The Protodynastic Period of Egypt (generally dated 3200 BCE to 3000 BCE) refers to the period of time at the very end of the Predynastic Period. It is equivalent to the archaeological phase known as Naqada III. It is sometimes known as Late Predynastic Period or Dynasty 0.
The Protodynastic Period is characterised as being the time when ancient Egypt was undergoing the process of political unification, leading to a unified state during the Early Dynastic Period. Furthermore, it is during this time when the Egyptian language was first being recorded in hieroglyphs. There is also strong archaeological evidence of Egyptian settlements in southern Canaan during the Protodynastic Period, which have been regarded as colonies or trading entrepôts.
State formation began during this era and perhaps even earlier. Various small city-states arose along the Nile. Centuries of conquest reduced Upper Egypt to three major states: Thinis, Naqada, and Nekhen. Being sandwiched by Thinis and Nekhen, Naqada was the first to fall. Thinis then conquered Lower Egypt. Nekhen's relationship with Thinis is uncertain but these two states may have merged peacefully with the Thinite royal family ruling all of Egypt. The Thinite kings are buried at Abydos in the Umm el-Qa'ab cemetery.
Most Egyptologists consider Narmer to be the last king of this period (although some place him in the First Dynasty), as well as the so-called "Scorpion King(s)", whose name may refer to, or be derived from, the goddess, Serket, a special early protector of other deities and the rulers.
- Anđelković, Branislav. 2002. "Southern Canaan as an Egyptian Protodynastic Colony." Cahiers Caribéens d’Égyptologie 3/4 (Dix ans de hiéroglyphes au campus):75–92.
- Bard, Katherine, A. 2000. "The Emergence of the Egyptian State." In The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, edited by Ian Shaw. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 61–88
- Midant-Reynes, Béatrix. 2000. The Prehistory of Egypt: From the First Egyptians to the First Pharaohs. Translated by Ian Shaw. Oxford and Malden: Blackwell Publishers
- Wilkinson, Toby Alexander Howard. 2001. Early Dynastic Egypt. 2nd ed. London: Routledge
- Wright, Mary. 1985. "Contacts Between Egypt and Syro-Palestine During the Protodynastic Period." Biblical Archeologist: Perspectives on the Ancient World from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean 48 (4):240–253.
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