The Nile Valley: Cradle of Civilization
The Egyptian or the Nile Valley civilization developed, along the banks of the river Nile in Egypt. Its long, narrow flood plain was a magnet for life, attracting people, animals and plants to its banks, and providing ideal conditions for the development of stable communities. Seen as a gift from the gods, the annual flooding of the river deposited nutrient rich silt over the land, creating ideal conditions for growing wheat, flax and other crops.
Evidence suggests that the region was inhabited as far back as 700,000 years ago.
To date, the oldest tools found in the lower Nile Valley have been found in and near the cliffs of Abu Simbel. Geological evidence indicates they are around 700,000 years old. It is believed that nomadic hunters settled in the valley and over the course of time, began to grow crops to supplement their food supply.
Evidence suggests that beginning in 5500BC, hunting ceased to be a major support for existence and the Egyptian diet was made up of domesticated cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, as well as cereal grains such as wheat and barley.
Artifacts of stone were supplemented by those of metal, and the crafts of basketry, pottery, weaving, and the tanning of animal hides became part of the daily life.
By, about 3600 BC, agriculture appears to have begun in the valley of the Nile. By late pre-dynastic times, about 3100 BC, there is evidence of a considerable growth in wealth due to the earlier agricultural development, a more integrated social system and the rise of the pharaohs.
With their eyes and minds on eternity, the Egyptians built a society that remained constant for nearly 3000 years. Many of their monuments still attest to that permanence. Ancient eyes of monumental sculptures and the Sphinx still stare at us through the centuries. The tombs in the Valley of Kings and at Beni Hasan and the ruins of massive pylon temples at Luxor and Karnak reminded us of the importance of religious belief in Egyptian society. The only remaining Wonder of the Ancient World still stands proudly at the pyramid complex at Giza.
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