Egypt was transformed from a land of disparate farmers into a state ruled by a pharaoh in about 3100 BC, according to research published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, setting a new timeline for the ancient kingdom’s origin. Previous records suggested the pre-Dynastic period, a time when early groups began to settle along the Nile and farm the land, began in 4000 BC. Now, scientists have used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint that this process started later, between 3700 or 3600BC;just a few hundred years later, by about 3100 BC, society had transformed to one ruled by a king. Archaeologists believe Egypt’s first king, Aha, came to power after another prominent leader, Narmer, unified the land.

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