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December 23 2012
The oldest-known representations of a pharaoh are carved on rocks near the Nile River in southern Egypt, researchers report.
The carvings were first observed and recorded in the 1890s, but only rediscovered in 2008. In them, a white-crowned figure travels in ceremonial processions and on sickle-shaped boats, perhaps representing an early tax-collecting tour of Egypt.
The scenes place the age of the carvings between 3200 B.C. and 3100 B.C., researchers report in the December issue of the journal Antiquity. During that time, Egypt was transitioning into the dynastic rule of the pharaohs.
"It's really the end of prehistory and the beginning of history," in Egypt, study researcher Maria Gatto told LiveScience.
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