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In the Beginning

Scholars believe that Paleolithic and Neolithic cultures inhabited the Nile valley and the surrounding desert starting around 300,000 B.C. At first, people lived as nomadic hunters and gatherers, using stone tools and eventually using hearths to cook food. Around 7,000 B.C., the first permanent settlements were built, and archeologists have unearthed huts, granaries and large stone tools for grinding grains. Crops were introduced, and what is thought to be the world's first calendar -- a structure of stones dating back to 6,000 B.C. -- was built near Abu Simbel. By around 4,500 B.C. a thriving community of settlements had emerged along the Nile Valley.

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