In this week’s reading by Kohler, I found it really interesting – the part about the craft industry of Egypt. It is cool how it corresponded heavily with the elites, the social organization, political economy etc. Their established trade routes were extremely impressive. Trading all along the Nile and other outside regions – hitting Mesopotamia, Levant, Africa, and Anatolia. As they traded among these places, the craft industries were able to “set up shop” along these routes, making it easier to acquire raw materials.
The elites took it another step further, seeing that these trades of foreign goods were beneficial to the economy, they started to regulate it more by putting more emphasis on foreign trade. It is even mentioned in the reading that there is evidence to suggest that ships were sent to the Mediterranean to acquire goods. These acquired goods were later found distributed amongst the royal court. Whatever was distributed can often be found in the tombs of royals, however sometimes they can also be found in the tombs of the lower class as well. The foreign trade and importing of goods was such a successful means of networking, that it became a big part of centralized government, where taxes were collected regularly and the income was distributed back to the state officials.
I am aware that Egypt is not the first to have an established trade system during ancient times, however, I continue to find their system fascinating at how strategic and well thought out their system was. There is even evidence that some of their commodities were packaged, stored, and labeled with hieroglyphic symbols separate from the traditional hieroglyphic alphabet. This elaborate system of networking and trade, reflect the elites of this time and also gives testament to the fact that there was an established social pyramid – making this period (Dynasty 1) a complex yet skilled society with a strong sense of international relations.