Early Dynastic Egypt spans the five centuries preceding the construction of the Great Pyramid at Giza. This was the formative period of ancient Egyptian civilization, and it witnessed the creation of a distinctive culture that was to endure for 3,000 years. This book examines the background to that great achievement, the mechanisms by which it was accomplished, and the character of life in the Nile valley during the first 500 years of Pharaonic rule. The results of over thirty years of international scholarship and excavation are presented in a single highly illustrated volume. It traces the re-discovery of Early Dynastic Egypt, explains how the dynasties established themselves in government and concludes by examining the impact of the early state on individual communities and regions.