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From the country's unification till the erection of the Great Pyramids
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Bed, wood and leather
Bed (1st dynasty)
Source: Website of the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

Djoser's pyramid
Djoser's pyramid


sitting scribe
Sitting scribe
4th Dynasty

(Cairo Egyptian Museum)

King Menkaure and his wife
King Menkaure and his wife
(Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
Picture source

Stela of Menkaure
Stela of Menkaure
(Cairo Museum)


From the country's unification till the erection of the Great Pyramids

(Dates: ± 150 years)
3100 - 1st Dynasty
  • Traditionally: Menes founds the capital Memphis of the united Egypt
  • Autocratically governed double state with 42 nomes and a bureaucracy develops
  • First hieroglyphic texts mostly with religious contents, the hieroglyphs denote mostly syllables.
  • The pharaoh becomes a god-king
  • Influences of the Mesopotamian Djemet-Nasr culture
  • Glass fragments
  • Construction of basins to contain the flood water of the Nile, digging canals and irrigation ditches to reclaim the marshy land.
  • A light plough is used for covering the seeds after sowing.
2900 - 2nd dynasty
  • Egypt is consolidated as a united state
  • Officials become a distinct social class
  • Oil is being used
  • Tin known in Egypt and Mesopotamia
  • Egyptians produce copper in Sinai
  • Mention of an official's garden with trees, vines and a water basin. Gardens were widespread among all social classes.
2700 - The Old Kingdom: 3rd dynasty
  • The pharaoh is the incarnation of the falcon god of the heaven, Horus.
  • Imhotep, priest, physician, architect, official (he is to be worshipped later on as ibis headed Thoth, chief god of physicians) builds the first step pyramid for king Djoser at Saqqara (first Egyptian building made completely of stone). Reliefs depicting death offerings in the cult chambers.
  • Life sized statue of King Djoser sitting (Saqqara)
  • The grave of Hesire with wooden reliefs (Saqqara)
  • Introduction of a 365 day calendar (without leap years)
  • Djoser Teti (Sekhemkhet, III dynasty) depicted threefold in a rock relief in the Sinai desert: wearing the crown of Upper Egypt, wearing the crown of Lower Egypt and as victor over the beduins.
2600 - 4th Dynasty
  • Journeys to Byblos under Snofru.
  • The Instruction of Kagemni, vizier of Snofru
  • Ships made of planks
  • The Chufu (Cheops) pyramid at Gizeh has a North-South orientation
  • Songs about talking fish
  • "Solar ships" for the transportation of the soul of Cheops (one, fully provided is found near the pyramid in 1954)
  • Soft limestone statues are chiselled with copper tools. The beginning of hard stone statuary with stone hammers.
  • Many lime stone statues of sitting kings
  • Physicians set broken arms using splints.
  • Oldest bronze: 9 parts copper, 1 part tin.
  • The Chefren pyramid at Gizeh
  • Biographical grave inscriptions of officials
  • Legendary rule of a fair haired courtesan points to the special position the queen held in society.
  • The great sphinx at Gizeh
  • The temples at Gizeh display geometric lines and pillars
  • Trade with the Phoenician town of Biblos. Most trade is with the neighbouring countries.
  • Stela of King Menkaure (Mykerinos) flanked by two goddesses made of grey-green slate.
  • Unfinished works in the pyramid temple of Menkaure show, that the sculptors using stone hammers and guided by a few lines, created the statues by removing the stone by layers all around the figures.
  • First great dam at Sadd el-Kafara: an earthen core covered by rocks (110 m long, 12 m high). It collapsed partially during construction due to highwater, causing a floodwave.


-Cultural Timetable
-Main Index and Search Page
Offsite links (Opening in a new window)
These are just suggestions for further reading and I do not assume any responsibility for the content of these websites
-The Giza Pyramids by John Legon
-Jon Bodsworth's Gizaview, a collection of beautiful photographs
-L'époque archaïque : Ière et IIème dynasties

Feedback: Please report broken links, mistakes - factual or otherwise, etc. to me. Thanks.