterranean complexes of chambers containing not only the deceased, but numerous food offerings, furniture, clothing, as well as weapons were covered with a low mound in the desert. They were augmented by large mud brick enclosures nearer the agricultural area that probably served as the focus of offering and funeral rites.
At Memphis, the administrative center of the unified kingdom, a cemetery of large mudbrick mastabas was constructed on the north end of the Saqqarah plateau for the use of important officials. The presence of luxury burial goods bearing royal names, probably gifts from the king, led some scholars to the now discounted theory that these were royal tombs.
In the Theban area, little material evidence has been preserved from Dynasties 1 and 2, apart from some ceramic and stone vessels from Karnak and at Tarif. Given the extensive remains at contemporary sites to the north (Naqada) and south (Hierakonpolis), it is likely that Thebes also had a legacy of this period, now lost.
Published or last modified on: August 23, 2002
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