There is evidence of pastoralism and the cultivation of cereals in southwest Egypt from as early as 7000 BC. Settlements grew along the Nile valley, though Upper and Lower Egypt only united around 3100 BC under Pharoah Menés. The subsequent Early Dynastic period was marked by flourishing trade with Sinai, the Levant and as far north as the Black Sea. The astonishing artistic and intellectual developments of the Old Kingdom began during the IVth dynasty (2575–2465 BC), when sun-worship took hold and temples and pyramids, including those at Giza, were constructed. Egypt was governed from the city of Memphis, south of modern Cairo, reaching its height during the VIth dynasty before losing power to local rulers from around 2200 BC.
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