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Urbanism and the Rise of Complex Society and the Early State in Egypt

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Emergence and Change in Early Urban Societies

Part of the book series: Fundamental Issues in Archaeology ((FIAR))

Abstract

By ca. 3050 B.C. the Early Dynastic state had emerged in Egypt, controlling much of the Nile Valley from the Delta to the First Cataract at Aswan—over 1000 km upriver. This was a centrally controlled polity ruled by a (god-) king from the newly founded capital of Memphis in the north, near Saqqara. Archaeological evidence for state control consists of the names (serekhs) of First Dynasty kings on pots, seals, tags (originally attached to containers), and other artifacts found at major Early Dynastic sites in Egypt. Such evidence also suggests a state taxation system in place in the early dynasties, and large quantities of goods and materials marshalled and controlled by the state. The early state in Egypt was highly stratified, with the king at the top of the social pyramid; evidence for such social stratification comes from the highly differentiated burials of this period found throughout Egypt.

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Bard, K.A. (1997). Urbanism and the Rise of Complex Society and the Early State in Egypt. In: Manzanilla, L. (eds) Emergence and Change in Early Urban Societies. Fundamental Issues in Archaeology. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-1848-2_3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-1848-2_3

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