Volume 14 issue 5 April 2014
ANCIENT EGYPT explores the WORLD WIDE WEB ...
NARMER AND EGYPT’S FIRST DYNASTY
This month NETFISHING continues its look at the history of Egypt by seeing what the World Wide Web has to say about the mythical King Narmer and the First Dynasty of the ‘Early Dynastic Period’ whose dates have recently been revised as a result of new research.
It is apparent that during the latter part of the Predynastic Period (prior to c. 3100 BC) the kings of the South (Upper Egypt) made repeated attempts to conquer the Northern Kingdom of the Delta (Lower Egypt). Eventually they were successful and their conquest, around 3100 BC, marks the beginnings of a united country, the ‘Two Lands’ as the Egyptians were to later call them. This conquest is accredited to a mythical king called Menes (refer: www.touregypt.net/featurestories/menes1.htm), although the earliest archaeological evidence for a king wearing both the White Crown (of Upper Egypt) and the Red Crown (of Lower Egypt) is of a king Narmer – who is generally accepted as being the first king of the newly united country. Refer:
The Early Dynastic Period, more generally known as the Archaic Period, is of great importance as it was during this period that Egypt defined its borders and relations with foreign powers, established its system of centralised government, developed a new capital city at Memphis, and began to exploit its vast stone and mineral resources. Indeed it was the Archaic Period which was to lay the foundations for the later glories of the Old Kingdom. Refer:
Excavations at Hierakonpolis (capital of the Southern Kingdom) have revealed the famous Narmer Palette and the ceremonial
Mace-heads of both Narmer and the ‘Scorpion King’. Refer:
These items provide a great deal of information about the foundation of the new country and are discussed in an article by Professor N. B. Millett at: www.antiquityofman.com/millet_narmer_macehead.html
The order of the kings is now generally agreed upon, and a team, led by Dr. Michael Dee from the University of Oxford, has recently put forward a new, more accurate, dating system based on a revised study of radiocarbon dates. The First Dynasty (3111- 2886 BC) list of rulers is now dated as:
Aha 3111 - 3045 BC
Djer 3073 - 3036 BC
Djet 2989 - 2941 BC
Queen Merneith 2946 - 2916 BC
Den 2928 - 2911 BC
Anedjib 2916 - 2896 BC
Semerkhet 2912 - 2891 BC
Qa‘a 2906 - 2886 BC
Much of what we know of the period has had to be reconstructed from fragmentary inscriptions, especially those of the Fifth Dynasty Palermo Stone, ivory labels (discovered in the mastaba tombs) and other archaeological finds. Refer:
Pottery, as ever, has been an important indicator of social development, although during the Archaic Period, stone vessels were still very much in demand as funerary items for royal burials. Refer:
During Egypt’s Second Dynasty, tensions again developed between the Northern and Southern lands and these developments
will be discussed in the next issue.
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