Ancient History: Egypt : Predynastic Period (up to 3100 BCE)

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Ancient History: Egypt

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Predynastic Period (Up To 3100 Bce)

What was the definitive geographic location of the entire Ancient Egyptian Empire?

Possible Answers:

The Valley of the Kings 

Memphis 

The Nile River Valley 

Lower Egypt 

Upper Egypt 

Correct answer:

The Nile River Valley 

Explanation:

Over the course of its existence, Ancient Egypt grew to encompass not only the entire Nile Valley and Delta, but also nearly the entire north-east of the African continent, finally stopping only at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile River Valley was the definitive and central location of the Empire – oftentimes, it is referred to as the veritable heart of the Egyptian civilization. The Nile Valley was crucial because of its unique concentration of many valuable natural resources, including animals, fish, stone, gold, minerals, and fertile soil – all of which were absolutely necessary to the survival of the Egyptian people. In some ways, the Nile River Valley is comparable to the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia, for it was in the Nile Valley in which North-East Africa’s first stable living settlements and sustainable agricultural practices initially emerged.

Example Question #2 : Predynastic Period (Up To 3100 Bce)

Why were most major Ancient Egyptian structures built in close proximity to the Nile River?

Possible Answers:

The Nile was the main means of transportation for building materials.

The hearty and fertile soil around the Nile provided the ideal foundation for large structures.

The majority of Ancient Egyptians lived within a few miles of the Nile’s banks on either side.

The Nile was considered the central life-force of all important religious and social activities.

Proximity to the Nile gave the surrounding buildings and their population a strong defensive position.

Correct answer:

The Nile was the main means of transportation for building materials.

Explanation:

Most major Ancient Egyptian structures—from pyramids and temples to courthouses and palaces—were built in close proximity to the Nile River. While at first glance, this structural clustering might seem arbitrary or random, this phenomenon was not at all accidental. The Ancient Egyptians wisely turned the Nile’s immense length and steady current to their advantage by using the River as their primary means of transporting building materials. Not only was this method much faster than any of the other contemporary options, but it also allowed for the relatively easy transport of especially heavy materials, including the limestone, granite, and sandstone used to construct pyramids, temples, and sculptures.

Example Question #1 : Predynastic Period (Up To 3100 Bce)

The archaeological site at Merimde Beni Salama is important because __________.

Possible Answers:

it shows the distinct cultural practices of Lower Egypt during the predynastic period

it highlights the importance of animal sacrifice in predynastic Egyptian worship

it demonstrates the absolute authority of predynastic rulers in ancient Egypt

it provides evidence suggesting that the predynastic ancient Egyptians were monotheistic

it presents the earliest known evidence of ancient Egyptian agriculture

Correct answer:

it presents the earliest known evidence of ancient Egyptian agriculture

Explanation:

The archaeological site at Merimde Beni Salama is important because it provides evidence used to date the formation of agricultural settlements in ancient Egypt. The ruins at Merimde Beni Salama date to approximately 5,000 BCE. Merimde Beni Salama is the earliest known agricultural settlement in ancient Egypt, so it tells us that the ancient Egyptians began practicing agriculture at least as early as 5,000 BCE.

Example Question #3 : Predynastic Period (Up To 3100 Bce)

The Merimde culture flourished in __________.

Possible Answers:

Nubia

Upper Egypt

Libya

Canaan

Lower Egypt

Correct answer:

Lower Egypt

Explanation:

The Merimde culture is a Neolithic society that flourished in Lower (northern) Egypt approximately 5,000 BCE. The Merimde culture are one of the earliest groups of people in ancient Egypt who have left some archaeological record behind and thus are very important to informing our understanding of predynastic Egypt.

Example Question #4 : Predynastic Period (Up To 3100 Bce)

The cult worship of Horus was instrumental in the growth of which of these predynastic settlements?

