Prior to the establishment of the 1st Dynasty, there is evidence of increasing sophistication and interconnectedness between autonomous settlements dotted along the Nile. This is attested by more sophisticated artefacts, particularly pottery design and ornamentation, and a range of trade, with goods such as obsidian, gold, copper and lapis lazuli demonstrating an international reach. In c. 3500 BCE three of the primary settlements in Upper Egypt, Thinis, Hierakonpolis and Naqada, coalesced, whether by conquest or peaceful means is not clear. The Narmer Palette found at Hierakonpolis depicts the ruler Narmer wearing the crowns of both Upper and Lower Egypt and thus can be considered the foundation stone of the dynastic age. The first dynastic rulers were the Thinite, with their burial sites at Abydos and Hierakonpolis of high cultural and religious significance. From this base the process of unification extended northward to the delta and south to Qustul in Nubia.
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