Kingdom of Kush
The Kingdom of Kush or Kush was an ancient kingdom in Nubia, located at the Sudanese and southern Egyptian Nile Valley. The Kushite era of rule in Nubia was established after the Late Bronze Age collapse and the disintegration of the New Kingdom of Egypt. Kush was centered at Napata during its early phase. After Kashta invaded Egypt in the 8th century BC, the monarchs of Kush were the pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt, until they were expelled by the Neo-Assyrian Empire under the rule of Esarhaddon a century later. During classical antiquity, the Kushite imperial capital was located at Meroë. In early Greek geography, the Meroitic kingdom was known as Aethiopia; the Kingdom of Kush with its capital at Meroe persisted until the 4th century AD, when it weakened and disintegrated due to internal rebellion. The seat was captured and burnt to the ground by the Kingdom of Aksum. Afterwards the Nubians established the three Christianized, kingdoms of Nobatia and Alodia; the native name of the Kingdom was recorded in Egyptian as k3š pronounced /kuɫuʃ/ or /kuʔuʃ/ in Middle Egyptian when the term is first used for Nubia, based on the New Kingdom-era Akkadian transliteration as the genitive kūsi.
It is an ethnic term for the native population who initiated the kingdom of Kush. The term is displayed in the names of Kushite persons, such as King Kashta. Geographically, Kush referred to the region south of the first cataract in general. Kush was the home of the rulers of the 25th dynasty; the name Kush, since at least the time of Josephus, has been connected with the biblical character Cush, in the Hebrew Bible, son of Ham. Ham had four sons named: Cush, Put and Mizraim. According to the Bible, Nimrod, a son of Cush, was the founder and king of Babylon, Erech and Calneh, in Shinar; the Bible makes reference to someone named Cush, a Benjamite. Some modern scholars, such as Friedrich Delitzsch, have suggested that the biblical Cush might be linked to the Kassites of the Zagros Mountains. Mentuhotep II, the 21st century BC founder of the Middle Kingdom, is recorded to have undertaken campaigns against Kush in the 29th and 31st years of his reign; this is the earliest Egyptian reference to Kush.
Under Thutmose I, Egypt made several campaigns south. This resulted in their annexation of Nubia circa 1504 BC. After the conquest, Kerma culture was Egyptianized, yet rebellions continued for 220 years until c. 1300 BC. During the New Kingdom, Nubia became a key province of the New Kingdom, economically and spiritually. Indeed, major Pharonic ceremonies were held at Jebel Barkal near Napata; as an Egyptian colony from the 16th century BC, Nubia was governed by an Egyptian Viceroy of Kush. With the disintegration of the New Kingdom around 1070 BC, Kush became an independent kingdom centered at Napata in modern northern Sudan; the extent of cultural/political continuity between the Kerma culture and the chronologically succeeding Kingdom of Kush is difficult to determine. The latter polity began to emerge around 500 years after the end of the Kingdom of Kerma. By 1200 BC, Egyptian involvement in the Dongola Reach was nonexistent. By the 8th century BC, the new Kushite kingdom emerged from the Napata region of the upper Dongola Reach.
The first Napatan king, dedicated his sister to the cult of Amun at the rebuilt Kawa temple, while temples were rebuilt at Barkal and Kerma. A Kashta stele at Elephantine, places the Kushites on the Egyptian frontier by the mid-eighteenth century; this first period of the kingdom's history, the'Napatan', was succeeded by the'Meroitic', when the royal cemeteries relocated to Meroe around 300 BC. The Kushites buried their monarchs along with all their courtiers in mass graves. Archaeologists refer to these practices as the "Pan-grave culture"; this was given its name due to the way. They would put stones around them in a circle. Kushites built burial mounds and pyramids, shared some of the same gods worshiped in Egypt Ammon and Isis. With the worshiping of these gods the Kushites began to take some of the names of the gods as their throne names; the Kush rulers were regarded as guardians of the state religion and were responsible for maintaining the houses of the gods. Some scholars believe; the state would redistribute to the people.
