Ancient dating systems

The people who lived on and worked the land were not free to leave and were obliged to work it, but they were not slaves; most paid a proportion of their produce to major officials.

Free citizens who worked the land on their own behalf did emerge; terms applied to them tended originally to refer to poor people, but these agriculturalists were probably not poor.

Most people lived in villages and towns in the Nile valley and delta.

Dwellings were normally built of mud brick and have long since disappeared beneath the rising water table or beneath modern town sites, thereby obliterating evidence for settlement patterns.

Nubia was significant for Egypt’s periodic southward expansion and for access to products from farther south.

At first, relatively little cultural contact came by way of the Mediterranean Sea, but from an early date Egypt maintained trading relations with the Lebanese port of Byblos (present-day Jbail).

Instead, a few centres, notably Memphis and Thebes, attracted population and particularly the elite, while the rest of the people were relatively evenly spread over the land.

The size of the population has been estimated as having risen from 1 to 1.5 million in the 3rd millennium .

In various periods there were immigrants from Nubia, Libya, and especially the Middle East.

They were historically significant and also may have contributed to population growth, but their numbers are unknown.

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