The country was also occupied by other powers — the Persians, Nubians, Greeks and Romans all conquered the country at different points in time.A number of names were used for Egypt in ancient times.Dynasties one and two date back around 5,000 years and are often called the "early dynastic" or "archaic" period.The first pharaoh of the first dynasty was a ruler named Menes (or Narmer, as he is called in Greek).The cut-off hands may have been presented by soldiers to a ruler in exchange for gold. This time period takes place after the Hyksos had been driven out of Egypt by a series of Egyptian rulers and the country was reunited. [Photos: More Than 40 Tombs Discovered in Upper Egypt] Dynasties 21-24 (a period from ca. C.) are often called the "third intermediate period" by modern-day scholars.
When and how Egypt was united is unclear and is a matter of debate among archaeologists and historians.Egypt’s climate was much wetter in prehistoric times than it is today.This means that some areas that are now barren desert were fertile.One famous archaeological site where this can be seen is at the "cave of swimmers" (as it is called today) on the Gilf Kebir plateau in southwest Egypt.The cave is now surrounded by miles of barren desert; however, it has rock art showing what some scholars interpret as people swimming.