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 three thousand 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 five hundred years of pharaonic rule. Arranged in three parts, the results of over thirty years of international scholarship, including recent dramatic discoveries, are included and presented in a single volume. The book is the most comprehensive treatment of Early Dynastic administration and religion. A wealth of complex information is explained in a clear style accessible to the general reader, whilst students will welcome the book's thematic approach to early Egyptian civilization.