Others believe that most of the society worked on the land and required nothing from the state and did not contribute to the state. Northern Kush seemed to be wealthier than the Southern area. Dental trait analysis of fossils dating from the Meroitic period in Semna, found that they were related to Afroasiatic-speaking populations inhabiting the Nile, Horn of Africa and Canary Islands; the Meroitic skeletons and these ancient and recent fossils were phenotypically distinct from those belonging to recent Niger–Congo, Nilo-Saharan and Khoisan-speaking populations in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as from the Mesolithic inhabitants of Jebel Sahaba in Nubia. Resistance to the early eighteenth Dynasty Egyptian rule by neighbouring Kush is evidenced in the writings of Ahmose, son of Ebana, an Egyptian warrior who served under Nebpehtrya Ahmose, Djeserkara Amenhotep I and Aakheperkara Thutmose I. At the end of the Second Intermediate Period (mid-sixteenth century BC
Papyrus is a material similar to thick paper, used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge. Papyrus can refer to a document written on sheets of such material, joined together side by side and rolled up into a scroll, an early form of a book. Papyrus is first known to have been used in Egypt, as the papyrus plant was once abundant across the Nile Delta, it was used throughout the Mediterranean region and in the Kingdom of Kush. Apart from a writing material, ancient Egyptians employed papyrus in the construction of other artifacts, such as reed boats, rope and baskets. Papyrus was first manufactured in Egypt as far back as the fourth millennium BCE; the earliest archaeological evidence of papyrus was excavated in 2012 and 2013 at Wadi al-Jarf, an ancient Egyptian harbor located on the Red Sea coast. These documents date from c. 2560–2550 BCE. The papyrus rolls describe the last years of building the Great Pyramid of Giza.
In the first centuries BCE and CE, papyrus scrolls gained a rival as a writing surface in the form of parchment, prepared from animal skins. Sheets of parchment were folded to form quires from. Early Christian writers soon adopted the codex form, in the Græco-Roman world, it became common to cut sheets from papyrus rolls to form codices. Codices were an improvement on the papyrus scroll, as the papyrus was not pliable enough to fold without cracking and a long roll, or scroll, was required to create large-volume texts. Papyrus had the advantage of being cheap and easy to produce, but it was fragile and susceptible to both moisture and excessive dryness. Unless the papyrus was of perfect quality, the writing surface was irregular, the range of media that could be used was limited. Papyrus was replaced in Europe by the cheaper, locally produced products parchment and vellum, of higher durability in moist climates, though Henri Pirenne's connection of its disappearance with the Muslim conquest of Egypt is contested.
Its last appearance in the Merovingian chancery is with a document of 692, though it was known in Gaul until the middle of the following century. The latest certain dates for the use of papyrus are 1057 for a papal decree, under Pope Victor II, 1087 for an Arabic document, its use in Egypt continued until it was replaced by more inexpensive paper introduced by the Islamic world who learned of it from the Chinese. By the 12th century and paper were in use in the Byzantine Empire, but papyrus was still an option. Papyrus was made in several prices. Pliny the Elder and Isidore of Seville described six variations of papyrus which were sold in the Roman market of the day; these were graded by quality based on how fine, firm and smooth the writing surface was. Grades ranged from the superfine Augustan, produced in sheets of 13 digits wide, to the least expensive and most coarse, measuring six digits wide. Materials deemed unusable for writing or less than six digits were considered commercial quality and were pasted edge to edge to be used only for wrapping.
Until the middle of the 19th century, only some isolated documents written on papyrus were known, that museums displayed them as curiosities. They did not contain literary works; the first modern discovery of papyri rolls was made at Herculaneum in 1752. Until the only papyri known had been a few surviving from medieval times. Scholarly investigations began with the Dutch historian Caspar Jacob Christiaan Reuvens, he wrote about the content of the Leyden papyrus, published in 1830. The first publication has been credited to the British scholar Charles Wycliffe Goodwin, who published for the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, one of the Papyri Graecae Magicae V, translated into English with commentary in 1853; the English word "papyrus" derives, from Greek πάπυρος, a loanword of unknown origin. Greek has a second word for it, βύβλος; the Greek writer Theophrastus, who flourished during the 4th century BCE, uses papyros when referring to the plant used as a foodstuff and byblos for the same plant when used for nonfood products, such as cordage, basketry, or writing surfaces.
