Nothing is more difficult nor puzzling to a historian than tracing the gradual emergence of a civilization that belongs to a period where no written documents existed. If they did, they were scarce.
From about a century ago or even less, it would have been not easy to point out Egyptian antiquities older than the pyramid builders’ period or era (Manetho’s 4th Dynasty).
The first civilizations emerged in areas where high agricultural productivity was possible, supporting dense populations.
In the old world, they appeared along the rivers in Mesopotamia, northern India, Egypt, and north China.
Graft specialization developed, trade flourished, writing began, and rulers were often given elaborate burials.
However, each civilization also had unique features rooted in its cultural background and environment.
In Ancient Egypt, life revolved around the Nile, which provided a regular water supply and fertile soils and made agricultural production possible with the surrounding desert regions.
Navigation on the river was easy, as boats could travel northwards with the current or sail southwards on the northerly winds.
From the 5th millennium B.C., farming communities along the Nile gradually merged into a social, political, and economic unit.
This unification process was encouraged by trading contacts and the need to control the Nile floodwaters.
To reap the river’s yearly inundation benefits, communities had to work together to build dams, flood basins, and irrigation channels over large areas.