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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Late Fourth Millennium BCE

  • Author(s): Campagno, Marcelo P
  • et al.

In ancient Egypt, the late fourth millennium BCE corresponds to what is known as the latePredynastic Period (Naqada IIIa-b). It was a crucial time for the constitution of Egypt as a singlepolitical entity. In Upper Egypt, earlier tendencies towards social differentiation and functionalspecialization intensify during this period, mainly in Hierakonpolis and Abydos. From this timeon, similar tendencies are also apparent in Lower Egypt, in centers such as Buto, Tell el-Farkha,and Minshat Abu Omar. The process of political unification of Egypt takes place during thisperiod. Authors differ with regard to specific events, but most agree that the process began inUpper Egypt and then continued outwards, to ultimately encompass the territory from Elephantineto the Nile Delta. The earliest known examples of writing (Abydos Tomb U-j) date back to thisperiod, as well as the earliest serekhs, both anonymous and with kings’ names. These names areusually grouped under the label “Dynasty 0,” a term that only indicates the existence of kings inthe Nile Valley before the advent of Dynasty 1.

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