Ancient Egypt / Early Dynastic Period /
No distinct, single capital can be made out for this period. The main administration appear to have been conducted from Memphis while kings resided in Thinis, near Abydos, 550 km south along the Nile. The administrative division may have been a way of respecting sentiments of both Lower and Upper Egypt.
Egypt's territory was expanded into southern Palestine, Sinai and south into Nubia. Still, the region between Yabu (Elephantine) at the 1st cataract, Egypt's cultural southern border, and the 2nd cataract was never officially incorporated into Egypt.
The main religious centres of this period were Saqqara and Abydos. Kings were buried at Abydos, high officials at Saqqara, again reflecting the geo-political situation. The royal tombs are surprisingly poorly made, often strikingly inferior to the officials' tombs at Saqqara, casting doubt upon the actual role and position of the king.
There is much confusion to the beginnings of the dynasty. One theory makes its founder the first king to rule over a unified Egypt, another theory gives the honour of unifying Egypt to one or more of the kings of the 0th Dynasty. Depending on the theories, the first king of the 1st Dynasty may have been either Menes, Narmer or Aha.
The strongest period of the dynasty is usually defined to be the reign of King Den, the 5th king (30th century BCE).
To the kingship, 3 new titles were added: "Two ladies" reflecting the protective goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt; "Golden Horus" which had an unknown meaning and "nesw-bit" which came to be used throughout Ancient Egyptian history as the central designation of the king.
All information, especially the drastic increase in more sophisticated tombs, indicate that this was a period of increased prosperity, at least with the elite.
This period is noted for the introduction of written records, mainly related to the reign of its kings. In the middle of this period, papyrus paper for writing was invented.
Among the artefacts are goods in metal, ivory and other fine materials. The period is also noted for its fine stone vases.
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