The Early Dynastic Period is a period of some 500 years or more at the beginning of what is conventionally considered as the history of Ancient Egypt.
The White Goddess The Pendle Witches 1612-2012

Archaic Period - Lesson 4 - The White Goddess

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Thursday, 19 September 2019

Archaic Period

Archaic Period

Egyptology Lesson 4: Archaic Period (3100 - 2575 BC)

The Early Dynastic Period is a period of some 500 years or more at the beginning of what is conventionally considered as the history of Ancient Egypt. It was the culmination of the formative stage of the Ancient Egyptian culture that began centuries before during the Prehistory.

Our knowledge of the history of this Period is, because of its remoteness in time and the lack of clear written sources, fairly limited. The few sources we have are hard to interpret and have often led to ambiguous or even contradictory conclusions.

Development of Hieroglyphs

During this period writing evolved from a few simple signs mainly used to denote quantities of substances and their provenance, to a complex system of several hundreds of signs with both phonetic and ideographic values.

Hieroglyhic Development

The evolution of writing: left, some signs dated several generations before the 1st Dynasty; center, the name of a city at the start of the 1st Dynasty; right, a text from a wooden panel from the tomb of Hesyre of the 3rd Dynasty.

The hieroglyphs on the label read 'first occasion of smiting the East'. That the enemy is an Easterner is indicated by his long locks and pointed beard. Such illustrations became a standard way of depicting kings for the next 2000 or more years. Being one of the earliest known, this example may very well refer to a real historical event.

Aristic Development

The typical ancient Egyptian artistic canon took shape for both two and three dimensional representions, determining the work of artists for millenia to come.

Artistic Development

The artistic canon for two (left, Ivory Label from the Reign of King Den, center, Narmer Palette) and three dimensional art (right, statue of Khasekhemwi) was established during the Early Dynastic Period.

Craftsmen increased their skills and experimented with the use of more durable materials. Structures built in brick, wood and reeds were copied in stone, giving birth to the typical Ancient Egyptian architecture. Most of the features developed during the Early Dynastic Period would remain in use until the Greek-Roman Period, more than 3000 years later.

1st Dynasty Artefacts

Left: Stone vessel in the shape of a basket (1st Dynasty, Saqqara), Right: Spinning Disks (1st Dynasty)

A speciality of the early art of stoneworking was the making of vessels in unusual shapes. They imitateed containers made in soft, organic materials, as in this copy of a basket with its woven pattern carefully reproduced. Other vessls are shaped like leaves, palm trees, etc. Early architecture also parallels this with timber and matting buildings copied in stone.

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