The Origins of Ancient Egyptian Civilization


Jan van der Crabben
by Study of Antiquity and the Middle Ages
published on 12 January 2021

The Predynastic Period in Ancient Egypt is the time before recorded history from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic Age and on to the rise of the First Dynasty and is generally recognized as spanning the era from c. 6000-3150 BCE (though physical evidence argues for a longer history). While there are no written records from this period, archaeological excavations throughout Egypt have uncovered artifacts which tell their own story of the development of culture in the Nile River Valley. The periods of the Predynastic Period are named for the regions/ancient city sites in which these artifacts were found and do not reflect the names of the cultures who actually lived in those areas.

The Predynastic Period was given its name in the early days of archaeological expeditions in Egypt before many of the most important finds were discovered and catalogued which has led some scholars to argue over when, precisely, the Predynastic Period begins and, more importantly, ends. These scholars suggest the adoption of another designation, 'Protodynastic Period', for that span of time closer to the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150-2613 BCE) or 'Zero Dynasty'. These designations are not universally agreed upon and 'Predynastic Period' is the term most commonly accepted for the period prior to the first historical dynasties.

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Cite This Work

APA Style

Ages, S. o. A. a. t. M. (2021, January 12). The Origins of Ancient Egyptian Civilization. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Ages, Study of Antiquity and the Middle. "The Origins of Ancient Egyptian Civilization." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified January 12, 2021.

MLA Style

Ages, Study of Antiquity and the Middle. "The Origins of Ancient Egyptian Civilization." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 12 Jan 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2024.