Ancient Egypt

Predynastic and Old Kingdom

“Dynastic” Egypt—sometimes referred to as “Pharaonic” (after “pharaoh,” the Greek title of the Egyptian kings) was the time when the country was largely unified under a single ruler, begins around 3100 B.C.E. with the Old Kingdom. The period before this, lasting from about 5000 B.C.E. until unification, is referred to as Predynastic by modern scholars.

c. 5000 - 2150 B.C.E.

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<em>The Seated Scribe</em>
The Seated Scribe

Seated cross-legged, with rolls of belly fat, this painted statue differs from the ideal statues of pharaohs.

King Menkaure (Mycerinus) and queen
King Menkaure (Mycerinus) and queen

This serene statue of the pharaoh and the queen is from a temple of the Pyramid of Menkaure, undisturbed for millennia.

Pyramid of Menkaure
Pyramid of Menkaure

Smallest of the Giza Pyramids, the Pyramid of Menkaure still rises to 213 feet—and was home to stunning sculpture.

Pyramid of Khafre and the Great Sphinx
Pyramid of Khafre and the Great Sphinx

Carved from bedrock, the Great Sphinx is one of the largest statues in the world—does it have the face of a pharaoh?

Pyramid of Khufu
Pyramid of Khufu

Largest of the Pyramids of Giza, the outer casing of this engineering marvel once shone bright white in the sun.

The Great Pyramids of Giza
The Great Pyramids of Giza

Rising out of the Western Desert—the only remaining monument of the Seven Wonders, the Great Pyramids.

Palette of King Narmer
Palette of King Narmer

The Narmer Palette is so valuable that it has never been allowed to leave Egypt.

Selected Contributors | Predynastic and Old Kingdom