When we think of ancient Egypt, pyramids and pharaohs are more than likely the first thing to pertained to mind. Possibly we rather imagine the descent right into Tutankhamun’s treasure-filled tomb, or a mummified body, tho wrapped in layers of linen bandages within its sarcophagus. The Nile offers life come the desert, flooding yearly (at least until the construction of the dams in the 20th century) and also providing its fertile silts to among the many productive agricultural regions in the world.


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A smiting step from the first Dynasty, approximately 3000 BC.

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Compare the to this one, indigenous the Nineteenth Dynasty, around 1700 year later:


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Ivory combs, c. 3900-3500 BC.

Combs issue a an excellent deal if your hair is a means of mirroring who girlfriend are and also who friend belong with. This emphasis on the body continued all the means up into the historical period. Beliefs around it, and why it mattered therefore much, were tied right into the eventual advance of mummification and also all the beliefs that went together with that.

The second crucial holdover native this earlier duration was the importance of burials and funerary monuments. If you a herder who moves from pasture come pasture, your home isn’t permanent, yet your burial place is. Cemeteries, fairly than settlements, were the permanent attributes on the see of the Nile sink in this period. Urban of the dead come long prior to cities the the living, and the Egyptians never forgot the focus they put on where and also how the dead to be treated. Intended mummification, because that example, could have started as at an early stage as 3600 BC, 4 or five centuries before kings thrived in uniting Egypt.


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These things weren’t unique to what later became Egypt, though. They were simply general characteristics of cultures in the Nile Valley, extending from the edge of the Nile Delta in the north much into contemporary Sudan in the south. The people of the Delta, wha later ended up being known as lower Egypt, had a far different lifestyle. There was no such point as “Egypt,” also if some facets of this earlier culture embedded us in what ended up being characteristically Egyptian.

So these were the foundations of ancient Egyptian society, and also they predated also the faster kings. Yet emperors did at some point rise, and also so too did the pyramids. It is a story because that later.

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If friend think this ingredient is cool, check out today’s episode of Tides that History. Ns cover Egypt prior to the pharaohs in much better detail.