Possible Answers:

Nekhen

Itj-Tawy

Memphis

Naqada

Thebes

Correct answer:

Nekhen

Explanation:

Many predynastic communities arose in ancient Egypt around the cult worship of one or more Egyptian deities. The association between a society and a particular deity was important for the construction of a communal identity. The city-state of Nekhen (also called Hierakonpolis) most likely developed around the cult worship of Horus.

Example Question #1 : Predynastic Period (Up To 3100 Bce)

Pottery found at Merimde Beni Salama indicates that __________.

Possible Answers:

predynastic Egyptians worshipped a monotheistic religion

predynastic Egyptians understood iron metallurgy

copper and tin quarries must have emerged in Egypt during predynastic times

agricultural settlements emerged in Egypt at least as early as 4,000 BCE

predynastic Egyptians traded with the Levant

Correct answer:

predynastic Egyptians traded with the Levant

Explanation:

Merimde Beni Salama is an archaeological site in Egypt. It is one of the earliest known agricultural settlements in Egypt. Pottery found at Merimde Beni Salama appears to be of Near Eastern origin and indicates that predynastic Egyptians traded with the Levant. Some Egyptologists and archaeologists disagree, however, and claim that the pottery is evidence that the inhabitants of Merimde Beni Salama emigrated from the Levant.

Example Question #5 : Predynastic Period (Up To 3100 Bce)

The cult worship of this deity was instrumental in the formation of the Naqada city-state?

Possible Answers:

Seth

Isis

Ptah

Atum

Osiris

Correct answer:

Seth

Explanation:

Many predynastic Egyptian societies developed around the cult worship of a particular deity. This communal worship helped promote a group mentality within these nascent cultures. The Naqada city-state was one of the most important societies that would eventually lead to a unified Upper Egyptian state. Most Egyptologists believe that the Naqada society developed around the cult worship of Seth.

Example Question #6 : Predynastic Period (Up To 3100 Bce)

Ancient Egyptians pioneered the development of papyrus, a triangular-shaped marsh weed that grows in abundance all around the Nile River, into a kind of paper. When was the earliest documented sample of papyrus paper made?

Possible Answers:

The Ptolemaic Dynasty 

The Theban Dynasty 

The Eighth Dynasty 

The First Dynasty 

The Third Dynasty 

Correct answer:

The First Dynasty 

Explanation:

According to archeologists, the earliest documented sample of papyrus paper dates all the way back to the First Dynasty, sometime during the Predynastic Period. As a writing medium, papyrus was infinitely preferable to stone, due to its strength, lightness, durability, and portability. Over time, Ancient Egyptian craftsmen fine-tuned their rigorous process of transforming the raw marsh weed into a suitable piece of writing paper. Papyrus’s inherent versatility allowed it to also be utilized in the formation of chairs, tables, boxes, ropes, and even boats. Astonishingly, several papyrus documents and scrolls have survived to this day – such as the famed Edwin Smith Medical Papyrus and the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus.

Example Question #7 : Predynastic Period (Up To 3100 Bce)

Which of these is most likely to have been winnowed?

Possible Answers:

ceramic

grain

jewelry

gold

copper

Correct answer:

grain

Explanation:

'Winnowed' is an agricultural term. It is part of the process by which grain is harvested. Ancient Egyptian farmers would first cut the grain ('threshing'). Then, the grain would be lifted into the air so that the chaff (unused part of the plant) could blow away in the wind. The leftover grain fell to the ground. This process, of separating the wheat from the chaff, is called 'winnowing.'

Example Question #8 : Predynastic Period (Up To 3100 Bce)

This activity became uncommon in Egypt during the latter years of the predynastic era?

Possible Answers:

hunting

farming

fasting

fishing

praying

Correct answer:

hunting

Explanation:

Prior to the Neolithic Revolution in Egypt, nutrition was obtained in one of three ways — hunting, gathering, and fishing. After the advent of agriculture, both fishing and gathering continued to be both profitable and common, however, hunting (as a means of providing sustenance) largely died out. Archaeological evidence suggests that hunting still retained a ritualistic purpose throughout much of ancient Egyptian history.

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