Ancient Egypt Sprang Up Faster Than We Thought

Carbon dating, computer models shorten estimate at least 300 years
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2013 7:43 AM CDT
Ancient Egypt Sprang Up Faster Than We Thought
Foreign tourists visit the Hatshepsut Temple in the ancient southern city of Luxor, Egypt, in this Feb. 27, 2013, file photo.   (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)

Ancient Egypt wasn't built in a day, but it was built a heck of a lot faster than researchers thought. Based on radiocarbon dating and computer models, a team of researchers has concluded that Egypt's pre-dynastic agricultural period along the Nile began later than previously believed, in 3700 or 3600 BC, the BBC explains. But from there, it was just a few hundred years until Egypt became a united society ruled by a king, around 3100 BC.

That might sound like a long time, but it's "about 300 or 400 years shorter" than previously believed, the lead researcher explains, and it's comparatively fast. "In Mesopotamia, for example, you have agriculture for several thousand years before you have anything like a state." History buffs can now adjust the timelines of Egypt's first eight rulers, starting with King Aha, notes LiveScience, which provides the new dates. (Click to read about an ancient hand-me down sweater found in Norway.)

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