The more specific term βίβλος biblos, which finds its way into English in such words as'bibliography','bibliophile', and'bible', refers to the inner bark of the papyrus plant. Papyrus is the etymon of'paper', a similar substance. In the Egyptian language, papyrus was called wadj, djet; the word for the material papyrus is used to designate documents written on sheets of it rolled up into scrolls. The plural for such documents is papyri. Historical papyri are given identifying names — the name of the discoverer, first owner or institution where they are kept—and numbered, such as "Papyrus Harris I". An abbreviated form is used, such as "pHarris I"; these documents provide important information on ancient writings. When, in the 18th century, a library of ancient papyri was found in Herculaneum, ripples of expectation spread among the learned men of the time. However, since these papyri were badly charred, their unscrolling and deciphe
Tomb KV36, located in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, was used for the burial of the noble Maiherpri from the Eighteenth Dynasty. Rediscovered by Victor Loret in his second season in the Valley of the Kings, on 30 March 1899, the tomb was found to be undisturbed, but as it has for a long time not been properly published, it is not as well known as other burials in the valley. All the objects found were taken to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo where they were published in the Catalogue General; the only source for the arrangement of the objects in the burial chamber was a short article by Georg Schweinfurth. He visited the tomb before its contents were brought to Cairo; however the notebooks of Loret were found and published, providing a detailed list and description of the objects found and their arrangement in the tomb chamber. The tomb of Maiherpri is a small shaft tomb with a chamber at the bottom on its west side; the burial chamber was undecorated, as with all burial chambers of non-royals in the Valley of the King.
It is 4.10 m wide. Not much is known about Maiherpri. Only two titles appear on the objects within the burial: child of the nursery and fan-bearer on the right side of the king; the mummy showed. Maiherpri was placed in a set of three coffins; the outer one is rectangular, painted black with gilded decoration. It is more a shrine than a coffin. Inside it there were two anthropoid coffins in black with gilded decoration. There is a third anthropoid coffin found next to this coffin ensemble with its lid placed next to the box; this caused some discussion in Egyptology. It seems that the'extra' coffin was intended as the innermost one, but was too big to fit into the set and was therefore left unused next to it. A similar situation was found in the burial of Tutankhamun, where his second coffin was slightly too large for the outermost one. There the coffin was shortened directly in the tomb chamber, while in the burial of Maiherpri a new coffin was obtained. Maiherpri mummy was adorned with a mummy mask.
At the foot end of the rectangular coffin, on the east side was found his canopic box with the four canopic jars still in it. Next to it there was the Book of the Dead of Maiherpri and there were found several boxes with mummified pieces of meat. At the head of the coffins were found too many pottery vessels. Other objects from this tomb are stone vases, a senet game, a nicely painted faience bowl, a quiver, a glass vase and a funerary bed with the shape of Osiris laid out in wheat. Christian Orsenigo: La tomba di Maiherperi. In: La Valle dei Re Riscoperta, I giornali di scavo Vitor Loret e altri inediti. Mailand 2004, pp. 214–221, 271–281 Reeves, N & Wilkinson, R. H; the Complete Valley of the Kings, 1996, Thames and Hudson, London. Siliotti, A. Guide to the Valley of the Kings and to the Theban Necropolises and Temples, 1996, A. A. Gaddis, Cairo. Rice, Michael. Who's Who in Ancient Egypt. Routledge. Theban Mapping Project: KV36 - Includes detailed maps of most of the tombs
New Kingdom of Egypt
The New Kingdom referred to as the Egyptian Empire, is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the 18th, 19th, 20th dynasties of Egypt. Radiocarbon dating places the exact beginning of the New Kingdom between 1570 BC and 1544 BC; the New Kingdom followed the Second Intermediate Period and was succeeded by the Third Intermediate Period. It marked the peak of its power; the part of this period, under the 19th and 20th Dynasties, is known as the Ramesside period. It is named after the 11 Pharaohs that took the name Ramesses, after Ramesses I, the founder of the 19th Dynasty; as a result of the foreign rule of the Hyksos during the Second Intermediate Period, the New Kingdom saw Egypt attempt to create a buffer between the Levant and Egypt proper, during this time Egypt attained its greatest territorial extent. In response to successful 17th century attacks during the Second Intermediate Period by the powerful Kingdom of Kush, the rulers of the New Kingdom felt compelled to expand far south into Nubia and to hold wide territories in the Near East.
