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Its many achievements, preserved in its art and monuments, hold a fascination that continues to grow as archaeological finds expose its secrets.
This article focuses on Egypt from its prehistory through its unification under .
Slaves sometimes even married members of their owners’ families, so that in the long term those belonging to households tended to be assimilated into free society.
In the New Kingdom (from about 1539 to 1075 , exile (in, for example, the oases of the western desert), or compulsory enlistment in dangerous mining expeditions.
The eastern desert, between the Nile and the Red Sea, was more important, for it supported a small nomadic population and desert game, contained numerous mineral deposits, including gold, and was the route to the , from which came turquoise and possibly copper, and with southwestern Asia, Egypt’s most important area of cultural interaction, from which were received stimuli for technical development and cultivars for crops.
Immigrants and ultimately invaders crossed the isthmus into Egypt, attracted by the country’s stability and prosperity. The fertility of the land and general predictability of the inundation ensured very high productivity from a single annual crop.
The Egyptians kept many as draft animals and for their various products, showing some of the interest in breeds and individuals that is found to this day in the .
The official record of one expedition shows a mortality rate of more than 10 percent.Dwellings were normally built of mud brick and have long since disappeared beneath the rising or beneath modern town sites, thereby obliterating evidence for settlement patterns.In antiquity, as now, the most favoured location of settlements was on slightly raised ground near the riverbank, where transport and water were easily available and flooding was unlikely.Until the 1st millennium , attracted population and particularly the elite, while the rest of the people were relatively evenly spread over the land.
The size of the population has been estimated as having risen from 1 to 1.5 million in the 3rd millennium Nearly all of the people were engaged in agriculture and were probably tied to the land.
Between the floodplain and the hills is a variable band of low desert that supported a certain amount of game. The First Cataract at Aswān, where the riverbed is turned into rapids by a belt of granite, was the country’s only well-defined boundary within a populated area.