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|Dates||circa 3,200 B.C. — circa 3,150 B.C.|
|Preceded by||"Gerzeh culture|
|Followed by||"Early Dynastic Period (Egypt)|
Naqada III is the last phase of the "Naqada culture 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 the 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. In this period, those kings' names were 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 "Canaan 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 were buried at "Abydos in the "Umm el-Qa'ab cemetery.
Most "Egyptologists consider "Narmer to be both the last king of this period and the first king of the "First Dynasty. He was possibly preceded over some parts of Upper Egypt by "Crocodile, "Iry-Hor, "Ka and perhaps 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.
Naqada III extended all over "Egypt and was characterized by some notable firsts:
And at best, a notable second:
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