Ancient Egypt - Pharaoh Narmer

In 3100 B.C., Upper Egypt was more urbanized with cities like Thinis, Hierakonpolis, and Naqada, which developed fairly rapidly. Lower Egypt was more rural, with rich agricultural fields stretching up from the Nile River. Both regions had developed steadily over thousands of years throughout the Predynastic Period. Trade with other cultures and civilizations led to the increased development of Upper Egypt, which then conquered its northern neighbor, for grains or other agricultural crops, to feed the growing population.

Ancient tradition states a King Narmer was the ruler that unified the country. He is often referred to as 'Menes' or confused with Hor-Aha, his son. The exact details about his identity are debated among scholars. Details of his reign are vague, owing to the lack of records discovered, and to the difficulty in interpreting those inscriptions which have been found. Narmer most likely led military expeditions into Lower Egypt, Nubia, and Libya.

Religious practices and iconography developed during Narmer's reign with symbols such as the Djed and the Ankh.

The Narmer Palette

Egyptologist J.E. Quibell, who was excavating at Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt in 1897, discovered the Narmer Palette. This amazing object had been dedicated toward the end of the Old Kingdom and was an ancient relic even then, over 1000 years old at the time it was buried. This object is especially rare because it reveals the unification of Egypt.

The Narmer Palette is a ceremonial stone, about 2-feet high, that is made of slate. It was used to grind cosmetics, but not for cosmetic use in daily life. It may have been used to grind cosmetics for offerings at a shrine to a local god.

Tomb B-17 and B-18