Archaeology of Ancient Egypt

Paleolithic Lower Paleolithic, circa 700/500,000-200,000 BP Middle Paleolithic, circa 200,000-45,000 BP Upper Paleolithic, circa 35,000-21,000 BP Late Paleolithic, circa 21,000-12,000 BP Epi-paleolithic, circa 12,000-8,000 BP Neolithic, northern Egypt: begins circa 5200 BC Predynastic period: Ma’adi culture, northern Egypt, circa 4000-3300/3200 BC Badarian culture, Middle Egypt, circa 4500-3800 BC Nagada culture, southern Egypt: Nagada I, circa […]

Geographic and chronological scope of Egyptian archaeology

Kemet, the "black land," was the name the ancient Egyptians gave to their state. The "black land" of the fertile floodplain along the lower Nile Valley was differentiated from the barren "red land" of the deserts to either side of the valley. Beginning around 31003000 BC, a unified state stretched along the Nile from Aswan […]

Paleolithic cultures, overview (Archaeology of Ancient Egypt)

The record of the Egyptian Paleolithic is found in two very different areas, the Nile Valley and the Sahara. The Nile Valley seems to have been used continuously, or almost so, since more than 500,000 years ago. Use of the Sahara, however, was episodic. There were long intervals when it was hyperarid, with no trace […]

Epi-paleolithic cultures, overview (Archaeology of Ancient Egypt)

The term "Epi-paleolithic" is used in North Africa to refer to artifact assemblages characterized by microlithic tools spanning the interval between the end of the Paleolithic and the beginning of the Neolithic. The term "Neolithic" is often used to refer to the presence of pottery and grinding stones, once believed to be invariably associated with […]

Neolithic cultures, overview (Archaeology of Ancient Egypt)

The "Neolithic" (literally the "New Stone Age") is the common (if imprecise) term widely used to denote the initial appearance in a given region of food-producing—that is, agricultural—economies. For hundreds of millennia before agriculture appeared in Egypt, people lived there by hunting, fishing and gathering the area’s rich profusion of natural flora and fauna, but […]

Predynastic period, overview (Archaeology of Ancient Egypt)

The Predynastic period dates to the fourth millennium BC, when early farming communities first arose in the Egyptian Nile Valley. By the middle of this millennium social organization in some villages in Upper Egypt was becoming increasingly complex, and by 3000 BC the Early Dynastic state of Egypt had formed, unifing a large territory along […]

Early Dynastic period, overview (Archaeology of Ancient Egypt)

Also known as the "Archaic", the Early Dynastic period consists of the 1st and 2nd Dynasties (circa 3050-2686 BC). What is now known as "Dynasty 0" should probably be placed in this period as well at the end of the Predynastic sequence. Kings of Dynasty 0, who preceded those of the 1st Dynasty, were buried […]

Old Kingdom, overview (Archaeology of Ancient Egypt)

"Old Kingdom" is the term used by modern scholars to define the first lengthy period of documented centralized government in the history of ancient Egypt. It includes the 3rd through 8th Dynasties (in absolute chronology, circa 2665-2140 BC) within the traditional division of Egyptian history which has been adopted by modern Egyptologists. A further issue […]

First Intermediate Period, overview (Archaeology of Ancient Egypt)

The term "First Intermediate Period" has been employed by scholars to mean either the period of the 7th— 11th Dynasties or that from the 9th to mid-11th Dynasties. The designation is still useful when referring to the period from the 7th Dynasty to preconquest 11th Dynasty in its entirety, when there was political fragmentation of […]

Middle Kingdom, overview (Archaeology of Ancient Egypt)

With his victory over the forces of the northern kingdom of Heracleopolis and the resulting end of the civil war around 2040 BC, the Theban Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, the fifth king of the 11th Dynasty, became sole ruler of Egypt, taking on the name "Uniter-of-the-Two-Lands." Although he had to wage a few military campaigns against […]