I always find it fascinating to read about ancient civilization’s engineering, architectural, and specialized production techniques because these people were ahead of their time, in my opinion, and I often wonder how they ever thought to invent or do these things. Kohler’s article discusses the specialized production of crafts and the trading of Ancient Egypt during the Neolithic, the Chalcolithic, and the Early Dynastic Periods. During the Neolithic, populations relied on animal husbandry, fishing, agriculture, and sometimes hunting to maintain their subsistence economy. In this kind of economy families produced enough product for their families alone. When the Chalcolithic began their economy became a wealth-and-staple-financed economy, with this economy the people were able to conduct specialized production techniques and produce product surpluses.
They created full-time industries, regional centers, and workshops for pottery/ceramic products, making stone vessels and flint tools, and for other luxury goods. They began using the technique of metallurgy, mining, and smelting copper ore. During the early Dynastic they made various goods from agricultural produce, like textiles, oils, beer/wine, and bread. These populations imported many goods, like cooper ore and ingots, different types of wood, oils, wine, precious stones, gold, silver, exotic animal skins, etc. Their trade routes networked through the Mesopotamia, Levant, Anatolia, Nubia, and other parts of Africa, Sinai, and the Eastern Desert. Merchants and donkey caravans traveled these routes, and later routes to the Mediterranean and Levant were traveled by ship. They participated in direct, indirect, and down-the-line trading. These routes began to contribute and become very important for the sustainment of their economy.
I often wonder how these people began trading; did they just take their goods and start walking until they found other cities with something they wanted? Or did they begin trading only after other travelers came to their city and exchanged goods? I also wonder, when I read about their craft production and other techniques, about what event(s) led them to think or consider these techniques? Did some other population teach them? Were they accidents or chance occurrences, or did individuals think them up or engineer them? These are questions that we or I may never know the answers to, but I have read of other civilizations inventing and/or using the same or similar techniques (and others that may not have be seen in Ancient Egypt) as the populations of Ancient Egypt and they all seem to suggest that these same techniques developed independently within each civilizations. I find that a rather large coincidence that every civilization throughout their own growth/evolution all came up with almost identical techniques independently from one another. I would hope that further research of these civilizations would solve these questions, but I am unsure if it will be able to in the future.