In the north, Egyptian armies fought Hittite armies for control of modern-day Syria. The 18th Dynasty included some of Egypt's most famous Pharaohs, including Ahmose I, Thutmose III, Amenhotep III, Akhenaten and Tutankhamun. Queen Hatshepsut concentrated on expanding Egypt's external trade by sending a commercial expedition to the land of Punt. Thutmose III expanded Egypt's army and wielded it with great success to consolidate the empire created by his predecessors; this resulted in a peak in Egypt's power and wealth during the reign of Amenhotep III. During the reign of Thutmose III, the term Pharaoh referring to the king's palace, became a form of address for the person, king. One of the best-known 18th Dynasty pharaohs is Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaten in honor of the Aten, a representation of the Egyptian god, Ra, his exclusive worship of the Aten is interpreted as history's first instance of monotheism. Akhenaten's wife, contributed a great deal to his new take on the Egyptian religion.
Nefertiti was bold enough to perform rituals to Aten. Akhenaten's religious fervor is cited as the reason why he and his wife were subsequently written out of Egyptian history. Under his reign, in the 14th century BC, Egyptian art flourished in a distinctive new style. By the end of the 18th Dynasty, Egypt's status had changed radically. Aided by Akhenaten's apparent lack of interest in international affairs, the Hittites had extended their influence into Phoenicia and Canaan to become a major power in international politics — a power that both Seti I and his son Ramesses II would confront during the 19th Dynasty; the Nineteenth Dynasty was founded by the Vizier Ramesses I, whom the last ruler of the 18th dynasty, Pharaoh Horemheb, had chosen as his successor. His brief reign marked a transition period between the reign of Horemheb and the powerful pharaohs of this dynasty, in particular, his son Seti I and grandson Ramesses II, who would bring Egypt to new heights of imperial power. Ramesses II sought to recover territories in the Levant, held by the 18th Dynasty.
His campaigns of reconquest culminated in the Battle of Kadesh, where he led Egyptian armies against those of the Hittite king Muwatalli II. Ramesses was caught in history's first recorded military ambush, although he was able to rally his troops and turn the tide of battle against the Hittites thanks to the arrival of the Ne'arin; the outcome of the battle was undecided, with both sides claiming victory at their home front, resulting in a peace treaty between the two nations. Egypt was able to obtain stability under Ramesses' rule of over half a century, his immediate successors continued the military campaigns, although an troubled court—which at one point put a usurper on the throne—made it difficult for a pharaoh to retain control of the territories. Ramesses II was famed for the huge number of children he sired by his various wives and concubines; the last "great" pharaoh from the New Kingdom is considered to be Ramesses III, a 20th Dynasty pharaoh who reigned several decades after Ramesses II.
In the eighth year of his reign the Sea Peoples invaded Egypt by sea. Ramesses III defeated them in two great sea battles, he incorporated them as subject peoples and settled them in Southern Canaan although there is evidence that they forced their way into Canaan. Their presence in Canaan may have contributed to the formation of new states, such as Philistia, in this region after the collapse of the Egyptian Empire, he was compelled to fight invading Libyan tribesmen in two major campaigns in Egypt's Western Delta in his sixth year and eleventh year respectively. The heavy cost of this warfare drained Egypt's treasury and contributed to the gradual decline of the Egyptian Empire in Asia; the severity of the difficulties is indicated by the fact that the first known labor strike in recorded history occurred during the 29th year of Ramesses III's reign, when the food rations for Egypt's favored and elite royal tomb-builders and artisans in the village of Deir el Medina could not be provisioned.
Air pollutants prevented much sunlight from reaching the ground and arrested global tree growth for two full decades until 1140 BC. On
A necropolis is a large, designed cemetery with elaborate tomb monuments. The name stems from the Ancient Greek νεκρόπολις nekropolis meaning "city of the dead"; the term implies a separate burial site at a distance from a city, as opposed to tombs within cities, which were common in various places and periods of history. They are different from grave fields. While the word is most used for ancient sites, the name was revived in the early 19th century and applied to planned city cemeteries, such as the Glasgow Necropolis; the Giza Necropolis of ancient Egypt is one of the oldest and the most well-known necropolis in the world since the Great Pyramid of Giza was included in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Aside from the pyramids, which were reserved for the burial of Pharaohs, the Egyptian necropoleis included mastabas, a typical royal tomb of the early Dynastic period. Naqsh-e Rustam is an ancient necropolis located about 12 km northwest of Persepolis, in Fars Province, Iran; the oldest relief at Naqsh-i Rustam dates to c. 1000 BC.
