The Archaic or Early Dynastic Period of Egypt immediately follows the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt c. 3100 BC. It is generally taken to include the First and Second Dynasties, lasting from the Protodynastic Period of Egypt until about 2686 BC, or the beginning of the Old Kingdom. With the First Dynasty, the capital moved from Abydos to Memphis with a unified Egypt ruled by an Egyptian god-king. Abydos remained the major holy land in the south. The hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, such as art, architecture and many aspects of religion, took shape during the Early Dynastic period.
Before the unification of Egypt, the land was settled with autonomous villages. With the early dynasties, and for much of Egypt's history thereafter, the country came to be known as the Two Lands. The rulers established a national administration and appointed royal governors. The buildings of the central government were typically open-air temples constructed of wood or sandstone. The earliest hieroglyphs appear just before this period, though little is known of the spoken language they represent.
In about 3600 BC, Egyptian society along the Nile River began to grow and advance rapidly toward civilization. A new and distinctive pottery, which was related to the pottery of the Southern Levant, appeared during this time. Extensive use of copper became common during this time. The Mesopotamian process of sun-dried bricks, and architectural building principles--including the use of arch and of recessed walls for decorative effect--became popular during this time.
Concurrent with these cultural advances, a process of unification of the societies and towns of the upper Nile River, or Upper Egypt, occurred. Upper Egypt was symbolized by the lotus flower. At the same time the societies of the Nile Delta, or Lower Egypt also under went a unification process. The symbol of Lower Egypt was the papyrus reed. Warfare between Upper and Lower Egypt occurred often....