The construction of civilization in the ancient Nile Valley at the end of the 4th millenium BC affected the subsequent development of civilizations of Africa and the Near East. Prior to the nation-building process in the Nile Valley, pre-dynastic people roamed the river swamps and high desert and built settlements which which lacked the complexity and centralized overnments which would emerge in the Dynastic era. The origins of these nation-states has been debated for millenia, from Central Africa or what is refreed by some as the Fertile Crescent, or from the indigenous Nilotic peoples themselves. It is believed that the founders of ancient NVC's were from an area near Abydos, in middle 'Egypt', and were known as the Thinite kings. This period was known as Naqada III. According to the following: Naqada III is the last phase of the Naqadan period of ancient Egyptian prehistory, dating approximately from 3200 to 3000 BC. It is the period during which the process of state formation, which had begun to take place in Naqada II, became highly visible, with named kings heading powerful polities. Naqada III is often referred to as Dynasty 0 or Protodynastic Period to reflect the presence of kings at the head of influential states, although, in fact, the kings involved would not have been a part of a dynasty. They would more probably have been completely unrelated and very possibly in competition with each other. Kings names are inscribed in the form of serekhs on a variety of surfaces including pottery and tombs. The Protodynastic Period in ancient Egypt was characterised by an ongoing process of political unification, culminating in the formation of a single state to begin the Early Dynastic Period. Furthermore, it is during this time that the Egyptian language was first recorded in hieroglyphs. There is also strong archaeological evidence of Egyptian settlements in southern Kanaan during the Protodynastic Period, which are regarded as colonies or trading entrepôts. State formation began during this era and perhaps even earlier. Various small city-states arose along the Nile. Centuries of conquest then reduced Upper Egypt to three major states: Thinis, Naqada, and Nekhen. Sandwiched between Thinis and Nekhen, Naqada was the first to fall. Thinis then conquered Lower Egypt. Nekhen's relationship with Thinis is uncertain, but these two states may have merged peacefully, with the Thinite royal family ruling all of Egypt. The Thinite kings are buried at Abydos in the Umm el-Qa'ab cemetery. Most Egyptologists consider Narmer to be the last king of this period (although some place him in the First Dynasty). He was preceded by the so-called "Scorpion King(s)", whose name may refer to, or be derived from, the goddess Serket, a special early protector of other deities and the rulers. Wilkinson (1999) lists these early Kings as the un-named owner of Abydos tomb B1/2 whom some interpret as Iry-Hor, King A, King B, Scorpion and/or Crocodile, and Ka. Others favour a slightly different listing. Naqada III extends all over Egypt and is characterized by some sensational firsts: The first hieroglyphs The first graphical narratives on palettes The first regular use of serekhs The first truly royal cemeteries Possibly, the first irrigation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naqada_III Naqada III - Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org Thinis or This (Egyptian: Tjenu) was the capital city of the first dynasties of ancient Egypt. Thinis is, as yet, undiscovered but well attested to by ancient writers, including the classical historian Manetho, who cites it as the centre of the Thinite Confederacy, a tribal confederation whose leader, Menes (or Narmer), united Egypt and was its first pharaoh. Thinis began a steep decline in importance from Dynasty III, when the capital was relocated to Memphis. Its location on the border of the competing Heracleopolitan and Theban dynasties of the First Intermediate Period, and its proximity to certain oases of possible military importance, ensured Thinis some continued signifance in the Old and New Kingdoms. This was a brief respite and Thinis eventually lost its position as a regional administrative centre by the Roman period. Due to its ancient heritage, Thinis remained a siginificant religious centre, housing the tomb and mummy of the regional deity. In ancient Egyptian religious cosmology, as seen (for example) in the Book of the Dead, Thinis played a role as a mythical place in heaven. Although the precise location of Thinis is unknown, mainstream Egyptological consensus places it in the vicinity of ancient Abydos and modern Girga. Nearby Abydos (temple of Osiris pictured), after ceding its political rank to Thinis, remained an important religious centre. The two major rulers from this early period are known as King Scorpion and Narmer. On the fragmented artifact known as the 'Scorpion Macehead', a king is seen in full ritual dress with the ritual bull's tail hanging from the back of his belt, wearing the tall White Crown [hedjet] of UPPER Egypt and performing a ceremony using a hoe or mattock. The Narmer Palette, also known as the Great Hierakonpolis Palette or the Palette of Narmer, is a significant Egyptian archeological find, dating from about the 31st century BC, containing some of the earliest hieroglyphic inscriptions ever found. It is thought by some to depict the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the king Narmer. On one side, the king is depicted with the bulbed White crown of Upper (southern) Egypt, and the other side depicts the king wearing the level Red Crown of Lower (northern) Egypt. Along with the Scorpion Macehead and the Narmer Maceheads, also found together in the "Main Deposit" at Hierakonopolis, the Narmer Palette provides one of the earliest known depictions of an Egyptian king. The Palette shows many of the classic conventions of Egyptian art which must already have been formalized by the time of the Palette's creation. The Egyptologist Bob Brier has referred to the Narmer Palette as "the first historical document in the world". The Palette, which has survived five millennia in almost perfect condition, was discovered by British archeologists James E. Quibell and Frederick W. Green, in what they called the Main Deposit in the Temple of Horus at Hierakonpolis, during the dig season of 1897–1898. Also found at this dig were the Narmer Macehead and the Scorpion Macehead. The exact place and circumstances of these finds were not recorded very clearly by Quibell and Green. In fact, Green's report placed the Palette in a different layer one or two yards away from the deposit, which is considered to be more accurate on the basis of the original excavation notes. It has been suggested that these objects were royal donations made to the temple. Hierakonpolis was the ancient capital of Upper Egypt during the pre-dynastic Naqada III phase of Egyptian history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narmer_Palette Narmer Palette - Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org This is the earliest occurence of what was to become an 'icon of majesty' throughout the rest of ancient Egyptian history, right down to Roman times.