Thinite Arquelogical Site

Manetho described the first two dynasties as 'Thinite'. Thinis is a legendary city, near Abydos, said to be the home of the first kings of Egypt, those of the First and the Second Dynasties. Tombs that belong to the First and the Second Dynasties' kings have been found at Abydos. Most of the Thinite kings had a second tomb in the Memphis Region. Remarkably, this shows that the early kings were not buried near the new political capital of Egypt. Unfortunately, the Thinite Period is not well-known, essentially, since we go short of surviving texts. The main source of evidence, beside the Palermo Stone, is the funerary equipments found in Abydos' and Saqqara's tombs.

In conclusion, the Thinite era was very similar to Third Dynasty, and most of the major institutions were in place before Djoser Reign. The king was no longer described only as Horus, instead, later he acquired three names that formed the basis of his tutelary:

A- the Horus name which expresses his role as a divine heir to the throne,

B- The Nsw-bity name 'the King of Upper and Lower Egypt',

C- The Nebty name which reflects the crown prince career before his anticipated coronation.

The role of the king's wife in the power transmission should also be noted. For she was 'the One who Unites the Two Lords', 'the One who Sees Horns and Seth', and 'the Mother of the Royal Children'.

Second, the king was surrounded by more or less specialized advisors, such as 'the Controller of the Two Thrones', 'He who is Placed at the Head of the King' or 'Chief of the Secrets of the decrees', the latter indicates that there was an explicit legal system. As the heir of the gods, the king had been vested in power holder. In order to fulfill this role, the king issued decrees. In a sense, every word uttered by the king constituted a decree with the full force of the law.


Excavations at Abydos, Hierakonpolis, Saqqara, Helwan, Tarkhan, and others have resulted in many objects dating to the Archaic Period. So we have much information about the advance of the Egyptians' arts and crafts.

 Third, we have got some inscriptions on cylinder seals or some jar-sealing made of clay, giving the name and position of the owner. Sometimes, the inscription refers to some constructions or details of the jobs of these high officials, if they were owners of these seals. Some inscriptions were carved on the small ivory steal, which was found near the jars in tombs dating back to the First Dynasty at Abydos or Saqqara. Moreover, some slate palette, stone jars, and other objects were discovered. Among other things, through such objects, we knew the features of the Egyptian art and civilization during those days. Some archaeological discoveries of Helwan, Saqqara and Abydos are sufficient to know about what the artist had been achieving since the Pre-Dynastic Period.  Some jewelers, jars, household ivory objects, and some game pieces prove that art had been developing during these days. This era's remains throw light upon the Egyptian festivals, rituals, religion, and governmental system. Some medicine and wisdom papyri have been attributed to some kings of First and Second Dynasties. In the time immediately before the First Dynasty and during the Archaic Period, all aspects of culture had interacted together.


The Legendary Thinis

Up till now, the location of Thinis is still undisclosed. Some Egyptologists argued that it is the Modern Village 'EI- Tina', near Bardees. However, this view was rejected by those who followed Daressy's view that supported that this capital was located in the Modern Village of 'El-Barba', far from that of Abydos. As a matter of fact, no remarkable remnants were discovered in Thinis to support this opinion. A third opinion suggested that this old Egyptian capital was located near the city of Gerga. Thinis was the first capital in the dynastic Egypt and it remained the Capital of Egypt through the first two dynasties in which the main king's throne was erected. However, sometimes the kings of the first two dynasties settled in the North, in a city called ’Inb-hd (Memphis (whose construction was attributed to King Menes and which was later called Manf. Due to its location, Memphis acquired extremely great importance. Such importance helped it bestow power and control over both Upper & Lower Egypt, because the capital should be positioned in a place where the Valley and the Delta are linked.


Tombs of the Thinite Period

Discoveries were made at 'Abydos' where archeologists found many objects in the tombs bearing the names of the First Dynasty's Kings. This led to the belief that the tombs of the First Dynasty's Kings were located at this place in Ancient Egypt. Such a belief remained until 1921. Later on, names of some early kings were found inscribed on Tarkhan, near the south of Kafr Amar, and on Saqqara. Since 1930, the Egyptian Exploration Society has started making some discoveries in the northern district of Saqqara. At the beginining, some tombs were found there, and afterwards, discoveries unearthed some tombs that go back to the First Dynasty. Inside these tombs, inscriptions of the names of the First Dynasty's Kings starting from Aha, (except the tombs of Djet, Qa-aa and Semerkhet) were discovered. Some tombs belonging to high officials – such as Hemaka (a high official during the reign of the Horus Den) – were also discovered.

Some problems, however, emerged from these discoveries. On one hand, nothing was found at Abydos to prove that the First Dynasty's Kings were buried in those tombs there. On the other hand, the cemetery found at Saqqara was larger and greater than the cemetery found at Abydos. This enigma posed a question regarding the exact position of the kings' tombs, especially if we knew that the cemetery of Saqqara were constructed for the kings and not for their viziers who settled in the new capital of Memphis. Most archaeologists considered the cemetery of Saqqara as the real cemetery for those kings, and regarded the cemetery of Abydos as cenotaphs, a kind of tombs erected only to commemorate them in the capital necropolis.

Later on, two royal cemeteries were found: one of which contained tomb dating back to King Djet Reign, while the other was found containing other tomb dating back to King Qa-aa Reign. Both tombs were found larger than the tombs at Abydos. Discoveries made in 1955 brought to light many monuments and objects belonging to the First Dynasty, providing us with the bare bones of  this period's history and civilization. However, no evidence sustains that the First Dynasty's Kings were buried in Saqqara, that is, there is no decisive evidence to prove that the Saqqara Cemeteries actually contained tombs of the Kings. These two dynasties formed a single entity lasting from 3150 to 2700 B.C, a period of almost 500 years during which the Egyptian Civilization developed its special traits.