During the 4th millennium, climatic change led to a desertification process in Egypt. This led the inhabitants to progressively abandon hunting and pastoralism as the main means of sustenance, and concentrate on agriculture with the well-watered flood-plain of the Nile. In Upper Egypt, the yields generated sustained the development of clusters of settlements, some with populations of around 5,000, by c. 3500 BCE. Cultural affinities in the archaeological remains suggest three embryonic polities, or confederations, centred on the towns of Thinis, Naqada and Hierakonpolis. At this time evidence of trade appears, as does the use of mummification, and the first recreational board game, Senet. Around 3300 BCE, hieroglyphs were beginning to appear, trade was becoming international and ornate royal/aristocratic tombs began to be constructed at Abydos. As large-scale water management came to be practised, the confederacies began to vie with each other. Naqada was absorbed, and Thinis expanded into Lower Egypt.
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