Visiting the gallery
Closed until further notice.
Explore the beginnings of ancient Egyptian civilisation, which developed along the Nile from about 11000 BC.
The annual flooding of the Nile created fertile land ideal for growing crops. Rapid advances in technology and social organisation during the fifth millennium BC produced a material culture of increasing sophistication.
Toward the end of the Predynastic period, (about 3300 BC), regional rulers began competing for power and territory. This conflict ultimately led to the unification of Egypt under one king at about 3100 BC.
The strong central control and increase in wealth led to dramatic achievements in architecture, writing and fine goods, culminating in the building of the Great Pyramids of Giza in about 2600 BC.
- Much of early Egypt was populated by small farming communities living along the Nile Valley.
- Powerful city states such as Hierakonpolis and Abydos in the south played a significant role in defining a distinct Predynastic culture, which laid the foundations for the later pharaonic state.
- King Narmer was the most famous king credited with the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt.
- The first royal tombs were built in the Upper Egyptian desert at Abydos, 56 miles (90km) north of Luxor.
- Funerals at this point of Egyptian history were simple and didn't involve mummification, a practice that began about 2500 BC.
- Egyptians hieroglyphs were invented about 3200 BC, in the first place for the purpose of administration, and were in use for almost 4,000 years.