The Early Dynastic Period (3100-2686 BC) To both historians and Egyptologists this 5000 year old period is important because it is generally recognized as the time frame in which King Menes (also called Narmer) unified Upper and Lower Egypt into a single country. In the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, the only artifact we saw from this ancient time was a 25 inch long piece of greenish slate carved in the recognizable shape of a cosmetic palette (a triangular form) used as an aid to applying make-up. This palette is called the Narmer Palette because it contains carvings on both sides depicting the battles of that king in uniting the two parts of Egypt. Most other such artifacts are smooth with indentations to hold the cosmetic materials rather than decorated with this type of carving. The Narmer Palette contains the earliest hieroglyphs yet found and is beautifully preserved and displayed in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, the “palace” of Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary-General of Egypt's Supreme Council on Antiquities. Actually, its position at the museum is informal and surprising since it is one the first things you see, inside a protective glass box, as you enter the building. When you look at its green sheen and study the fine carvings, you begin to realize how ancient and important this relic from 5000 years ago is. What a miracle it is too, having been created so long ago, having lasted through the centuries unbroken, and then having been found in the early 20 th century!
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