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Ancient Egypt
1. Introduction
2. People
3. Life styles
4. Culture
5. Education and Science
6. Society
7. Economy
8. Government
9. Cities and Villages
10. Language
11. Religion
12. Kings / periods
13. History
14. Map

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Ca. 3100-2686 (Early Dynastic Period)

Open map of Ancient EgyptAncient Egypt /
Early Dynastic Period

Years BCE
1st Dynasty
3100-2890 BCE, lasting more than 200 years, consisting of 7 or 8 kings and possibly a queen.
2nd Dynasty
2890-2686, in all 204 years, consisting of 7 kings.

Djer's tomb at Abydos, Egypt.
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1st Dynasty: Tomb of King Djer at Abydos. Photo: soloegipto.

Khasekhemwy in limestone
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2nd Dynasty: Statue of King Khasekhemwy.

In Ancient Egypt, a period by national unity, but rudimentary forms of central control and administration.
The period is defined to begin roughly 3100 lasting until 2686 BCE, in all about 400 years, when it was followed by the Old Kingdom. The Predynastic Period include the 1st and 2nd Dynasty, some scholars also define a Dynasty 0, which also can be considered part of the Predynastic Period.
The extent of Egypt was from the Nile Delta to the 1st cataract, at Aswan. The oases and the Red Sea coast was not part of the territory.
During this era, the earliest capital was Abydos. Some claim that Memphis was founded in this period to become new capital of Egypt, but scholars have different opinions. Some place its founding with Menes, the famous predynastic king, others see evidence of it becoming capital first during the Old Kingdom.
The ruler established himself as a god-king. Administration rested with the king and the royal court, but with strong regional governors that had to exhibit their allegiance to the king. The role of the governor must have been pre-unification rulers accepting the supremacy of the national king, but exercising power defined by numerous factors; like geographical distance from the capital, regional wealth as well as personal charisma.
Culturally, this was a highly productive era, many dimensions of Egyptian culture and art were developed now. Temples were built, largely as open-air structures. Graves were mainly in the shape of mastabas, simple rectangular mounds with underground chambers for the dead. The art of writing, in the shape of hieroglyphs, was developed and sophisticated in this era, although hieroglyphs had emerged already in Predynastic Period.
There is no evidence for which languages were spoken across Egypt. It is still likely that Egypt had several languages before unification, and that a unified country helped the language of the rulers to gain ground, and sometimes replace local languages.
Religion at this time was an early form of Ancient Egyptian religion. Many gods were yet to be introduced or elevated to national importance. The central deities in the Horus, Seth and Neith.

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By Tore Kjeilen