Though it is damaged, it depicts a faint image of a man with unusual headgear and is thought to be Elamite in origin. The depiction is part of a larger image, most of, removed at the command of Bahram II. Four tombs belonging to Achaemenid kings are carved out of the rock face at a considerable height above the ground; the tombs are known locally after the shape of the facades of the tombs. Sassanian kings added a series of rock reliefs below the tombs. In the Mycenean Greek period predating ancient Greece, burials could be performed inside the city. In Mycenae, for example, the royal tombs were located in a precinct within the city walls; this changed during the ancient Greek period when necropoleis lined the roads outside a city. There existed some degree of variation within the ancient Greek world however. Sparta was notable for continuing the practice of burial within the city; the Etruscans took the concept of a "city of the dead" quite literally. The typical tomb at the Banditaccia necropolis at Cerveteri consists of a tumulus which covers one or more rock-cut subterranean tombs.
These tombs were elaborately decorated like contemporary houses. The arrangement of the tumuli in a grid of streets gave it an appearance similar to the cities of the living; the art historian Nigel Spivey considers the name cemetery inadequate and argues that only the term necropolis can do justice to these sophisticated burial sites. Etruscan necropoleis were located on hills or slopes of hills. List of necropoleis Funerary art Catacombs
Nubia is a region along the Nile river encompassing the area between Aswan in southern Egypt and Khartoum in central Sudan. It was the seat of one of the earliest civilizations of ancient Africa, with a history that can be traced from at least 2500 BC onward with the Kerma culture; the latter was conquered by the New Kingdom of Egypt under pharaoh Thutmose I around 1500 BC. Nubia was home to several empires, most prominently the kingdom of Kush, which conquered Egypt during the 8th century BC during the reign of Piye and ruled the country as its Twenty-fifth Dynasty; the collapse of Kush in the 4th century AD after more than a thousand years of existence was precipitated by an invasion by Ethiopia's Kingdom of Aksum and saw the rise of three Christian kingdoms, Nobatia and Alodia, the last two again lasting for a millennium. Their eventual decline initiated not only the partition of Nubia into the northern half conquered by the Ottomans and the southern half by the Sennar sultanate in the 16th century, but a rapid Islamization and partial Arabization of the Nubian people.
Nubia was again united with the Khedivate of Egypt in the 19th century. Today, the region of Nubia is split between Sudan; the archaeological science dealing with ancient Nubia is called Nubiology. The name Nubia is derived from that of the Noba people, nomads who settled the area in the 4th century CE following the collapse of the kingdom of Meroë; the Noba spoke a Nilo-Saharan language, ancestral to Old Nubian. Old Nubian was used in religious texts dating from the 8th and 15th centuries. Before the 4th century, throughout classical antiquity, Nubia was known as Kush, or, in Classical Greek usage, included under the name Ethiopia; the people of Nubia spoke at least two varieties of the Nubian language group, a subfamily that includes Nobiin, Kenuzi-Dongola and several related varieties in the northern part of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan. Until at least 1970, the Birgid language is now extinct. However, linguistic evidence indicates that the languages spoken in the ancient Kerma Culture in Nubia, belonged to the Cushitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages.
Nubia was divided into three major regions: Upper and Lower Nubia, in reference to their locations along the Nile. Lower refers to regions upper refers to regions upstream. Lower Nubia lies within the current borders of Egypt. Middle Nubia lies between the Third Cataracts. Upper Nubia lies south of the Third Cataract. Early settlements sprouted in both Lower Nubia. Egyptians referred to Nubia as "Ta-Seti," or "The Land of the Bow," since the Nubians were known to be expert archers. Modern scholars refer to the people from this area as the "A-Group" culture. Fertile farmland just south of the Third Cataract is known as the "pre-Kerma" culture in Upper Nubia, as they are the ancestors; the Neolithic people in the Nile Valley came from Sudan, as well as the Sahara, there was shared culture with the two areas and with that of Egypt during this period. By the 5th millennium BC, the people who inhabited what is now called Nubia participated in the Neolithic revolution. Saharan rock reliefs depict scenes that have been thought to be suggestive of a cattle cult, typical of those seen throughout parts of Eastern Africa and the Nile Valley to this day.
