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Mechanical and Technical Processes. Materials 125
energy. Secondly, if the art of writing had been known to one
of a series of trading tribes, it would soon have become generally
known, and evidences of a previous stage would appear on vases
up country. Thirdly, the dynastic peoples were different from
those on their commemorative palettes whom they are
represented as slaughtering. Fourthly, their language was
Semitic in grammar, though there are comparatively few
definitely Semitic words in the language of the Old Kingdom.
An invasion, preceded no doubt by peaceful penetration, seems
to my mind to be indicated; and though it is by no means
clear as to whence the invaders came, I suggest the highlands
of Palestine or Syria. At any rate, the introduction of new
and energetic blood, together with the art of writing,
produced an immense effect on the inhabitants of Egypt, who
already had gained complete mastery over stone and, moreover,
possessed an abundance of excellent clay for ceramic work, and
experience in its use.
After the appearance of writing in the protodynastic graves
of Egypt there is no abrupt change in the type of household
utensils or other objects found in them, though a change was
to come. Our earliest written record of the progress of the
country under the protodynastic kings is a monument known
as the Palermo Stone, fragments of several copies of which
are known, which shows that records were kept until the
Fifth Dynasty. Although ceremonies and battles are recorded
as the first consideration, we also find that the measurement
of the Nile was regularly kept, that some form of cattle
census was taken, that shipbuilding went on, and that
buildings were constructed. In other words, the country had
been brought under a powerful administration. A ruling class
had developed, which insisted on the greatest possible luxuries
being provided for it, and this, no doubt, gave great impetus
to the crafts, especially stone-working. The rulers and
nobles were buried at Abydos in brick-lined graves, and