Ancient Egypt Wiki
Dynasties of Ancient Egypt
Predynastic Period
Protodynastic Period
Early Dynastic Period
1st 2nd
Old Kingdom
3rd 4th 5th 6th
First Intermediate Period
7th 8th 9th 10th 11th
Middle Kingdom
11th 12th
Second Intermediate Period
13th 14th 15th 16th 17th
Abydos Dynasty
New Kingdom
18th 19th 20th
Third Intermediate Period
21st 22nd 23rd 24th 25th
Late Period
26th 27th 28th
29th 30th 31st
Hellenistic Period
Argead Dynasty
Ptolemaic Dynasty

The Protodynastic Period is characterised as being the time when Ancient Egypt was undergoing the process of political unification, leading to a unified state during the Early Dynastic Period. Furthermore, it is during this time when the Egyptian language was first being recorded in Egyptian hieroglyphs. There is also strong archaeological evidence of Egyptian settlements in southern Canaan during the Protodynastic Period, which have been 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 reduced Upper Egypt to three major states; Thinis, Naqada, and Nekhen. Not much is known of Lower Egypt's political makeup but they may have shared in Naqada's Set cult while Thinis and Nekhen were part of the Horus cult. Being sandwiched by 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 (under the name "Scorpion II"), as well as the king who united Egypt and became the first king of the First Dynasty.

Lower Egypt
Name Dates Comments
Unknown Name lost on the Palermo Stone.
…pu Only known from the Palermo Stone.
Seka Only known from the Palermo Stone.
Khayu Only known from the Palermo Stone.
Tiu Only known from the Palermo Stone.
Tjesh Only known from the Palermo Stone.
Neheb Only known from the Palermo Stone.
Wazner Only known from the Palermo Stone.
Mekh Only known from the Palermo Stone.
…a Only known from the Palermo Stone.
Unknown 4-5 kings lost on the Palermo Stone (may have included Wash).
Hedju-Hor Only known from two clay jugs from Tura.
Ni-Hor Only known from clay and stone vessels found in tombs near Tarchan, Tura, Tarjan, and Nagada. Some scholars believe that this serekh is simply a crude attempt at writing the name "Narmer".
Ni-Neith Only known from inscriptions in Helwan. Reading of name is uncertain.
Hat-Hor Some scholars believe that this serekh is simply a crude attempt at writing the name "Narmer".
Double Falcon May also have ruled in Upper Egypt.
Wash c. 3150 BC Only known from the Narmer Palette.
Upper Egypt
Name Dates Comments
Arm Most likely never existed.
Finger Snail Most likely never existed.
Fish Most likely never existed.
Elephant Most likely never existed.
Stork Most likely never existed.
Bull Most likely never existed.
Scorpion I c. 3300-3250 BC First ruler of Upper Egypt
Crocodile c. 3170 BC Potentially read Shendju; identity and existence are disputed.
Iry-Hor c. 3170 BC Correct chronological position unclear.
Ka c. 3160 BC Maybe read Sekhen rather than Ka. Correct chronological position unclear.
Scorpion II c. 3150 BC Potentially read Serqet; possibly the same person as Narmer.


  • Anđelković, Branislav. 2002. "Southern Canaan as an Egyptian Protodynastic Colony." Cahiers Caribéens d’Égyptologie 3/4 (Dix ans de hiéroglyphes au campus):75–92.
  • Bard, Katherine, A. 2000. "The Emergence of the Egyptian State." In The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, edited by Ian Shaw. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 61–88
  • Midant-Reynes, Béatrix. 2000. The Prehistory of Egypt: From the First Egyptians to the First Pharaohs. Translated by Ian Shaw. Oxford and Malden: Blackwell Publishers
  • Wilkinson, Toby Alexander Howard. 2001. Early Dynastic Egypt. 2nd ed. London: Routledge
  • Wright, Mary. 1985. "Conacts Between Egypt and Syro-Palestine During the Protodynastic Period." Biblical Archeologist: Perspectives on the Ancient World from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean 48 (4):240–253.

See also[]

  • Naqada III

External resources[]

Preceded by:
Predynastic Period
Protodynastic Period
Succeeded by:
1st Dynasty