Megaliths discovered at Nabta Playa are early examples of what seems to be one of the world's first astronomical devices, predating Stonehenge by 2,000 years. This complexity as observed at Nabta Playa, as expressed by different levels of authority within the society there formed the basis for the structure of both the Neolithic society at Nabta and the Old Kingdom of Egypt. Around 3500 BC, the second "Nubian" culture, termed the A-Group, arose, it was a contemporary of, ethnically and culturally similar to, the polities in predynastic Naqada of Upper Egypt. The A-Group people were engaged in trade with the Egyptians; this trade is testified archaeologically by large amounts of Egyptian commodities deposited in the graves of the A-Group people. The imports consisted of gold objects, copper tools, faience amulets and beads, slate palettes, stone vessels, a variety of pots. Around 3300 BC, there is evidence of a unified kingdom, as shown by the finds at Qustul, that maintained substantial interactions with the culture of Naqadan Upper Egypt.
The Nubian culture may have contributed to the unification of the Nile Valley. Toby Wilkinson, based on work by Bruce Williams in the 1980s, wrote that "The white crown, associated in historic times with Upper Egypt, is first attested than the red crown, but is directly associated with the ruler somewhat earlier; the earliest known depiction of the white crown is on a ceremonial incense burner from Cemetery at Qustul in Lower Nubia". Based on a 1998 excavation report, Jane Roy has written that "At the time of Williams' argument, the Qustul cemetery and the'royal' iconography found there was dated to the Naqada IIIA period, thus antedating royal cemeteries in Egypt of the Naqada IIIB phase. New evidence from Abydos, however the excavation of Cemetery U and the tome U-j, dating to Naqada IIIA has shown that this iconography appears earlier in Egypt." Around the turn of the protodynastic period, Naqada, in its bid to conquer and unify the whole Nile Valley, seems to have conquered Ta-Seti and harmonized it with the Egyptian state.
Thus, Nubia became the first
Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place, now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes; the history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, ruling much of Nubia and a sizable portion of the Near East, after which it entered a period of slow decline. During the course of its history Egypt was invaded or conquered by a number of foreign powers, including the Hyksos, the Libyans, the Nubians, the Assyrians, the Achaemenid Persians, the Macedonians under the command of Alexander the Great; the Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom, formed in the aftermath of Alexander's death, ruled Egypt until 30 BC, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.
The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, a military intended to assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs; the many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids and obelisks.
Ancient Egypt has left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were copied, its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world, its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of writers for centuries. A new-found respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period by Europeans and Egyptians led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy; the Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history. The fertile floodplain of the Nile gave humans the opportunity to develop a settled agricultural economy and a more sophisticated, centralized society that became a cornerstone in the history of human civilization. Nomadic modern human hunter-gatherers began living in the Nile valley through the end of the Middle Pleistocene some 120,000 years ago. By the late Paleolithic period, the arid climate of Northern Africa became hot and dry, forcing the populations of the area to concentrate along the river region.
In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was much less arid. Large regions of Egypt were traversed by herds of grazing ungulates. Foliage and fauna were far more prolific in all environs and the Nile region supported large populations of waterfowl. Hunting would have been common for Egyptians, this is the period when many animals were first domesticated. By about 5500 BC, small tribes living in the Nile valley had developed into a series of cultures demonstrating firm control of agriculture and animal husbandry, identifiable by their pottery and personal items, such as combs and beads; the largest of these early cultures in upper Egypt was the Badari, which originated in the Western Desert. The Badari was followed by the Amratian and Gerzeh cultures, which brought a number of technological improvements; as early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakes. In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East Canaan and the Byblos coast.
Over a period of about 1,000 years, the Naqada culture developed from a few small farming communities into a powerful civilization whose leaders were in complete control of the people and resources of the Nile valley. Establishing a power center at Nekhen, at Abydos, Naqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile, they traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the western desert to the west, the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East to the east, initiating a period of Egypt-Mesopotamia relations. The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vases, cosmetic palettes, jewelry made of gold and ivory, they developed a ceramic glaze known as faience, used well into the Roman Per